Interns and apprentices help grow the industry Email
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 05:00 AM

Laborers Facing a labor shortage, some landscape companies have looked to additional methods of rounding out their workforce while grooming the next generation of the industry.

Internships/job shadowing
Hiring students to learn on the job is a mutually beneficial arrangement. The intern gains skills and knowledge that they might not learn in the classroom, and it allows them to “test-drive” the landscape industry as a career. As an employer, you can increase productivity, give back to the community, and possibly find a new staff member.

Some internships are unpaid, but there are strict guidelines from the Department of Labor regarding which internships qualify to be unpaid positions. Students must meet certain requirements in order to earn school credit for the program.

It is important to carefully consider whether interns are right for your business. You should have a plan for your intern and be prepared to put in the time and effort necessary to make their experience a worthwhile educational experience, whether they join your staff or not.

On-the-job training through apprenticeships is especially popular for skilled trades. An apprenticeship usually lasts longer than an internship, and often there is an expectation that the apprentice will be hired at the end of the program.

Because they perform more of the tasks of a regular employee, apprentices are usually paid more than an intern. While there may be classroom instruction involved, an apprentice will do most of their learning through working as a team member or by assisting on the job site.

The US Department of Labor maintains an Office of Apprenticeship, with resources for employers interested in developing an apprentice program.

This article is an excerpt from ALCC’s recruitment resources, available to members at     

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Why and how to use a safe harbor provision in your handbook
Industry stance on upcoming ballot issues
DOL cracks down on H-2B users over first line supervisors

2015 Day of Service project continues to thrive