Landscape pros found their calling in high school Email
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 07:00 AM

HS students learn from an ALCC proA poll conducted by Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado in late 2016 revealed some interesting facts about how Colorado professionals found their way into the landscape industry.

Many started in high school
Perhaps the most compelling statistic reveals 58% of respondents had landscape experience in and around high school years. This applies to longtime pros as well as newbies. Only a handful grew up in family landscape businesses.

Some were doing industry work as early as middle school and others got started in early college years. “I was mow-ing lawns since I was 10 years old,” said one. Said another, “When I was 12, I began delivering newspapers. But a number of my customers asked me to mow their lawns and shovel snow. I performed the services for a few of my best customers and made 5-6 times what I was making on the paper route.”

Some found a career on the links
About 13 percent of these young workers gained experience on golf courses. “I started as a golf caddy at age 10 and at 16, I took a job on the grounds crew on the same course.” He went on to earn a horticulture degree and has been an industry pro for nearly 30 years.

They enjoy the variety of opportunities
Here’s the story from a woman who loved sports, flowers and gardening growing up. “In high school, I took a drafting class as it sounded like fun and a combination of math and art. My junior year, I started researching careers and when I stumbled upon landscape architecture, I was sold. I could design parks, soccer fields and flower gardens. SOLD!”

The take away? This 58% statistic is particularly relevant now that the industry is working hard to build a career pathway to recruit high school students. This stat reminds us that high school years are pivotal and present opportunities for pros to share their own stories and involve young people in what they do.

This story appeared as part of the article "How Did Colorado Landscape Pros Get Here?" in the January/February 2017 issue of Colorado Green. ALCC members can access this issue and more in the Colorado Green online archives.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Soft skills matter in Courtney Mayo's classroom
Contact 811 three business days before digging
Court case demonstrates the importance of language and grammar in HR documents
GreenCO issues statement on construction defects bill