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Nursery and landscape industry in W.Va. growing, boosted by WVNLA support

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State and federal economic statistics show the nursery and landscape industry in the state and related employment has grown and will continue to expand through 2026, according to Julie Robinson, executive director of the West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association (WVNLA).

Robinson said, “WVNLA leaders and member companies have taken a proactive approach to growing the industry, to help complement the emphasis on outdoor recreation and related economic development throughout West Virginia.”

Robinson said WVNLA’s workforce development and scholarship support in all parts of the Mountain State is helping boost the green economy and enhance the pipeline of talented skilled workers and entrepreneurs in nursery and landscaping. According to Emsi data, jobs in nursery and landscape grew by six percent from 2016 to 2021. She added that Emsi projects a four percent growth for the industry between now and 2026. Emsi data is a hybrid dataset derived from official government sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Workforce development initiatives will take center stage at the association’s  Winter Symposium, “Growing A Great Landscape,” from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.

Robinson said WVNLA has been working on multiple levels to attract and develop green industry employees:

  • crafting a “Landscape Technician Boot Camp,” a 40-hour course to be offered at the state’s nine community and technical colleges.
  • developing a lawn and landscape training course through the National Guard to present to Jobs & Hope participants and to WVNLA member companies as a training resource,
  • making presentations to high school agriculture and career and tech students, and
  • creating videos and presentation materials.

At the Winter Symposium, a panel of those involved in workforce development initiatives will include Michael Biafore, chairman of WVNLA’s Workforce Development Committee and president of Biafore’s Landscape Development; Cindy Bailey, director of economic development for the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG); Scott Byars, WVNG trainer, former WVU Extension agent, and landscape business owner; Nancy Ligus, director of workforce, continuing education and economic development at Pierpont Community & Technical College; and Lisa McDavid of Lisa’s Gardenscapes.

Cost to attend is $50 for WVNLA members and $100 for non-members and includes lunch. Vendors may rent a table for $25. To register: https://wvnla.org/ Contact Julie Robinson at [email protected] or 304-553-1234 with any questions.

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West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association, Inc., established in 1939, is a professional trade association dedicated to supporting nursery and landscape businesses and vendors throughout the Mountain State.

WVNLA members support West Virginia college students studying horticulture and landscape architecture with scholarship opportunities. They also share expertise and support in their  communities; meet for volunteer projects; and support worthy, industry-related endeavors through Association donations. Regionally, WVNLA co-owns the annual Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show along with the Maryland and Virginia associations.

For membership, events or mission priorities please visit https://wvnla.org/

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