FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association (WVNLA) is partnering with Pierpont Community & Technical College to conduct its second Landscape Technician Bootcamp from October 2-6 in Fairmont. A similar week-long training session was held in mid-April, with the goal of training more workers in the growing nursery and landscape industry.
Michael and Pat Biafore (Biafore Landscape Development in Morgantown), Bobby Gompers (Highland Landscaping in Buckhannon), John Jett (WVNLA board member) and Betsy Raynes (Riverside Sod Farm in Winfield) led the first class of Landscape Technician Bootcamp students through a rigorous, hands-on course April 17-21 through Pierpont CTC on the campus of the West Virginia High Technology Foundation Park, 500 Galliher Drive, Fairmont.
Biafore, chairman of WVNLA’s workforce development committee, said the partnership with Pierpont CTC is a significant step forward in WVNLA’s workforce development efforts. “We are seeking to reach a target audience of young people wishing to embark on green industry careers, but the course will be open to anyone, including employers wishing to send existing or potential employees for training.”
Gompers, president of WVNLA, said establishing collaborations with community colleges and career and technical students in middle and high schools are essential to the future of the industry. “The April landscape technician training session was a big success, and we really need to keep the ball rolling,” he said.
The 40-hour course is being taught by expert instructors and focuses on both classroom and hands-on instruction covering:
- Introduction to Landscaping and Career PathwaysCritical safety principles
- Routine equipment maintenance and tool identification
- Power blowers, hedge trimmers, chain saws, lawn mowers, rototillers and other small tools operation
- Pavers and walls, grading and drainage installation
- Landscape techniques in sod and plant installation, plant identification, plant layout, pruning and maintenance
Students will read and install a landscape design onsite during the week. Participants will also receive OSHA 10 certification. On the final day of training, area employers are invited to attend an informal job fair and speak with the students who are seeking employment.
Julie Robinson, WVNLA executive director, said federal and state data shows the nursery and landscape industry in West Virginia has continued growth potential through 2026. “Good paying jobs in the nursery and landscape industry grew by six percent from 2016 to 2021 and are projected to continue growing by another four percent between now and 2026,” she said.
Tuition for the October 2-6 Landscape Technician Bootcamp is $598 per person, and $200 scholarship assistance is available through WVNLA. Apply at https://www.pierpont.edu/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Landscape-Technician-Bootcamp-Flyer-6.pdf .
Robinson said the curriculum has also been approved by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
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/