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West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association Partners with WV National Guard on nursery and landscape training

Second Lawn and Landscape Technician Certification Course being offered May 15-19 in Dunbar

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Dunbar, W.Va. – The West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association (WVNLA) announced today its second Lawn and Landscape Technician Certification Course from May 15-19 in Dunbar in partnership with the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) through the Jobs & Hope program.

Michael Biafore, chairman of WVNLA’s workforce development committee and president of Biafore Landscape Development in Morgantown, said he sees this collaboration as a way to train more West Virginia and regional participants to work in the growing nursery and landscape industry. “Our members throughout the state are thriving and we are only limited by the talented workforce we can attract and maintain,” he said.

Cindy Bailey, director of economic development for the WVNG, manages the training program, which is taught by Scott Byars, Agricultural Specialist for WVNG program Patriot Guardens, former WVU Extension Service agent and owner of Blue Barn Landscaping in Red House. Byars said the course includes both classroom instruction and hands-on demonstrations. The goal of the curriculum is to provide a solid background in landscape basics, insect and disease management, pruning, lawn care, correct tool use, trees and shrubs and industry professionalism.

The training program is taught by Scott Byars, Agricultural Specialist for WVNG program Patriot Guardens, former WVU Extension Service agent and owner of Blue Barn Landscaping in Red House.

Attendees who completed the March training were issued a certificate of completion and are eligible for employment. A job fair was held at the end of the course that allowed participants to meet with nursery and landscape employers.

Adam Holtzclaw of The Grounds Guys in Charleston attended the job fair and spoke with those looking for jobs about opportunities at his company. He subsequently made an employment offer to one of the course participants. “I loved this training,” said Holtzclaw. “I think it’s a great thing, and I would absolutely recommend it as excellent preparation for potential employees.”

Bailey said Jobs & Hope West Virginia and Patriot Guardens programs support a healthy lifestyle and grow the workforce for the green industry sector in West Virginia.  “We are proud to be part of the Jobs & Hope West Virginia team and are thankful for the partnership of the nursery and landscape industry to both improve the courses we instruct and assist in employment opportunities,” she said.

Employers who hire Jobs & Hope WV program participants are eligible for benefits through the WorkForce WV Employment Program of up to 1,040 hours or $25,000 of salary reimbursement, per employee. To register for the May 15-19 Lawn and Landscape Technician Certification Course, visit https://wvnla.org/category/wvnla-events/.

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/

West Virginia Jobs & Hope Program: Jobs & Hope West Virginia is the state’s comprehensive response to the substance use disorder crisis. Established by Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia Legislature, this program offers support through a statewide collaboration of agencies that provide West Virginians in recovery the opportunity to obtain career training and to ultimately secure meaningful employment. More details at https://jobsandhope.wv.gov/start-your-journey/

Patriot Guardens:  Patriot Guardens  is an Integrated Agriculture and Technology Support Program for Appalachia​,which is designed to jump start fruit agriculture in WV by creating novel orchard systems on reclaimed mine land in partnership with regional growers.​The long term goals of the project are to promote economic development, increase access to fresh fruits within impoverished areas in the Appalachia, and strengthen U.S. agriculture by better leveraging available land and water resources which are currently underutilized. More information is at https://militaryauthority.wv.gov/Resources/Pages/Patriot-Guardens.aspx

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