CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State and federal economic statistics show that the nursery and landscape industry and related employment has grown in West Virginia and will continue to expand through 2026, according to Julie Robinson, executive director of the West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association.
Robinson said the association's workforce development and scholarship support in all parts of the Mountain State is helping boost the green economy, growing the pipeline of talented, skilled workers and entrepreneurs in nursery and landscaping.
“WVNLA leaders and member companies have taken a proactive approach to grow the industry, to help complement the emphasis on outdoor recreation and related economic development throughout West Virginia,” Robinson said.
Jobs in nursery and landscape grew by six percent from 2016 to 2021, she said, adding that a four-percent growth for the industry is projected between now and 2026. The 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.
Robinson said the association has been working on multiple levels to attract and develop green industry employees.
- It has crafted a “Landscape Technician Boot Camp,” a 40-hour course to be offered at the state’s nine community and technical colleges.
- It has developed a lawn and landscape training course through the National Guard to present to Jobs & Hope participants and association member companies as a training resource
- It has also been making presentations to high school agriculture and career and tech students and creating videos and materials.
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. on February 22 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.
A panel of presenters will include Michael Biafore, chairman of the association’s Workforce Development Committee and president of Biafore’s Landscape Development; Cindy Bailey, director of economic development for the West Virginia National Guard; Scott Byars, a trainer for the guard, a former West Virginia University 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.
The cost to attend the symposium is $50 for association members and $100 for non-members and includes lunch. Vendors may rent tables for $25. To register: https://wvnla.org/ Contact Julie Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-553-1234 with any questions.
Established in 1939, the West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association is a professional trade association that supports nursery and landscape businesses and vendors throughout the state.
Members support West Virginia college students studying horticulture and landscape architecture with scholarship opportunities and share expertise and support in their communities; meet for volunteer projects; and support worthy, industry-related endeavors through donations. For membership, events, or mission priorities, visit https://wvnla.org/.