Workforce Summit

February 12-13, 2019
Alexandria, VA

A Think-Tank for Industry Professionals

The landscape industry is experiencing a workforce crisis. Industry companies face tough competition for employees, not just from your competitors, but from other industries that are fighting for those same workers. Your voice is needed. The industry’s future is too important for you not to be part of the solution. 

Join the first-ever National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Industry Growth Initiative’s Workforce Think Tank as we work together to identify solutions to this crippling challenge. The two-day summit will include dialogue that will explore big picture topics and result in new strategies.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019 (click here to expand)

7:15 am

Registration Opens

 7:15 am – 8:45 am

Breakfast Buffet Keynote Presenter(s) –Nicholas C. Geale, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Labor

The Department of Labor is at the forefront of the Administration’s efforts to help American businesses suffering from a lack of people to carry out the work that needs to be done across industry sectors. Mr. Geale will frame the country’s workforce challenge and address what industries need to be doing to attract the talent they need.

8:45 am – 9:30 am

Attracting the Talent – What’s an Industry to Do?

This introductory session will offer the facts and stats about the landscape industry’s workforce challenge. We will explore how our rate of unfilled jobs compares with those of other professions. Then, speakers from other industries will showcase what they are doing to attract a workforce, demonstrating how great the competition is and how essential it is the landscape industry works together – and in some instances, works with other industries to stand out against other fields vying for talent./p>

9:30 am – 11:00 am

Diversity in the Workforce

Women comprise 50% of today’s workforce. Is our industry established to welcome and retain women, or what can we do to attract female professionals? What about other under-represented communities? How can the industry change its reputation and accommodations to be seen as the-go-to industry for all?

11:15 am – 12:15 pm

Putting Veterans to Work in the Landscape Industry

Employers everywhere are trying to tap into the work ethic, leadership strengths, and talents of military veterans. There are 155,000 men and women retiring from active duty service every year. This session will explore what industries – and companies – can do to tap into this base of potential employees from recruiting services, to messaging, to creating a culture that welcomes those who have served our country. Let’s learn to welcome all those who have said Semper Fi, Aim High, This We'll Defend, etc.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch with Allen Guiterrez, Administrator, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, Small Business Administration

1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Why You and Other Industry Leaders Need to Get on Local Workforce Boards. Today.

This session will spotlight government funded recruitment offices (that offer tax credits to those using them). These job placement services are charged with spending federal money at the local level to help area businesses with jobs to fill. These boards around the country are largely comprised of representatives from the construction, retail, hospitality, and utilities industries. In most communities, the landscape industry is not at the table – and therefore, this industry is not receiving the benefit of government funding to spotlight our profession in local markets. It’s time to change the game and make the professional landscape industry a player. This session will provide the necessary information and serve as a call to action.

2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Apprenticeship Training Programs – What, Why, How…Now!

Representatives from the Department of Labor will set the stage of how apprenticeships work and why they are essential for industries that need employees. NALP will provide an overview of the new Landscape Management Apprenticeship Program. Messaging will demonstrate that companies offering apprenticeship programs have a competitive hiring edge, be able to retain employees and be eligible for federal agency support in recruiting and have the possibilities for tax credits. This earn and learn model is receiving incredible national attention and the industry must embrace this as a model of solving our workforce challenge.

3:30 pm - 4:15 pm

Unlocking the Mystery: Mobilizing the Teachings of IGI’s Career Perceptions Research to Compete Against Other Industries Vying for Employees

This session will provide an overview of the Industry Growth Initiative’s recent artificial intelligence research on perceptions about industry careers. Learn who is most important to reach in messaging… what target demographics are most receptive to industry career dialogue and what messaging resonates most with English and Spanish speaking audiences. Armed with the data, discussion will ensue on how to use the findings to benefit the industry (and how individual firms can as well).

4:15 pm - 5:30 pm

How to Interest Local High Schools and Technical Colleges in Industry Curriculum and How Can We Work Together to Host Landscape Career Day Events to Change the Industry’s Future?

Wish your local schools taught industry curriculum in the classrooms? Many others who actually got such curriculum introduced in their local communities used to wonder that as well. Learn how to approach schools with model curriculum, commitments to internships, apprenticeship offerings, and industry facts to encourage curriculum introduction. This session is designed to create movement and momentum to support a pipeline of future employees.

1400 companies in the manufacturing industry host events that allow students to touch and feel their industry. After these events, students are 75% more likely to consider careers in manufacturing and educators are 95% more likely to encourage students to pursue such careers and include curriculum about the profession. The landscape industry needs to model this and allow people to SEE and FEEL the benefits of this profession. This session will review how to hold successful events and measure impact and how the industry can expand these opportunities by working collaboratively together.

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Networking Reception

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 (click here to expand)

8:00 am – 9:30 am

Breakfast and Deep Dive Discussions (Round Table Discussions

  • How to Work with Local Groups Like FFA and 4H
  • How to Set Up an Effective Internship Program
  • How to Set Up All Female Crews
  • Saying Good Bye to the H2B Program (for Good)!
  • Successes in Recruiting a More Diverse Workforce
  • The Best Idea I Ever Had for Recruiting...
  • Recruiting from Prisons
  • Changing the Perception of the Profession Through Messaging
  • Partnering with Local Schools
  • Launching an Apprenticeship Program


9:30 am – 11:00 am

Deep Dive Discussions

  • Changing the Model - Hiring More 12 Month Employees
  • Changing the Model - What Does an Industry Look Like Without an H2B Workforce?
  • Will Technology Change the Needs of our Labor Force?


11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Action Planning: Prioritizing Impactful Change for theIndustry and How to Ensure Success

Program Champions