Landscapers look to build local workforce in skilled trades

National Association of Landscape Professionals apprenticeship program is being used to overcome the labor shortage.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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For years, spring brought a wave of projects for landscapers in Pittsburgh and around the country — along with some anxiety.

Order books filled up for creative installations meant to brighten homes and offices with lawn treatments, flower beds, water features and stone walls. The key to getting all that work done on time hinged on a roster of seasonal foreign workers authorized by U.S. temporary work visas.

This year, the landscape industry — which has heavily lobbied Congress to expand the U.S. visa system amid labor shortages that forced at least one Pittsburgh-area business to shutter last year — is taking a different approach: trying to build a local workforce once and for all.

Launching the country’s first landscaping apprenticeship program, landscape companies are taking a page from the construction industry, which has built a reliable workforce despite the job’s long hours, physical demands and seasonal ups and downs.

For a full story on the impact of the program in Pittsburgh, click here.