HERNDON, Va., March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Students from colleges and universities are currently preparing to compete in the nation's only collegiate horticulture "games" to be held outside Chicago, at Joliet Junior College, March 17–20, 2011. The event, in its 35th year, is organized by the nation's lawn and landscape association, the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).
Student Career Days (SCD) is an annual three-day event designed to help build careers for college horticultural students. Students from more than 60 universities and colleges from across the country will compete in events that are directly related to the skills necessary for a career in the green industry, including tree climbing, paver installation, wood construction, sales presentation, skid steer operation, and plant identification. They also participate in a career fair and networking events.
"The event allows students to interview for jobs and network with representatives from the top green industry companies in the United States," says Anna Walraven, director of Industry Development at PLANET. "Many students leave the event with job or internship offers."
University of Maryland horticulture student Wesley Rudiger interviewed with approximately five companies at last year's Student Career Days, held in Atlanta, and got internship offers from all of them. He decided to take a paying internship with Ruppert Landscape, Inc., last summer, and he already has a full-time job lined up with them after he graduates this summer.
"Most of the students in the horticulture department get overwhelmed with internship and job offers at Student Career Days," said Rudiger. "None of my friends who have other majors have jobs lined up, and we get to pick and choose. The green industry really needs experienced workers."
Horticulture student Michael Field from the University of Minnesota competed in two prior Student Career Days. Field started his own landscaping company when he was still in high school. He met with a number of recruiters at Student Career Days, but didn't accept any job offers because he wanted to continue to build his own company.
"The great thing about the event was meeting so many people who are passionate about the landscape business," says Field. "The students I met will be the leaders in the industry in 10 or 20 years."
Last year, a record 68 schools and nearly 900 students competed at SCD in Atlanta, including students from Canada and England. The top placing schools included Chattahoochee Technical College, Brigham Young University – Provo, Brigham Young University – Idaho, North Carolina State University, University of Maryland, Penn State, Colorado State University, Mississippi State University, Columbus State Community College, and Michigan State University.
This year's major sponsors include STIHL Inc. at the Platinum level; JOHN DEERE at the Gold level; Caterpillar Inc., Gravely, an Ariens Company Brand, and New Holland Construction at the Silver level; and BRICKMAN and Husqvarna at the Bronze level.
For additional information on PLANET Student Career Days, visit the StudentCareerDays.org Web site or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.
PLANET is the association of members who create and maintain the QUALITY OF LIFE in communities across America. With nearly 3,500 member companies and affiliates, these firms and their employees represent more than 100,000 green industry professionals. Some of these professionals have taken the extra step of becoming certified through PLANET and bear the distinction of being known as Landscape Industry Certified.
SOURCE Professional Landcare Network