SkillsUSA: UAC partners with NALP Foundation for landscape competition


Workforce development is a very high priority for the Georgia Urban Ag Council, and introducing our industry to students, parents and educators is paramount to success in growing our workforce.

We are excited to announce that UAC is partnering with the National Association of Landscape Professionals Foundation on an exciting new initiative. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. They provide educational programs, events, and competitions that support career and technical education in the nation’s classrooms.

The NALP Foundation has been working with SkillsUSA for the last several months to develop a landscape-specific competition for their National Championships. Contestants are required to complete a written test on general horticulture, landscape and turf operations, and plant care knowledge; identify live plant specimens; and interpret and evaluate client space and needs, develop a landscape design within given budget, and present to client. 

The initial competition will be for high school students; moving forward, we will explore offering to college students (same competition) or middle school students (modified competition). 

In June 2022, a Landscape Horticulture “Technology Demonstration” event will be introduced at the annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) at the Georgia World Congress Center. The conference is a weeklong convention attended by students and instructors in career and technical education and it will be held in Atlanta through 2027, with projected attendance of 20,000 people.

Following the initial “Technology Demonstration” in June 2022, there is a two-year process to be approved for Official Contest status (see timeline below). We look forward to working with NALP on this very tangible way to engage students and expose them to all sectors of the industry! 

Sponsor support, both financially and as part of the planning and onsite teams (Atlanta), are paramount to the success of this initiative.

To manage the planning and execution of this event, we are seeking volunteers for the SkillsUSA Landscape Horticulture National Technical Committee. 

The National Technical Committee (NTC) will operate at a strategic level, helping to develop contest rules and establish the necessary support for personnel, contest equipment and prizes to introduce the contest to educators and students in June in Atlanta, GA. This group will include a variety of members from the industry, including contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers. Committee members will also support the competition by being on site in June to help run the competition. The NALP Foundation SkillsUSA Task Group will create a draft of specifications and rules for the NTC to review and approve. 

We are also looking for individuals to directly assist in June. The specific needs will be better known once the specs and rules are finalized in the next few months. 

SkillsUSA timeline:

  • August 2021: Application for Technology Demonstration event for June 2022 approved by SkillsUSA state directors.
  • June 2022: Technology Demonstration during SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Atlanta, GA
  • June 2023: If promoted, Demonstration Contest during SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Atlanta, GA. A minimum of 15 states must commit to conducting the contest at the state level for a contest to be seriously considered.
  • June 2024: If approved, Official Contest Status during SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Atlanta, GA.