Certification testing tests limits Email
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 05:00 AM
Certification testing

With changes coming to the Landscape Industry Certified Technician test in 2020, ALCC’s Colorado certification testing committee has worked to present hands-on testing opportunities for those aiming to be certified by the end of 2019. Staff and volunteers faced a number of challenges leading up to and during the June 8 test date but rose above them to complete the day.

With a large number of certification candidates testing, the committee needed a lot of volunteers to help set up and judge test problems. Unfortunately, extreme spring weather events delayed the start of the busy work season and put a strain on many member companies that regularly send employees to judge test problems. As a result many employees, including committee members, were working on the test day—a Saturday—and were unavailable to judge. The team even considered postponing the test. Despite two days of calling member companies individually to ask for judges, the committee had barely had enough volunteers to put on the test and decided to move forward with the test using a skeleton crew.

“With this being the last year of the current test format, we encouraged both new and retest candidates to sign up for testing, especially the first hands-on test of the year—so they would have another opportunity to retest in August if they needed,” explained Melissa Emdin, ALCC programs and education director. “Over half of the candidates were testing irrigation problems, which are the most time- and resource-intensive test problems.”

The test site offered challenges as well. Construction at Pickens Technical College near the test site area meant that the usual test office location was unavailable, and some test areas were off-limits. An alternate indoor site was identified, and the committee reconfigured a few test problem areas to work around the construction.

When committee members showed up at the test site the day before the test to set up, they discovered that the power line to the site—required for several test problems, had been cut by the construction crew earlier in the day. Aurora Public Schools staff were able to supply generators to power the site. A heavy thunderstorm on Friday afternoon further delayed set-up of the test on Friday evening and interrupted a candidate test problem.

Other challenges:            

  • On Saturday morning, technical challenges with the PA system and set up of the generators delayed the start of testing.
  • A candidate digging a hole in the grading and drainage test problem unearthed a six-foot bull snake, which slithered through the test site through three test problem areas, putting the test on hold briefly while it found a new home.
  • A car accident nearby delayed delivery of lunch for candidates and volunteers.

With each obstacle, however, the team of volunteers quickly came together to problem solve and develop a plan to get the day back on track as quickly as possible while maintaining the integrity of the exam and the safety of those on site.

“Without the dedication, support, and quick thinking of our volunteers, the test day would not be possible,” Emdin said. “I was impressed with flexibility and positive attitude of both candidates and volunteers despite the setbacks.”

The team has already begun planning the August 10 hands-on exam, adding contingency plans should any of the June issues occur again. Those interested in volunteering for this last hands-on testing opportunity of 2019 should contact Melissa Emdin at 720 307-5092. Landscape Industry Certified technicians can receive CEUs for participating.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
How Jake's Designs cut employee turnover
Denver green buildings ordinance is finalized
Changes on the horizon for Welby Gardens
Review top OSHA citations during National Safety Month