Boot camp success depends on industry support Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 05:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Last week, ALCC launched a new hands-on training program for landscape industry technicians. The pilot offering was held at Pickens Technical College in Aurora over two days. ALCC hopes to continue to offer the program with the support of member organizations.

Twenty-three participants—employees at traditional landscape companies and municipalities—attended the two-day training and received a certificate of completion. In addition to learning new skills, most of the participants were also interested in pursuing Landscape Industry Technician (LICR) certification in the module in which they enrolled. Some had even earned certification and are now preparing to take the exam for certification in another module.

The program, modeled after the LICT exam, was much more relaxed without the pressure of testing. Participants were able to ask questions, and instructors, many of whom had volunteered as test judges in the past, could coach attendees in proper techniques, which was not allowed during testing. Safety, which could disqualify a test candidate before they even began to work, is an important focus of boot camp lessons.

Like hands-on testing, boot camp was a significant undertaking. In order to offer quality instruction, 13 instructors, more than half the number of participants, were needed.

“In order to continue to offer technician boot camp on a regular basis, we will need tremendous support from the industry,” said Melissa Emdin, programs & education director at ALCC. “Our supplier members were quick to respond to requests for equipment and materials,” Emdin recalled. “At a time when the supply chain has created a backlog of orders, it was incredibly generous of them to loan us their products to help educate our industry.”

To continue offering small groups and better instruction in each lesson, even more instructors and supplies will be necessary to serve a larger participant group. Emdin will conduct significant outreach to industry professionals in the hopes of growing the instructor pool. Certified technicians can earn CEUs for boot camp prep and instruction, similar to the CEUs earned by judging hands-on testing. Emdin hopes that this benefit will entice more professionals to get involved.  

“We feel that learning from experienced pros who are putting the lessons into practice is invaluable and makes landscape technician boot camp unique,” she said. “We greatly appreciate the support of those who give their time to train our workforce and hope that earning a significant number of CEUs will be an added benefit.”

In the future, Emdin hopes to invite high school instructors from the Landscape Career Pathways program to observe boot camp. Students and instructors from the Pickens urban landscape and horticulture program were able to observe some of the pilot program and found it valuable.

  Boot camp participants

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now: