Mari Medrano – first place for perspective article on labor Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

The challenge of finding seasonal workers in the landscape industry and other seasonal industries has been an ongoing challenge for at least a couple of decades.

Mari Medrano, human resources director at CoCal Landscape, Denver, has more than 20 years’ experience working with foreign workers on H-2B visas. In spring 2021, Medrano wrote the article, H-2B: An Employer Perspective for Turf magazine and in spring 2022 her article received first place from the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association.

This editorial/opinion article highlighted her real-life experiences, and subsequent learning, from 20-plus years of working with foreign workers on H-2B visas. She said the process is time-consuming and there are no guarantees a company will be granted workers from the program. “If you think you know what you’re doing, this program—with constantly changing government regulations and attacks from H-2B opponents—will knock you to your knees. It’s anguishing, hair-pulling, frustrating and dumbfounding, but also very fulfilling and rewarding,” she wrote.

During the past 22 years, Medrano said there have been two years when CoCal did not receive any visas and they were tough years for the business. One of these years was 2020. They lost contracts and profit was down. At the same time turnover rate was high and there was a spike in accidents. CoCal has learned from these experiences and has been forced think differently about hiring and retaining a stable work force, and ensuring a safe working environment. “Our main mission is train, train, train.”

Formerly president of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA), Medrano and some other NHLA board members, formed the advisory board of the Latino Landscape Network (LLN), which is now part of National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

Read the full article here.

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