MANHATTAN, Kans.-If you’re concerned about the future of the landscape/lawn service industry, you needn’t be. Attend a Student Career Day event put on by the Professional Landcare Network and you’ll not believe the enthusiasm and talent that’s headed the industry’s way!

In fact, it would be pretty darn tough to find another industry that has so many eager, talented young adults ready to take it to the next level. Predictably, many top North American landscape companies showed up, too. Every year the recruiting feeding frenzy for this young and educated talent gets more intense.

The latest Student Career Days took place this  past March 22-25 with more than 900 students from more than 60 colleges and universities coming together at Kansas State University. The came to K-State for the weekend’s competitive events and with one ultimate goal: to learn to be the best possible caretakers of America’s green and outdoor spaces. 

During PLANET’s Student Career Days, students tested their skills in events as diverse as small engine repair, plant identification, wood construction, and truck and trailer operation, and also met with potential employers from around the country. 

"Top companies attend this event because these young men and women are the future of the green industry and the people who will be responsible for caring for America’s green spaces for generations to come," says Roger Phelps, a PLANET board member and promotional communications manager for STIHL, Inc. "These competitions provide students with real-world experience and the skills they need to face problems they’ll encounter in the field every day."

Brigham Young University-Idaho took top honors winning the overall team event and received $5,000 from STIHL, Inc.

"PLANET Student Career Days is an annual capstone event for our BYU-Idaho students. The competitive events are structured so that applied university programs, like ours, do well," says Reese Nelson, Ph.D., who works in the horticulture department at BYU-Idaho. "Generous green industry companies  sponsor and judge the 28 competitive events, giving them an up-close and personal look at future interns and employees." Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo placed second overall and BYU-Provo placed third.

Look for an up-close-and-personal account of this year’s great event in Rick Cuddihe’s "Contractors’ Corner" column in the May issue of Turf magazine. Meanwhile, check out the action and the excitement of this year’s event with these images courtesy of PLANET

The Student Career Days opening ceremonies ignite every team’s school spirit.

Sometimes the competition at the event requires getting down and getting the job done.

Many top landscape companies participate in the annual job fair to check out and recruit the young talent.

Based on the pose and the color of these tee-shirts, we guessing this team made some noise at K-State.