The 37th annual PLANET Student Career Days is set for March 7-10 at Auburn University.

For three days students enrolled in horticulture programs in colleges and universities across the country will compete in events that are directly related to the skills necessary for a career in the green industry. Last year more than 900 students representing 68 colleges traveled to Manhattan, Kan., to compete and network at the Student Career Days at Kansas State University.

This year’s event, like previous events, is a whole lot more than competition among the students, as spirited as it is with 34 separate horticulture-related events. Students can also take advantage of 14 educational workshops offered by some of the most experienced experts in the green industry.

But, the real payoff for many of the students-at least those finishing their college programs and beginning their professional careers-will be the opportunity to land a job. Every year, established landscape companies (the large and the not-so-large companies) man booths at the Student Career Days Career Fair, conduct interviews and attempt to land smart young talent. The competition among the 50 or so companies seeking ambitious new employees is keen. It’s quite a scene.

Student Career Days got its start in 1975 when horticulture professors at Mississippi State, Michigan State and The Ohio State University proposed a competition between their students. By 1977, that initial event had morphed into the first ALCA (now PLANET) Field Days with five schools participating: Ohio State, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Mississippi State. That competition took place with the help of 18 industry members who paid their own to Mississippi State. Today, dozens more industry participants volunteer their time and talent to make Student Career Days the most raucous and fun annual event in the industry.

The event is organized by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), and is sponsored by companies, such as STIHL, John Deere, Caterpillar, Gravely, New Holland Construction, Brickman, Husqvarna, Oldcastle Architectural, Inc., Pavestone and Lawn & Landscape.

To learn more about the 2013 Student Career Days, please visit