Should You Be Recruiting High School Students?

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There is a trend in the US to recruit and train high school graduates.

Large companies such as Volkswagen, Tesla, CVS and Electric Boat are heading down this path, according to the recent article in The Wall Street Journal “Vocational Training Is Back as Firms Pair With High Schools to Groom Workers.”

Last week, I took my Leader’s Edge peer group to Colorado Springs, where the highly successful Timberline Landscaping also operates. This company piloted a worker program where they employed seven High School interns this year, and they plan to greatly expand the program next year. Its win-win! Here is a short article.

I have always said that we are not in the landscaping business growing lawns and gardens; rather we are in the people business growing skills and careers. Your business is like a technical and business college where young and old alike can plant and grow their careers.

This concept of (recruiting and) building people is a theme in my book, Become A Destination Company®. We will be exploring this and related themes in depth, during my upcoming workshops in Baltimore and Nashville, this week’s and next.

Your Challenge. Make connections with your local high schools, tech schools or colleges, and nurture relationships that will become your pipeline of workers in the near future. Start simple: make connections this winter with one learning institution, and consider developing a win-win program.

According to Paul Fraynd (CEO of Sun Valley Landscaping), the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is developing tools and resources to help members connect with the next generation of landscape professionals in several ways. So reach out to your national or state associations for help.

Regards, Jeffrey!

P.S. Colorado Springs has a wholesome beauty that blew my mind. We not only did intensive work during our peer group sessions, but some of us also rafted, rode jeeps up boulders like mountain goats, and hiked the glorious sites of the Garden of the Gods, see photos.


The wildlife was overflowing. (These deer have their own peer group, ha!)


Pike’s Peak, above the tree line.


The Garden of the Gods. Amen.

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