Jobs and skills key focus of green industry college championship

More than 800 college students from 70 colleges and universities competed for top honors at the Professional Landcare Network’s (PLANET) Student Career Days, the collegiate championship for the green industry, held at Auburn University March 7-10. Students pitted their expertise against other top college teams and interviewed with some of the leading green industry companies.

To improve their professional expertise, students competed in academic and practical events as diverse as small-engine repair, computer design, wood construction, annual & perennial identification, arboriculture techniques, business management, hardscape installation, landscape plant installation, plant problem diagnosis and woody ornamental plant identification. The competition also provided a chance for students to learn from top experts.

“Jobs and education continue to be vital issues for our country, and this event shows how our industry is supporting both,” said Roger Phelps, a PLANET board member and promotional communications manager for Stihl Inc., the platinum sponsor of the event. “Students are able to test their skills against their peers and showcase their abilities for top green industry companies that are looking to fill jobs across the country.”

“The PLANET Student Career Days is the best opportunity for students, suppliers and green industry companies to interact for a mutual benefit of growing and enhancing the world we live in,” said Ed Furner, chairman of PLANET Student Career Days. “This event allows motivated and talented students to see all aspects of the industry in competitive events, and gives them exposure to more than 60 top companies from around the U.S.”

Brigham Young University-Idaho placed first out of more than 70 schools and received $5,000 from Stihl Inc. Brigham Young University-Provo placed second.

As part of the event, PLANET organized a career fair, which attracted many of the top landscape and horticulture companies from around the country. “One of our students has four job offers and is in the enviable position of deciding which best suits her career goals during the plane ride home,” said Phil Allen, faculty advisor for Brigham Young University-Provo. “The importance of this event to the success of these student’s professional endeavors can’t be overstated. Members of our team received more than 25 job or internship offers during their time here.”

For more information about PLANET Student Career Days, visit


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