Growing Green in the new Green Economy

Innovative Partnership between RI Nursery & Landscape Association and  Seascape illuminates growth potential!

In a little less than a year’s time, a pilot program premiering the States’ first-ever Landscape Design Technician Apprenticeship has been launched.

This remarkable effort was born of a creative collaboration between a private employer-Seascape Lawn Care Inc., a professional industry association-Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Association (RINLA), a non-profit service organization focused on growing new apprenticeship programs to address workforce development-Apprenticeship Rhode Island, with critical funding in the form of a Real Jobs grant through the RI Department of Labor & Training.

To learn more about Seascape’s initial program, click here for a feature story in the Providence Business News.

This pilot program is a small part of a larger effort supported in RINLA’s Real Jobs grant to strengthen workforce development across green jobs. Employer partners in this wider effort include: Fleurs, Inc., Wild and Scenic, The Farmer’s Daughter, Shoreline Landscaping and Earth Care Farm.

The larger project’s focus will be piloting apprenticeship programs with RINLA members, creating alignment with CTE training programs,  developing a recruitment strategy with career and technical schools, exploring a RINLA human resources service program for the industry, and developing a plan to create a new talent pool for Rhode Island’s agriculture and landscaping industry.

The long-term goal of the partnership, which also includes Apprenticeship Rhode Island and career & technical schools of Ponaganset, Chariho, Narragansett and Foster-Glocester, is to put in place a career pathway that includes a pre-apprenticeship program apprenticeships, and two year degree, which will lead to career opportunities with living wages.

“This project is critically important for Rhode Island’s green industries, and it helps to demonstrate how important this industry is to the Rhode Island economy,” said Shannon Brawley, executive director of RINLA. According to a 2012 economic impact study, the industry employs more than 13,000 people in Rhode Island and produces about $1.78 billion in annual revenues. “RINLA members also play a significant role in greening our state’s infrastructure and protecting its farmland and open space, and that’s going to provide economic and social and environmental benefits like clean air and a better quality of life,” Brawley added.