Floral businesses address labor challenges
Floral and horticulture professionals from nearly 70 businesses seized the opportunity to address labor challenges in their industry by participating in Seed Your Future’s Green Career Week, which took place Feb. 27 to March 3. This event targeted high school students, while the next one, scheduled for Oct. 2-6, will target college students.
Seed Your Future executive director Jazmin Albaran says that the event is gaining traction, not just in the number of participants, but also in the media. She was featured in eight radio interviews last week, one of which was aired nationally.
Chris Drummond, AAF, PFCI, president of Penny’s by Plaza Flowers in Philadelphia, participated in Green Career week by speaking to 20 students at The U School in Philadelphia, a vocational school with a department that focuses on careers in agriculture, horticulture, and food service.
Recruiting and retaining employees is reported as a top challenge across all segments, “and we’re not going to fix the labor shortage in our industry unless we all become very proactive in finding solutions to the problem,” Drummond says.
He says Green Career Week is a vital way to cultivate the next generation of floriculture professionals.
During his two-hour visit, Drummond talked with high school juniors and seniors about the different types of careers they can pursue, as well as the exciting technological advances that have made people more efficient in these roles. To wrap up the presentation, he had students design a vase of roses and take their creations home.
Creating these types of experiences can also go a long way toward immersing early career talent into the industry — and it doesn’t have to end with students on the high school level.
For college student Olivia Vardy, a creative marketing intern at Details Flowers Software, getting the opportunity to participate in Green Career Week has reinforced her positive experience at the company.
“In the two months I have been at Details, my knowledge about the floral industry has already expanded immensely,” Vardy says. “It’s been fascinating learning about all of the opportunities within the floriculture and horticulture industry.”
During Green Career Week, Details participated in an Instagram takeover, in which the company posted a range of content that included an office tour, a behind-the-scenes glimpse at weekly meetings, and interviews with the CEO. In addition, Details posted videos highlighting interns’ experience at the company and what they have learned about the industry.
“I would have never guessed that I would be spending my senior year of university interning for a floral software company in the marketing department,” says Vardy. “Over 15 years of education and not once did I learn about the opportunities in this industry.”
For more information and to download materials needed for the event, including sample itineraries for school visits, activities, photo release forms, press releases, a social media toolkit and more, visit www.seedyourfuture.org.