In a move to make getting FNGLA certified even more convenient, FNGLA’s Broward Chapter has pioneered a certification training model which offers chapter members the chance to network -- and get certification training at chapter meetings.
Robert Shoelson, FCLC, of Getting Green Plant Services has been instrumental in this effort to link the Broward Chapter to FNGLA certification. Shoelson shares on how he launched this effort to help spread industry professionalism:
After getting certified, I saw the benefits and advantages of having an FNGLA Certification to put me ahead of my competition and increase my knowledge of the work I do every day. I saw the need to increase the professionalism in our industry, and this was the best vehicle to do just that.
Why do electricians and plumbers, for example, need to be certified but a landscape contractor does not? Certification shows your customer you know what you are doing and you are not just another ‘Chuck in a truck’.
The biggest benefit for the Chapter is the revenue which is generated from our training programs for certification that are put on prior to the exams. The benefit for the industry is easy: the more people I am able to help get certified, the more professional our industry becomes. We need to raise the bar on what it takes to be a considered a bonafide Landscape Contractor.
For other FNGLA chapters who plan to take on a project like certification, the first step is to find a location which can be used for the reviews and exams that can be set up with permanent stations for easy access and accessibility.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has been kind enough to allow us to make their Davie campus home to Broward reviews and testing. Once established, it takes very little effort to set up, so we are ready to go.
The next step is to find a person who sees the benefits of certifications and is willing to take charge of making it happen. •
Editor’s Note: FNGLA is fortunate to have a dedicated industry professional such as Shoelson to take the certification lead in Southeast Florida. Other chapters have also followed Broward’s lead, including Treasure Coast and Pinellas.