Bridging the Gap

February 6, 2018

Hoping to bridge the gap between industry and agriculture curriculum in Florida’s schools, members from two FNGLA chapters have teamed up to offer personal support, equipment and materials.

“Our main goal is to become a resource for all nursery, landscape and irrigation Career Technical Education programs, while also bringing awareness to our industry and informing students of the opportunities and careers available to them,” Shawn Thomas, FNGLA secretary/treasurer, said. “Our hope is we broaden the scope of what is available to these students.”

Members from FNGLA’s Frontrunners and Northeast chapters last month laid the groundwork for the outreach campaign, which aims to connect with school officials and teachers and provide what is needed to fortify nursery and horticulture programs.

This includes furnishing equipment, donating materials, and potentially even offering internships for students, according to Thomas.

The hope? Better qualified future entry-level workers, stronger relationships with educators, and direct career paths into Florida’s horticulture industry, Thomas said.

Northeast chapter members last month formed a subcommittee to plot a course.

Chapter members also plan to create a master calendar of events which will include upcoming career fairs, contests and speaking opportunities so chapter members can also get involved.


Stefan Liopiros, past president of FNGLA’s Frontrunners chapter, said the effort will ultimately strengthen the future of Florida’s horticulture industry.


“If we are smart and work to help strengthen the horticulture curriculum in agriculture classes, and actively get in front of these kids and show them our industry, it will pay dividends to FNGLA, and Florida agriculture, in general, with quality future employees,” Liopiros said.


Liopiros added he hopes the project yields a template for all FNGLA chapters to embrace.


For more information, or to request or offer support to this project, contact FNGLA's Kate Clary at: •

Not an FNGLA Member?