Some 28 years ago, I received my acceptance letter to the University of North Texas. It was the start of something I’d dreamed about since elementary school. UNT was close enough to drive home to do laundry and eat a home-cooked meal, but far enough away that I felt a sense of freedom and independence. My parents agreed to help bankroll college – as long as I passed – but did ask that I look for scholarships. That was a bit daunting, but I managed to secure some funds that first year. (Thank you, Scripps Howard Foundation.)

I’m grateful to my bosses for starting a green industry scholarship. GIE Media has established a fund to support academic scholarships for outstanding college students focused on leading in the green industry. To be eligible, you must be enrolled at a recognized two- or four-year college or university working toward a degree in horticulture, environmental science or other field related to a segment of the green industry. Applications must be postmarked by April 28, 2017. Winners will be announced by Aug. 1, 2017.

Go to bit.ly/GIE_scholarship to download the application. Please print and fill out the form completely, then mail it to Chuck Bowen, Lawn & Landscape, 5811 Canal Rd., Valley View, OH 44125.

I would appreciate you sharing this with your alma maters to spread the word. And if you know of other scholarship opportunities, please email them to me and we'll share them on our web site and on social media.

Kick off your career

The AmericanHort GenNext community, of which I gratefully am a member, is planning something pretty cool for Cultivate’17. CareerUP is a day-long workshop that provides the industry’s emerging professionals the skills, information and inspiration they need to advance their careers, love their jobs and help the industry grow. Mark your calendar for Saturday, July 15 from 10-4.

Nancy Fisher, Ohio State University professor and communications expert, will lead the “High Stakes Communication” workshop where attendees will focus on building credibility and confidence to handle any high-stakes situation. The day will also highlight four stories from horticulture trailblazers: Bridget Behe, PhD, professor at Michigan State University; Kelly Norris, director of Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden; Steve Black, owner of Raemelton Farm and Nursery Management Grower of the Year 2017; and Tyler Baras, farm manager at Dallas Grown. Please share this with your employees and consider sending some of your new hires. Find out more at Cultivate17.org/CareerUP. I look forward to seeing you at this exciting event.

Speaking of career development, be sure and turn to page 16 and find out about a new horticulture training and development program in Baltimore. The American Landscape Institute is a first-of-its-kind program that allows participants to work four days a week getting hands-on training and spending one day a week in the classroom at the Community College of Baltimore County. It’s a familiar formula in Europe, and many skilled trades are trained this way here in the states. I really hope that other communities start a similar program. You can also watch my video about ALI from MANTS at: bit.ly/AmericanLand scapeInstitute.