Charleston, W.Va. – State and federal economic statistics show the nursery and
landscape industry in the state and related employment has grown and will continue to expand
through 2026, according to Julie Robinson, executive director of the West Virginia Nursery &
Landscape Association (WVNLA).
Robinson said, “WVNLA leaders and member companies have taken a proactive approach to
growing the industry, to help complement the emphasis on outdoor recreation and related
economic development throughout West Virginia.”
Robinson said WVNLA’s workforce development and scholarship support in all parts of the
Mountain State is helping boost the green economy and enhance the pipeline of talented
skilled workers and entrepreneurs in nursery and landscaping. According to Emsi data, jobs in
nursery and landscape grew by six percent from 2016 to 2021. She added that Emsi projects a
four percent growth for the industry between now and 2026. Emsi data is a hybrid dataset
derived from official government sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic
Analysis, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“WVNLA provides education and certification opportunities that enhance the professionalism
of its members,” said Mike Osborne, landscape manager at Aspen Corporation in Beckley. The
speakers at the education sessions are nationally known. The Association provides a great
opportunity for its members to hear expert advice and also discuss regional issues with their
peers. They advocate for the industry at the state and local member. We appreciate WVNLA’s
efforts to grow our industry and educate the public about what we offer,” said Osbourne.
Workforce development initiatives will take center stage at the association’s Winter
Symposium, “Growing A Great Landscape,” from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Embassy
Suites in Charleston.
Robinson said WVNLA has been working on multiple levels to attract and develop green
crafting a “Landscape Technician Boot Camp,” a 40-hour course to be offered at the
state’s nine community and technical colleges.
developing a lawn and landscape training course through the National Guard to present
to Jobs & Hope participants and to WVNLA member companies as a training resource,
making presentations to high school agriculture and career and tech students, and
creating videos and presentation materials.
At the Winter Symposium, a panel of those involved in workforce development initiatives will
include Michael Biafore, chairman of WVNLA’s Workforce Development Committee and
president of Biafore’s Landscape Development; Cindy Bailey, director of economic development
for the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG); Scott Byars, WVNG trainer, former WVU
Extension agent, and landscape business owner; Nancy Ligus, director of workforce, continuing
education and economic development at Pierpont Community & Technical College; and Lisa
McDavid of Lisa’s Gardenscapes.
Cost to attend is $50 for WVNLA members and $100 for non-members and includes lunch.
Vendors may rent a table for $25. To register: https://wvnla.org/ Contact Julie Robinson
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-553-1234 with any questions.
West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association, Inc., established in 1939, is a professional
trade association dedicated to supporting nursery and landscape businesses and vendors
throughout the Mountain State.
WVNLA members support West Virginia college students studying horticulture and landscape
architecture with scholarship opportunities. They also share expertise and support in their
communities; meet for volunteer projects; and support worthy, industry-related endeavors
through Association donations. Regionally, WVNLA co-owns the annual Mid-Atlantic Nursery
Trade Show along with the Maryland and Virginia associations.
For membership, events or mission priorities please visit https://wvnla.org/