The ALNLA supports our member firms by partnering with various local, state, and national organizations to help influence matters of Workforce Development, Consumer Education, Industry Research, and Government Relations, which are essential to a prosperous and vibrant business climate. Together, we can accomplish more than an individual business acting alone!

 

Workforce Development

A perennial need for every business, this initiative includes recruiting the next generation of green industry professional from high school, college, or those seeking a second career. In addition, we offer training and certification programs to refine and diversify the skill set of aspiring professionals.

In 2018, the Association launched AlabamaGreenIndustryJobs.org as the hub for career information. Students, parents, educators, and the public can learn about career pathways, find jobs, and hear from industry veterans about why they chose the green industry and why you should consider it too.

In addition to our scholarship program, we partner with local, state, and national organizations to participate in and promote various events and contests designed to connect students with industry and industry with students. These include the National Collegiate Landscape CompetitionAlabama FFA competitions and networking events held across Alabama's seven workforce regions, where nearly 5,000 eighth grade students attend each event. Members are encouraged find their region, linked here, and contact them directly to get involved.

 

Consumer Education

Another critical need for current and future professionals are consumers and clients to purchase their plants and plant-related services. In 2019, ALNLA launched Plant Something Alabama to inspire, educate, and cultivate a new generation of plant enthusiasts. Our goal is to connect aspiring gardeners with plant professionals in their local garden centers who have the knowledge, skills, and obligation to help, literally, grow a new crop of customers. 

We also support the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) and their goal to educate the public on the nutritional, environmental, pyschologicalsocial, and health benefits of plants. 

 

Industry Research

In order to neutralize threats or take advantage of trends, one must understand them. Cutting edge research collects and analyzes data about every facet of our industry, from the insect or disease pest of the moment, to why consumers are attracted to certain containers or displays, and everything in between. The scientists conducting these research projects rely on industry feedback to determine which projects are most important to pursue and the information they provide back to industry is vital to our success. 

We support industry leading research through an annual donation to the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI). ALNLA shares the Institute's strategic vision and its four key areas of focus: Quantifying Plant Benefits, Creating Innovative Solutions, Gathering Consumer Insights, and Producing Practical & Actionable Solutions.

 

Government Relations

We strive to keep our fingers on the pulse of legislative and regulatory bodies at the local, state, and national level, so that we may provide timely and actionable communications to our members. It is important to note that while government is traditionally viewed as very slow, when the time comes to debate or get feedback on regulations and legislation, the situation escalates very quickly and the squeaky wheel often gets the grease. There are at least two sides to every issue and if we are not sharing stories with elected and appointed officials of how regulation, laws, or policies are affecting our businesses...the other side(s) will be.

On federal issues, information often comes to us from allies like AmericanHort or the National Association of Landscape Professionals who maintain a presence in Washington DC. We push out calls-to-action as quickly as possible and often, the window for your participation is very brief. It is imperative to respond with urgency to ensure your voice is heard. The goal is to generate as much buzz with legislators as we can in a short amount of time through calls, emails, and social media. When we say, "Together, we can accomplish more than an individual business acting alone," this is exactly what we are talking about. Together, our message is amplified to policy makers, not just across our state, but across the country. 

State level issues are much the same. Oftentimes, we hear news first, but sometimes you hear news first. Most importantly, we must share the news and raise awareness of issues that affect everyone in the industry. Always call us with questions or to see if we are aware of potential news.

We also rely on our members for feedback. If there are local regulations affecting your business, please let us know. We will do our best to assist you!