Merino Landscape, Inc., based in San Diego, California, is the first company with individuals to complete NALP’s Landscape Management Apprenticeship Program (LMAP), with three apprentices finishing the program in May.
While typically it takes apprentices 12 to 15 months to complete the program, apprentices Julien Alcaraz, Jaime Alcaraz and Krystian Merino were able to finish the program at an accelerated rate due to prior experience. All three apprentices are current employees.
Jaime Alcaraz says with the testing and exams they were able to feel confident in their skills of the trade and the tests helped them become a stronger individual in the trade. Krystian Merino says he appreciated how the program brought things back to the fundamentals of the trade.
Owner Chris Merino says the program worked well for them and it was cost-effective. He says he plans to use the apprenticeship program again in the future but will have someone else handle the mentoring aspect of the apprenticeship. As the mentor this time around, he says it was interesting to show the apprentices the different aspects of the work.
One of the reasons Merino decided to participate in the program is due to a new law in California that requires companies bidding on public work contracts to employ individuals who have graduated from a Registered Apprenticeship Program.
Merino says the program has a good mix of online training and hands-on work and there isn’t anything about the program he would change.
“The work I was doing in the online classroom was great because it went perfectly with reinforcing knowledge of the trade,” Jaime Alcaraz says. Julien Alcaraz agrees that the online classroom training reassured him that each task was done the proper way.
The NALP Landscape Management Apprenticeship Program was launched in February 2019. The program requires 2,000 hours of on-the-job training as well as a minimum of 144 hours in the classroom or online equivalent. The 2,000 hours of on-the-job training is broken down into 17 job tasks, which helps apprentices receive well-rounded training.
Individuals who complete the program now hold the status as Journeyman for the occupation of Landscape Management Technician and earned up to 14 college credits that can be transferred to over 300 colleges or universities.
“Give it a try,” said Merino. “You’ll be surprised how much the employees will learn.”
Companies that enroll in the program are notified whenever individuals contact NALP about becoming an apprentice. Click here to learn more about the program and enroll.