To further strengthen their commitment to promoting careers in irrigation, the Irrigation Association and Irrigation Foundation announced that they are joining forces. Together, with increased resources, they can ensure the sustainability of the workforce development programs directed by the Foundation over the past 20 years.
“Like our advocacy efforts, developing our future workforce is integral to the industry’s success,” said IA CEO Deborah Hamlin, CAE, FASAE. “Bringing these initiatives within the IA ensures that continuous funding will be provided through membership dues and not be solely reliant on direct donations. The structure will remain in place for those organizations or individuals who must donate to a 501(c)3 charitable organization.”
With the support of its industry sponsors, the Foundation has delivered many successful programs over the years for students and faculty. These programs will continue and will be managed by the IA and its workforce development committees:
- Faculty academies – providing our teachers with tools to bring more irrigation content into the classroom
- E3 program – developing students into our future workforce through exposure, education and experience
- Scholarships – helping students pursue their studies in agriculture and landscape irrigation management
- Excellence in Education Award – recognizing the best faculty with irrigation curricula
- Irrigation Career Link – providing information to job seekers and a vehicle for job makers to reach their intended audiences
“The 2019 member survey results indicated that finding and keeping qualified employees is the single greatest challenge our companies will face in the next three to five years,” said Eric Santos, CAIS, CGIA, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM, 2018-2019 Foundation chair and vice president of irrigation services at Brightview Landscape Services. “Joining forces with the Irrigation Association will make the Foundation programs even stronger. The timing is perfect.”
IA stated that it understands the importance of ensuring the long-term health of the industry by working to recruit qualified candidates to irrigation careers. Through these valuable programs, the IA will continue the work started by the Foundation to increase awareness of irrigation careers, provide targeted education resources and supply the industry with educated, highly skilled irrigation professionals.