The nursery and greenhouse industry has a labor supply problem. It is a well-documented critical issue facing the industry.
Owner and worker ages are ratcheting up; meanwhile, fewer young people are selecting horticulture as a career — either in the field or in the classroom.
The OAN has a long commitment to education. Over the past three years, three nursery industry families have endowed new scholarship awards — that’s amazing!
The association established the Oregon Nurseries Foundation (ONF) to manage funds contributed by OAN members for the purpose of awarding scholarships to deserving students preparing for careers in ornamental horticulture and related fields. The ONF operates as a separate nonprofit and is governed by a five-member Board of Trustees.
Our current OAN president, Mark Bigej, is a past recipient of an ONF scholarship, and that investment into his education and future is paying off for the association right now.
It costs how much to go to college?
If you have not done the math it is astounding. Our agricultural institution, Oregon State University, costs around $26,000 a year to attend, including tuition, books and supplies, room and board. That’s $104,000 to complete school in four years.
If a student lives at home and goes to a community college (Portland Community College, Chemeketa and Clackamas all have hort programs), the cost per year is between $8,000 and $12,000.
It’s no wonder most middle class families are freaking out over education costs, thinking that they must choose between their retirement and children’s college.
Happily, there are many options to help Oregon students and families pay for college. Families may apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if the student is a citizen or resident alien, or the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) if the student is undocumented.
For those attending a community college, the State of Oregon (echoing the State of Tennessee and communities like Los Angeles and Detroit) created a program called the Oregon Promise to help the costs for recent high school graduates if they meet certain qualifications.
And of course, scholarships — such as the ONF scholarships listed here — can help students and families afford an investment in higher education.
Why it matters
On average, college graduates earn $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates.
There are resources available. Financial aid applications, Oregon Promise and Federal Pell Grants can all help make college more affordable. I am proud that our industry is providing this funding source for students and their families.
Let’s make sure the word gets out. The March 1, 2017 deadline will be here before we know it. To download a scholarship application, go online today at www.oan.org/scholarship.
A total of 19 awards are offered this year for those interested in preparing for a career in horticulture:
Bill Egan Memorial Award: $500 to a college student majoring in horticulture with preference given to greenhouse/floriculture areas. Preference will be given to family members and employees of the OAN Greenhouse Chapter.
Bob Fessler Family Foundation/Woodburn Nursery Award (two awards): $1,000 each to four-year or community college students majoring in horticulture or related fields who also graduated from an Oregon high school.
Royal Boltman Memorial Award: $500 to a qualified student majoring in horticulture or botany. Preference will be given to students attending Oregon schools.
Clackamas Chapter Award: $1,500 to a student beginning college studies in an ornamental horticulture field.
Clackamas Chapter Ed Wood Memorial Award: $1,500 to a student currently enrolled in a college horticulture program in Oregon. Scholarship award will be based on letters of recommendation from nursery professionals or people affiliated with the nursery industry.
Emerald Empire Chapter Award: $500 to a junior or senior college student majoring in horticulture, landscape architecture or landscape construction who also graduated from an Oregon high school. Preference will be given to a student from the Emerald Empire (Eugene) area.
Joseph H. Klupenger Award: $550 to a student majoring in ornamental horticulture who plans to work in the ornamental industry either as an employee or as a family member of a business.
Larry Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship: $500 to a college junior or senior who is attending Oregon State or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and majoring in horticulture.
Mt. Hood Chapter Award (two awards): $1,000 each to college students majoring in ornamental horticulture. Preference will be given to applicants from nursery areas east
Nursery Employee Award: $500 to a college student in ornamental horticulture who is employed by an OAN member firm.
Nurseries Foundation Award: $1,000 to a student majoring in the field of horticulture.
Nurseries Memorial Award: $1,000 to a graduate student in ornamental horticulture.
Retail Chapter Award (three awards): $1,000 each to students majoring in ornamental horticulture and related fields. Preference will be given to students who are a son/daughter of an OAN member retailer, or one of their employees.
Willamette Chapter Award: $1,000 to a college student majoring in ornamental horticulture. Preference will be given to a Willamette Chapter member, member’s child or an employee of a Willamette Chapter member.
Sid and Cindy Miles Nursery Award: $1,000 to a four-year or community college student majoring in horticulture, floriculture or turf-related studies who graduated from an Oregon high school. Preference goes to a student who intends to work in a horticulture-related industry, either as an employee or as a family member of a business.