Jan. 10 2019 09:01 AM

The money will go to students working toward green industry and construction-related degrees.

Some future green industry professionals will benefit from a new scholarship fund, thanks to an Orange County, California-based landscape company, according to a story on ENR.com. Marina Landscape Inc., which serves Orange and Los Angeles Counties, Santa Clarita and Northern California, donated $100,000 to the Associated General Contractors of California Construction Education Foundation to support the next generation of California’s construction and green industry professionals.

The Marina Landscape Inc. Scholarship will be awarded annually to students working towards a degree in landscape construction, contracting, engineering, construction management or business administration. The scholarship is also open to members of union trades specific to landscape careers. The generous gift established the endowment for the scholarship.

Kyler Cruz, a student in the construction management program at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, was the first recipient of a $2,500 scholarship awarded this past October. The official awarding took place at AGC of California’s 2018 Annual Conference, held in Lake Tahoe.

“Scholarship opportunities like this one make a very real impact in the lives and career paths of exceptional students like Kyler,” says Erin Volk, vice president for AGC’s Workforce and Community Development. “The Construction Education Foundation is proud that AGC member companies, like Marina Landscape Inc. trust the Foundation to manage a small piece of their legacy.”

Bob Cowan, Marina’s founder and president, says that as a member of the AGC CEF Board of Directors for six years, he’s witnessed firsthand the positive impact the Foundation’s efforts have made for the industry, including providing scholarships to deserving students who are ready to “dive into” the California workforce.

“As someone who couldn’t attend college, it is something I see great value in, and the opportunity to help others achieve higher education has always been a major priority for me,” said Cowan in a news release. “This is why I chose to give this donation and create a Founder Scholarship on behalf of Marina Landscape, to demonstrate Marina’s commitment to the future of the industry.”

Both the landscape and construction industries have been impacted by a shortage of labor. A 2018 study conducted by AGC of America found that 78 percent of California contractors are having a hard time filling some or all positions. More than 40 percent expressed concerns that hiring challenges will only get worse over time. The study also found that 60 percent are offering salaried positions, and 52 percent are increasing hourly base pay rates in order to better attract talent. Scholarships like this are welcome boost.

The AGC CEF Founder Scholarship Program gives member companies the opportunity to make a donation and receive a named scholarship. Since 2013, the AGC Construction Education Foundation has awarded approximately $500,000 in scholarships to individuals or schools to support workforce development.