From Molly John, Co-owner, Vice President
The Ohio Green Industry Association (OGIA) welcomed nearly 230 high school students from 15 Ohio high schools for the eighth annual Ohio High School Landscape Olympics (OHLO) on October 11 and 12 at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio. M.J. Design was one of 30+ OGIA member companies who actively participated in bringing this event to life.
Over the course of two days, students had a unique chance to explore the world of careers within the green industry and engage directly with prominent figures in the field. The first day kicked off with an opening ceremony followed by a career exploration, networking event. During this event, we had the opportunity to engage with the students and talk about all the career opportunities within the green industry. Most of the students came from Career Tech programs and are already learning the many areas to work with in the industry.
The following day marked the start of the competition. Students participated in a set of 17 hands-on competitions designed to simulate tasks related to landscape installation, equipment operation, maintenance, irrigation, cost estimating, and sales. This year M.J. Design sponsored the Landscape Design competition. Students were given a base plan of a residential project, along with a scope of work. They had an hour and a half to come up with a conceptual design which they then had to present to us. There are some talented students out there and it was fun to see their creativity!
The event ended with the presentation of awards, honoring the "Top Student in the State" and the "Top Team in the State." Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua was the top school and Delaware Area Career Center was a close second.
OGIA partnered with SkillsUSA Ohio for OHLO to serve as a qualifying event for students to continue to the Ohio SkillsUSA competition in April and further demonstrate their knowledge of the green industry. SkillsUSA improves the quality of America's skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, and technical and professional skills training.
“The Ohio High School Landscape Olympics has been growing steadily year after year. With the two new events added this year and our partnership with Skills USA, this competition gives our talented students more chances to shine.” – OGIA President Genevieve Mills of Oakland Nurseries.
We are proud to be a sponsor and partner with this event, as it continues to grow each year. We are always encouraged by the enthusiasm of the students and how they support and cheer on their teammates throughout the event. With our involvement with Career Tech schools, we hope to not only show the students, but also the administration and parents there are good, rewarding career opportunities in the Green Profession.