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Florida agriculture educators 'LINC' with industry professionals at inaugural conference

More than 130 agriculture educators and industry pros converged in Daytona Beach Shores in September for a weekend of bridge-building as part of the inaugural LINC Conference.

An acronym for ‘Linking our Industry Networks through Certification,’ LINC represents a partnership between FNGLA, Florida Farm Bureau’s AEST and the Florida Aquaculture Association. The mission? To bridge the gap between industry labor needs and an educated workforce, according to Merry Mott, FNGLA’s director of certification and career development.

“This is an opportunity for educators and professionals to network and engage to ensure our agriculture, horticulture and landscape educators are prepared to fulfill their role – to meet the industry’s future workforce needs,” Mott says.

The three-day conference included roughly a dozen educational sessions on what employers look for in potential employees; how young people seeking jobs and careers can market their earned professional certifications; and, how teachers and our industry can work together to provide students the skills necessary for a successful career in Florida’s nursery, landscape and agriculture industries.

The conference also served up many networking opportunities for educators to interact with industry professionals in a bid to compare notes, make connections, and pair together for future plans on assisting teacher and students.

Several sponsors also stepped up to show their support for this endeavor including Arazoza Brothers and Isuzu. 

FNGLA’s own ‘Education Czar’ Stefan Liopiros (Big Trees Plantation, Newberry) and FNGLA Past President Will Womack (Southern Garden Solutions, Tampa) also participated in the program.

Thanks to the overwhelming support and great turnout, LINC organizers expect a second LINC conference to take place some time in the fall of 2020.

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