The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association Keeping the Garden State Green

 In forty-six years, the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) has  grown from five members to over 19,000 and has given a voice to the Garden  State’s professional landscape contractors, who strive to make New Jersey a more  beautiful place.

 The NJLCA is dedicated to advancing the integrity, proficiency and continued  growth of the landscape industry and offers its members a variety of services  from planning and design to installation and maintenance, which are oriented to  the needs of each client. The organization also has a discount program that offers members on discounts on  custom clothing, nursery stock, equipment, machinery and financial services.  

 NJLCA members attend monthly membership meetings with networking and educational  opportunities geared toward today’s market, alerts of legislative changes and affiliations with other  organizations. NJLCA also publishes The New Jersey Landscape Contractor  magazine three times a year that offers news briefs, informative articles and  interviews with landscape professionals.  

 Member Benefits

 “There are so many benefits to being NJLCA member,” says Jody Shilan, MLA, NJLCAs’ executive director, and a Wyckoff-based landscape design consultant. “We are very pro-education here. One of the most important things we do here is  we provide incredible amounts of classes for our members. Even our monthly  membership meetings have an education component. At our most recent meeting, we  had two state troopers and an attorney come and do presentations. The troopers  discussed ways that our members could operate their equipment safely on the  highways and the attorney reviewed contract documentation to ensure that you’re compliant to the rules and regulations of law to New Jersey.”  

 The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association recently launched NJLCA  University, a series of one- and two-day educational workshops and seminars.  The university was conceived to provide more in-depth information for the  company owner or employee, who wants to improve his/her business skills—an area where contractors can fall short.  

 Feedback from members spurred the introduction of these workshops because they  wanted more interactive classes taught by industry professionals. Topics range  from budgeting and estimating to social media, inbound marketing and sales  presentations. Attendees will learn how to use Google SketchUp in one class,  and earn the credits needed for their pesticide license in others.  

 Contractors can sign up for one workshop, or take them all. Classes are $149.95  for members and $249.50 for non-members. For additional information call (201)  703-3600 or go to www.njlca.org.  

 Getting Certified

 The NJLCA administers the Landscape Industry Certified Technician Program  (formerly CLT). Certification is a national hands-on testing program  exclusively administered in New Jersey by NJLCA in conjunction with the  Professional Landscape Network (PLANET). Certification seeks to recognize  proficiency in the landscape workforce, upgrade the status of the landscape  professional and provide the public with a means of identifying qualified  landscape professionals within the industry.  

 Anyone is eligible to take the exam, but it is strongly recommended that the  applicant has at least one of the following: 4,000 hours of work in the  landscape industry; 2,000 hours of work in the landscape industry plus the  completion of an approved internship program. NJLCA wishes to stress that  certification is not a substitute for a landscape contractor’s license. The goals, subject matter, and procedures of the certification test  are different from licensing exams. Also, certification is not a substitute for  any of the state-issued pesticide licenses.  

 To become a Landscape Industry Certified Technician an applicant must pass  either: All Turf Maintenance Modules, All Ornamental Maintenance, All Softscape  Installation or All Hardscape Installation Modules (applicants are allowed to  take only one designation per exam). Successful completion of the Maintenance  Modules demonstrates that a person has the skills to maintain a landscape  project in a proficient manner. Successful completion of the Installation  Modules demonstrates that an individual has the skills to take a landscape  blueprint and proficiently implement the design in the field.  

 NJLCA believes that being certified promotes safety, professionalism in the  industry and national recognition and standardization.  

 On the Legislative Front

 The NJLCA is actively involved in lobbying numerous legislative issues. The  group supports amendments to allow Green Industry Professionals to install low  voltage landscape lighting.  

 NJLCA believes that low voltage landscape lighting installation is a highly  profitable service that companies may easily add to their other landscape  offerings but current New Jersey law (NJAC 45:5A- 18) restricts this work to  electricians. Landscape lighting, however, is an artistic profession best  suited to those who design landscape features and who understand aesthetics and  growing properties of plant materials. The organization believes that unless  the law is amended, New Jersey’s Green Industry professionals will be unfairly shut out from this fast growing  and rewarding work.  

 “We are also actively involved in a program called the H-2B program,” says Shilan. “It’s a guest visa program that allows employees from other countries to work for  nine months here and then return to their country. We are very instructive in  terms of keeping that program alive. It allows us to keep the pricing  competitive and it’s one of the government programs that work extremely well.”  

 NJLCA has also developed a strong relationship with the agriculture industry in  New Jersey and are working alongside agriculture professionals on the state’s “Jersey Grown” program that is a spin-off of the “Jersey Fresh” program.  

 “I’ve been the executive director of NJLCA since September 2012,” says Shilan, “And it’s been on the most rewarding experiences of my life.”    

 Christy Smith-Sloman is a staff writer for The New Jersey Cooperator and other  publications.

 
 

2 Comments

  • How do I verify my landscape contractors license? I have his license number but no way to verify it.
  • I would like to post a comment/opinion about a job performed in my property, Is there a place where I can do that? Also, if I have a complaint where would be the best place to address it? Thanks