Orange County, CA-based Marina Landscape, Inc. recently donated $100,000 to the Associated General Contractors of California Construction Education Foundation (AGC CEF) to support the next generation of California’s construction industry professionals.

The gift will establish an endowment account creating the Marina Landscape, Inc. Scholarship, 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 first Marina Landscape, Inc. scholarship was awarded this past October in the amount of $2,500 to student Kyler Cruz in the construction management program at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. The awarding took place at AGC of California’s 2018 Annual Conference 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.”

Marina Landscape, Inc. founder and President Bob Cowan says that as a member of the AGC CEF Board of Directors for six years, he has witnessed first-hand the positive impact the Foundation’s efforts have made for the industry, including providing scholarships to deserving students 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.”

Scholarships like this are welcome boost to an industry that is booming, yet still has a hard time finding workers to fill jobs. In fact, a recent 2018 study conducted by AGC of America found that 78% of California contractors are having a hard time filling some or all positions, with more than 40% expressing concerns that hiring challenges will only grow over time. The study found that 60 percent are offering salaried positions, and 52% are increasing hourly base pay rates to attract talent.

George Bradshaw, executive vice president of Underground Construction and Current AGC CEF Board Chair, says the donation by Marina Landscape will have a direct impact in helping students offset the educational costs of pursuing a career in construction. “Building the next generation of California’s construction workforce is core to our mission of identifying and developing the future workforce critical to ensuring a strong California economy,” said Bradshaw in the news release.

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