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AFE cracks the talent code for the future

The Labor Issue. Right now, it’s our industry’s kryptonite and it’s likely affecting your business too.

Open any publications or attend any event, and industry members are talking about how difficult it is to hire new and knowledgeable talent. So, what can you do?

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. But there are industry programs that are helping to bring top talent to our industry.

afe2Jamie Kitz; Sakata Seed America, Inc. Morgan Hill, CA. ‘AFE provides research, education grants, scholarships, and internship programs that address the growing challenges in the industry and help to attract young professionals. Sakata is honored to support AFE and encourages other members of the floral industry to do the same... it’s the right thing to do.’The American Floral Endowment has - for over 25 years - administered scholarship and internship programs that work to promote careers and bring the next generation into our industry. These programs create direct results by providing not only an introduction to the industry but also fostering relationships between current and potential industry members.

Specifically, AFE’s internship programs are administered within different career paths including growing/production and retail/wholesale. There’s even a new internship that focuses on bringing business students (IT, marketing, sales, etc.) into our programs...and therefore our industry.

In addition to these programs, AFE provides resources for those interested in the floral industry. We have an informative brochure that highlights the potential careers within each segment of the industry; from logistics in commercial growing to marketing in retail floristry to buyers in wholesale and professors in research. afe1 Doug Cole; D.S. Cole Growers, Loudon, NH. ‘AFE funds important research that individual businesses cannot afford to do themselves. This research helps with many aspects of our growing operation. AFE wants our input so that we know that funds are being used wisely. Our company also serves as a host for the AFE internship program which brings knowledgeable young students to our business. This is good for the students and for our business.’

AFE has its own council for young professionals that includes all segments of the industry, including students. The group attends industry events, networks and receives travel grants — all while learning about the industry and supporting AFE’s projects. Visit for more information on how to get involved.

Additionally, AFE supports programs like FFA, Collegiate Plant Initiative, Seed Your Future, and other educational programs that promote careers in the floral industry.

Get Involved

Through AFE’s programs, you as a business or organization can get involved in helping to tackle the industry’s pressing labor issue! You can get top talent through these programs and help support expanding them even more. Visit for more information.

Ways to participate

Sign up to be an internship host – this means students see your name/location and can request to intern with you.

Make a contribution to AFE — this helps to grow the important programs that reach young professionals. These programs are available today because of past industry members who invested in the future!

Share our careers brochure wherever possible —promote the exciting careers available. Just email with your request and we will ship them to you promptly.

Become a scholarship reviewer — review the scholarship applications and see the future of the floral industry.

If you want to see change, make a change. Become a partner with AFE — help us grow these programs to provide top talent to our industry.

Ashley Alexander is the Communications Specialist for the American Floral Endowment; 1001 North Fairfax St., Suite 201, Alexandria, VA 22314.