I read last year a quote from Bill Gates that when he was asked what is the most important part of running a business was he replied "Time management". What dictates the majority of our time as business owners each year is the responsibilities delegated to our employees. Thus... Every year it's the same situation with employees. Recruiting and keeping key employees to grow your business, help your economy, and strengthen the industry. The same problem occurs and we participate in the same ridiculous rat race. In the Pittsburgh area there are trade schools filled with fresh candidates in Heating/Cooling, electrical. plumbing, carpentry, masonry, mechanics, and now gas wells but nothing for landscape/hardscape/lawn industry. A multi billion dollar a year industry and no formal education short of 1 to 3 day classes. Not having these resources makes our jobs as business owners, unnecessarily and tremendously difficult for various reasons: 1. It lets current employees know how tough it is to find replacements and at times work below company standards as a result. If they knew there were trade schools pumping out fresh recruits productivity would be up because employees know they are replaceable and turnover would be drastically reduced. We can exhaust far less energy dealing with unaccountable employees and excessive time and stress finding new recruits. 2.The Money and time that is lost each year from current employees training new employees basic field skills on site would be turned into money in your pockets or extra time to use at your leisure. 3. Having a school or academy that has atleast a 6 month program would let us know directly from the instructors the candidates potential, strengths, and skills. Rather then us taking the yearly gamble. Not to mention possible intern programs. 4. Keeps employee money in local economy. Immigrants are sending close to 75% of their pay across the border in opposed to fueling our economy and strengthening our country. 5. Having educated entry level employees enables new business owners to reduce the number of hats they wear. I believe so many businesses fail or struggle due to the owners being a salesman, designer, book keeper, mechanic, foreman, and technician as I witnessed my Dad doing for 25 years. The list goes on. I believe implementing education for entry or immediate level personnel is imperative to improve and strengthen our industry, quality of life, and put a dent in this employment issue plaguing the country. I have started to get the ball rolling but I need your help to prove to the distributors, manufacturers, and congressman that we are in severe need of these resources. If you care about the future of your company, the industry, and want to take your business and life to the next level I need your feedback to show the powers to be the problem is universal. As there is strength in numbers. Let me know your feedback as I am taking this situation seriously and want to have a plan in action during the winter season as this concept won't happen over night. Thanks everybody and Merry Christmas!!