Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Agriculture

First Advisor

David E. Kopsell


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days (SCD) professional development experience has on conceptual learning, job opportunities and placement, and job retention in the green industry. Student participants, PLANET judging team faculty advisors, and green industry professionals who attended the career fair were surveyed on their perceptions of PLANET Student Career Days and its related events. A block style survey was sent out to the participant groups. Depending on the participant's affiliation with PLANET Student Career Days, participants were asked a different set of questions in the survey. Each survey included questions about PLANET Student Career Days and the educational impact, job-networking, job-hiring and retention, and other attitudes and perceptions of the event as a whole. Results showed the significance of student participation in a competitive professional development experience in regards to education and employment. Faculty advisors rated PLANET SCD as a positive experience for their students (1.11) on a five-point Likert-type scale (level of agreement is equal to

1=strongly agree through 5=strongly disagree). Faculty advisors believe attendance at PLANET SCD is an important experience for their student's educational enhancement. Using frequencies to determine the mean score, faculty advisors ranked learning experience (2.47) as the highest rated opportunity for their students participating in PLANET SCD. Faculty advisors have administrative support to take students to participate in PLANET SCD, but many do not receive credit in their annual performance evaluation. 88.5% of faculty advisors use hands-on learning in the classroom very frequently or frequently, but industry professionals believe previous work experience is more important in a recent college graduate than hands-on activities in the classroom. Industry professional interact with many students at PLANET SCD and also hire candidates as well for internships and job opportunities. Industry professionals believe PLANET SCD student participants are better than other possible applicants for personal attributes you may not be able to learn in a classroom. The results may be used to increase the participation rate and effectiveness of the PLANET SCD experience.


Imported from ProQuest Clement_ilstu_0092N_10473.pdf


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