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AFE’s Vic and Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program Nears 20-Year Mark

225 Intern Scholarships Awarded Over Past Two Decades

Vic and Margaret Ball

Vic and Margaret Ball

The AFE Vic and Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2012.
This internship experience fills a crucial need as the floriculture industry seeks to build its capacity and increase workforce development. Since its creation in 1992, the Vic and Margaret Ball Program has facilitated paid internships and provided scholarship funds to more 225 students entering the floriculture/horticulture industry. As industries and businesses nationwide face the challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified employees, opportunities such as the Ball Internship Program play a vital role in highlighting floriculture as a career.
“Internships provide the hands-on experience students need to pursue a career in commercial production,” said AFE Education Chairman Ken Altman of Altman Plants in Vista, Calif. “While college courses are essential, applying classroom knowledge in practical situations is extremely beneficial and brings classroom lessons to life.”
The Ball Internship Program was created with a significant personal donation from Vic and Margaret Ball. The late Vic Ball was a well-respected leader in horticulture and floriculture for more than sixty years. His unfailing support of the industry took many forms, including his prolific writing on aspects of horticulture and floriculture worldwide, his role as editor of Grower Talk and the Ball Redbook, his committed service to industry associations in general and the American Floral Endowment, in particular and his lifelong interest in education. Margaret Ball and her family are still very dedicated to the internship program and enjoy reviewing the student applications and the program evaluations of successful applicants.

Joshua Craver

Joshua Craver
Mississippi State University

Students selected for the program are placed in paid internships at a commercial production greenhouse or nursery. Upon completing the internship, participants receive scholarship funds, in addition to their salary, ranging from $1,500 to $6,000. Applicants are not required to have previous floriculture or horticulture experience, but must have completed general education requirements and demonstrate a genuine interest in pursuing a career in floriculture. The internship program is competitive and applications are reviewed twice yearly with the deadlines of October 1 and March 1.
Joshua Craver, a rising senior at Mississippi State University, completed a three-month internship in July at Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, N.C., where he worked in shipping and growing capacities. The experience was invaluable, he says: “The Ball Internship Program is a great way to get matched up with greenhouses that are willing to mentor interns and help us pursue our areas of interest. Plus, it provides valuable financial assistance for school.”
More than 50 growing operations and growers participate in the internship program, and AFE is always looking for additional growers who are interested in hosting an intern.
Student reports from recent internships are also available.