Our mission at NWFA is to provide education and training necessary for business and personal success in the wood flooring industry. As time moves forward, we’ve seen (as have most skilled trades) a decrease in new people coming into our trade. The only way to keep this shortage from getting worse is to attract new people to our industry. How do we do this?
Well, that’s a complex question, but one way the NWFA is able to help is to reach the younger generations, inform them of career opportunities within the wood flooring industry, and provide them with the resources they need to build a successful career. There’s so much more to our industry than installing hardwood floors and a lot of people, especially the younger generations, don’t think beyond what they see.
The past couple months the NWFA has hosted or participated in several events to help engage students and share information about our industry with them. Let’s take a look at a few!
Lewis and Clark Community College Career Fair
NWFA participated in the Lewis and Clark Community College Career Fair in St. Charles, Missouri where nearly 600 high school students came through. The custom medallions and pictures from our Advanced schools attracted the kids to our booth where we talked with them about our trade.
NWFA + Middle Tennessee Lumber (MTL) Manufacturing Day Event
In honor of Manufacturing Day, an annual celebration of modern manufacturing where manufacturers invite locals to their facilities and educate them about career opportunities in manufacturing, NWFA and MTL hosted more than 100 students and teachers at the MTL mill in Burns, Tennessee.
Students were given a tour of Middle Tennessee Lumber’s operation, which included the saw mill, drying yard, kilns, grading line, and flooring mill. Students also got hands-on exposure with machinery and techniques commonly used by wood flooring installers, including a pneumatic nail gun, a sanding machine, a buffer, and staining.
The event was definitely a success – a few teachers even asked about incorporating hands-on training to their school programs.
Junior Achievement Career Fair
NWFA participated in the 2017 Junior Achievement Career Fair, sharing information on careers within the wood flooring industry with more than 2,200 students. At Junior Achievement Career Fairs, middle school and high school students are able to learn from area professionals about the world of work as well as about jobs that are available in the St. Louis area.
NARI Youth Remodeling Career Day with C&R Flooring
Chris Zizza, NWFA Board Chairman and Owner of C&R Flooring, invited the NWFA to co-exhibit with him at the Youth Remodeling Career Day in Bolton, Massachusetts. The event, that hosted more than 500 students, creates awareness of careers in the residential remodeling industry.
When students came by the C&R Flooring/NWFA booth, they were able to run the buffer or edger with the help of Chris, while NWFA shared information about career opportunities within the industry.
The kids were really excited about using the machines and learning more about wood flooring. Many students brought their teachers back to talk to Chris about summer internships and classroom training.
Woodwork Merit Badge Workshop
NWFA hosted a Woodwork Merit Badge Workshop for St. Louis area Boy Scouts at the NWFA Headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.
More than 30 Boy Scouts joined us to learn about trees, the wood they produce, and how that wood can be used. Students also planned and built their own wooden box to take home. All attendees completed the requirements to earn a Woodwork Merit Badge.
The workshop was a great outlet for us to share valuable industry knowledge with young boy scouts. The kids were really engaged and asked lots of questions. They were very proud of the boxes they got to design and build.
Parents and Troop Leaders were in attendance at this event as well, which allowed us to educate the adults on career opportunities in the industry in order to evolve their perception of a career in the trades and in hopes they will support their child if they choose to pursue a future career in the wood flooring industry.
Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) Best Practices and Innovations Conference
Brett Miller and Stephanie Owen from NWFA and NWFA Board members Kevin Mullany and Mike Welch attended the ACTE conference and facilitated a roundtable with 10 CTE administrators. We have great dialogue about ways wood flooring can be a part of the construction trade education programs and other ways to raise awareness about the wood flooring industry and the NWFA. We talked about ways we can get into CTE programs and schools to raise awareness about the wood flooring industry and the NWFA.
If you are interested in learning more about our initiatives to address the labor shortage or want to participate, please contact Stephanie Owen, Education & Member Engagement Director at Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org.