Fall is almost here, and for many children across the U.S. that means it’s time to head back to school. But for Fineas Luca, the 11-year-old son of NWFA member Dinu Luca, owner of ADL Floors Inc. in Woodinville, Washington, the concept of furthering his education took a much different path than most his age.
Fineas is the youngest person to successfully complete all of the NWFA University (NWFAU) online courses in the Installation learning path and the Sand & Finish learning path. To accomplish this, he took 72 required courses and passed each of the assessments, scoring 80 percent or higher for each. Fineas committed to doing one lesson per day in addition to his homeschooling.
When asked about his experience with the NWFAU, Fineas shared, “I really liked learning about the different species of wood. The subfloors section was probably the hardest.” He also shared that he plans to finish the Sales Certification track and looks forward to attending some hands-on training classes someday.
Fineas was named the first recipient of the NWFA Next Generation award at the Wood Flooring Expo held earlier this year in Fort Worth, Texas. The award was created to recognize the growing impact young people are having on the wood flooring industry. The award was presented to recognize Fineas’s accomplishment and to encourage him and others to remain engaged with lifelong learning.
“Almost three years ago now, the NWFA launched the NWFAU to reach more wood flooring professionals with training opportunities when and where they want it,” says NWFA President and CEO Michael Martin. “Our vision at the time was to offer a new, cost-effective, convenient way to provide training basics without the burden or cost of travel. Our hope at the time was to engage with younger generations in ways they already embraced – digitally. Never in our wildest dreams did we image we’d have an impact on an 11-year-old protégé.”
As it turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as his father places a heavy emphasis on the importance of training. When Dinu first emigrated to the U.S. from Romania in 1999, he started his career by working for a wood flooring company before deciding to branch out on his own with ADL. It was during that time that Dinu first experienced NWFA training, by taking an installation class with Jon Namba. After that, he was hooked, and quickly became a member of the NWFA and continued with his training.
Today, Dinu is a Certified Installer and Sand & Finisher. He earned the original Craftsman degree, and he is working toward becoming a Certified Master Craftsman. He also strongly encourages his entire team to participate in training to continue to advance their skills.
About the NWFAU
Offering more than 175 courses, webinars, and videos the NWFAU complements hands-on training to provide a convenient and affordable training alternative. With the NWFAU, members can complete training at their own pace and on own their terms. The online courses can also be used to enhance the training received when attending a hands-on NWFA class.
One thing that differentiates the NWFAU from typical online learning platforms is the incorporation of digital badges. A digital badge is a graphic representation of a learned skill, but the NWFA takes them a step further by embedding its digital badges with metadata that verifies the recipient’s proficiency with a specific skill or area of expertise. This metadata includes information about the NWFA as the third-party issuer of the badge, the date the badge was earned, and the specific skill or knowledge that was exhibited, and confirmed through testing, for the individual to earn the badge. Also, these badges become part of a lifelong digital resume, which makes them especially convenient for attracting customers.
The NWFAU pushes the industry limits and encourages professionals to grow their knowledge and skill set to set themselves apart from their competition. The NWFAU is a resource to engage with other professionals, take part in meaningful education, and turn a job into a career.
To learn more about the NWFA University, visit nwfa.org/nwfa-university.aspx.