The Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF)’s 15-member board of directors convened last week in Stone Mountain, Georgia, to discuss the progress of the foundation and ways to address the challenges that lie ahead. Since the last board meeting in November, FCEF says it has achieved some significant milestones in combatting the shortage of flooring installation craftsmen, but FCEF leadership warns, “the road will not be short, or easy.”
At the beginning of the year, FCEF piloted a Basic Flooring Installation program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC). The 10-week program covered all major flooring types and taught students through hands-on learning. The second session of the program is now underway and GNTC will offer a new, 15-week accredited version of the program in the fall. In addition to the program at GNTC, nearby Atlanta Technical College (ATC) will also offer flooring instruction starting this fall. The ATC program will be embedded in the construction program offering students exposure to flooring installation along with other construction disciplines.
“We now have programs active or approved in three states – Georgia, Oklahoma, and Utah – and we have nine states with program development in process,” shared Jim Aaron, executive director of FCEF. “We’re overwhelmed by the interest in this program. Representation of flooring installation in technical colleges is long overdue and we’re proud to say we’re finally getting our seat the table when it comes to technical colleges.”
Special guest, Edith Baker, owner of Native Business Strategies, shared with the FCEF board the progress being made with Native American Tribes. Baker is a consultant that helps connect organizations with tribes and navigate the cultural and political aspects of bringing a program to Tribal Nations.
“Native American communities have been on the list of great opportunities for FCEF. Edith has helped us make more connections and opened up more opportunities than we’ve been able to without her knowledge,” shared Kaye Whitener, director of operations for FCEF. “For the first time, we’ve got some real movement with Native American communities.”
This week, FCEF will head to Austin, Texas, for the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) for their annual convention. This event draws thousands of school counselors who are exploring opportunities for their students. FCEF will be exhibiting alongside military representatives, other large trade groups, and some of the nation’s largest educational organizations.
FCEF is also launching a new recruit-facing website flooryourfuture.com. This site focuses on the career path, detailed information about the flooring craftsman career and how to access training opportunities.
The FCEF team shared how they will be helping to activate supporters on the local level with a digital awareness kit available to any donor who commits to a $100 per month donation and a job/career fair kit available for a $500 donation.