The Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) recently attended the America School Counselor Association (ASCA) Annual Convention in Austin, TX. For the first time, the flooring industry was represented at the largest event for school counselors boasting an attendance of over 4,000 counselors and counseling professionals.
“Awareness is a big problem for the flooring industry – even bigger than we initially thought,” shared Jim Aaron, Executive Director of FCEF. “We’ve got to make sure that young people are aware of our industry and the flooring craftsman career path. Talking to the people that guide young people as they make decisions about their future, well, that’s a huge, positive step.”
The FCEF team spent three days speaking with attendees of the event. Their message – flooring craftsmen careers are in high demand and offer a great career path for individuals who like to work with their hands, be creative and feel the satisfaction of building something beautiful and functional. In addition to Aaron, Direction of Operations – Kaye Whitener and FCEF Administrative Assistant Tiffany Ketchem, board member Bill Blackstock, CEO of the Resilient Flooring Institute, and Dave Garden, CFI trainer and current instructor for the technical school pilot program attended to help spread awareness.
“I was inspired by the thousands of counselors at the event and the reception of the FCEF message regarding opportunities in our industry,” shared Blackstock. “There was a hunger to learn, and FCEF delivered its vision in an amazing way. Additionally, it’s just a matter of time before a student can take advantage of the scholarships and programs FCEF has to offer. Statistics show that the demand for talent is growing at a rapid rate. Seeing the host of organizations at the meeting sharing their value propositions with these counselors was evidence of this. The FCEF leadership team continues to be very innovative in getting our industry’s compelling message to key entities who can impact the future. Additionally, the FCEF team is building bridges of infrastructure that can support entry. So proud of them and excited by their work!”
“I’m so glad I could be a part of this event,” shared Garden. “My work with the technical school pilot program has been so rewarding and I’m excited to see awareness spreading.”
FCEF came to the event with customized brochures speaking to counselors as well as student-facing handouts that show a simple representation of the flooring craftsman’s career path.
“We want to show that this is not just a job, this is a career where you are constantly learning and growing,” shared Whitener. “Flooring craftsmen have many opportunities down the road for other roles within the flooring industry. There are so many possibilities, and it all starts with learning the craft.”
For those that want to assist in spreading awareness, FCEF has recently launched a digital awareness kit available to any donors committing $100 or more a month. The kit includes videos, social media content, flyers, emails, and more to make it easy for local retailers, suppliers, and distributors to spread the message within their networks. To learn more, visit fcef.org. To explore information about craftsman careers, training programs, and scholarships, please visit flooryourfuture.com.