The Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) announced that it has been awarded a federal grant to fund installation training programs at several colleges in Alabama over the next three years. This grant represents the FCEF’s inaugural funding success outside of the industry and sets the stage for future grant applications.
Jim Aaron, executive director of FCEF, expressed the importance of this milestone, saying, “This is the first grant we have received. We are actively exploring grant opportunities at both federal and state levels.” While this grant focuses on supporting initiatives in the specified region, it signifies a significant achievement for the foundation.
Kaye Whitener, director of operations of FCEF, elaborated on the grant’s impact, stating, “This grant will provide essential support to multiple colleges in Alabama, enabling them to implement the Basic Floor Covering Installation program. With this funding, we anticipate exciting collaborations with the college systems in this region, as we can now cover the program’s startup costs and offer additional support.”
The award of this inaugural grant not only validates the program developed in collaboration with CFI, CTEF and NWFA as well as the technical college system but also enhances FCEF’s credibility and prospects for securing more grants in the future. However, addressing the substantial challenges facing our industry will require sustained effort and collaboration.
Don Roberts, FCEF champion and former chairman of the board, emphasized the importance of industry-wide support, saying, “While this grant doesn’t solve everything, it’s another significant achievement for the FCEF and our industry. Today, it’s crucial for every business in the flooring industry to step up and support the FCEF now. Donate $100 a month per retail location or commit an annual donation. This industry crisis demands industry solutions, and FCEF is that solution.”
One of FCEF’s key goals is to implement the Basic Floor Covering Installation program in at least 200 colleges within the next five years. Jim Aaron stated, “To raise awareness of career opportunities in the flooring industry, we must succeed in our mission. We’ve made substantial progress, but we need more financial support to continue moving forward.”
Two years ago, FCEF embarked on a mission to introduce a new generation of installers to the industry. Collaborating with industry-certifying organizations, FCEF has made historic strides in addressing the installation crisis. By promoting career pathways in installation through the technical college system, FCEF has demonstrated the viability of such programs by successfully graduating students now working in the flooring industry.
This achievement is a cause for celebration across the floor covering industry. To contribute and support the FCEF’s mission, please visit fcef.org.