As we approach the start of a new year, I reflect with pride on the FCEF’s remarkable achievements and milestones attained throughout this year, on behalf of the floor covering industry.
- The inaugural Accredited Basic Floor Covering Installation Program marked a significant milestone as GNTC proudly graduated its first Fl41 Flooring Technician class, with each student earning 12 college credits.
- Atlanta Technical College incorporated the college program into its two-year carpentry program, engaging 32 students from Atlanta in the flooring program in 2023.
- Noteworthy, industry-recognized credentials from CFI for carpet and resilient, as well as NWFA for hardwood, were successfully created and offered to graduate students.
- Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa, accomplished a historic feat by graduating from the industry’s first Department of Labor Apprentices through the Fl41 Flooring Technician program.
- A groundbreaking twin-track approach was devised to facilitate local training, exemplified by the successful graduation of students at DeGraaf Interiors and the creation of a replicable program for other retailers.
- The first Federal Grant was secured by FCEF, marking a momentous achievement as our first federal grant awarded for specific colleges in North Alabama for a three-year period.
- Seven advisory meetings were orchestrated between local flooring professionals and colleges expressing interest in integrating the flooring program.
- Completing 2023 with five college programs running the basic floor covering installation program in three states.
- Rounding out the end of the year with a pioneering dual enrollment program for high school students to participate in the college program was approved, with Dalton Academy high school students set to partake in the dual enrollment program at GNTC in January 2024.
By Dec. 1, 2023, FCEF had awarded 240 scholarships amounting to $273,918.50, fostering the growth and development of aspiring talents.
As we conclude this extraordinary year, the anticipation for another year of firsts in the floor covering industry is high. In 2024, we have received commitments to initiate the college programs in 10-14 additional colleges across nine states. Our plans are to expand the dual enrollment opportunities for high school programs nationwide, continue collaboration with the Department of Defense on military training programs, supporting local training initiatives by flooring retailers and inspiring a new generation of talent to join our industry.
Your support empowers FCEF to offer full tuition scholarships to college students and provide 50% tuition coverage scholarships to industry training providers. Ensuring that quality training is accessible, affordable and attractive will enable us to attract the next generation of talented individuals to our industry.
In 2024, we aim to seize every opportunity that comes our way.