ANAHEIM, Ca.-- May 21, 2001 -- Consumers as well as industry professionals will soon be able to note the degree of proficiency of their local floor covering retailer thanks to a new program approved by the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA).

Directors of the largest floor covering industry association voted at their meeting in Toronto, May 19, 2001, to implement a far-reaching and comprehensive certification and designation program for retailers that encompasses three distinct certification levels: Certified Flooring Executive (CFE), designed for business owners and managers; Certified Flooring Professional (CFP), for administrative and operations people; and Certified Flooring Salesperson (CFS) for floor covering industry salespeople.

“The establishment of this program was our number one priority,” said WFCA President Victoria Green. “We believe this comprehensive educational effort will provide opportunities for those who participate to prosper in an ever-changing environment and it is the kind of investment that will generate the most effective return for the industry.”

She noted the program has been in development for a year.

The program will be kicked off at the WFCA Annual Education Conference in Reno, Nev., Oct. 26-27, 2001, with a curriculum specifically geared for owners and managers. There will be a one-time opportunity for individuals with significant industry experience to earn their designation by attending this conference, and taking the exam. Those seeking to earn the designation at this meeting must complete a personal profile that will be given extra significance with documented previous business and educational experience.

To encourage participation, the WFCA will extend its trade scholarship program to apply to this conference. The trade scholarship program is available for all WFCA regular members up to $1,000 per firm ($500 per individual) on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are expended.

In order to earn the designations, candidates must have a minimum of three years professional experience in the floor covering business, successfully complete at least 50 hours for CFE, and 30 hours for CFP and CFS of documented continuing education. Also required is attendance at a WFCA Regional Forum or Annual Educational Conference, completion of the Certification Application Package, and the successful completion of a comprehensive examination.

The CFE, CFP and CFS designations were created to enhance the professional qualifications of company owners, managers, salespeople, operations and other professionals in the floor covering industry. Certification is a career-building credential for the individuals who achieve it, a competitive advantage for their employees, and a benefit for the entire industry through higher performance standards. The program is rigorous and a comprehensive exam must be passed to achieve the designations.

“Professional certification programs are a way of assuring the highest possible levels of training, competency and performance,” according to WFCA Education Committee Chairman Tom Jennings. “It is a way of acknowledging individuals who have demonstrated high professional standards throughout their careers, and demonstrates the entire industry’s commitment to professional excellence.”

“The Floor Covering industry faces a challenging future marked by rapid change, increased technological complexity and aggressive worldwide competition,” Green noted. “These challenges demand increased training and greater professional competence at all levels, and the WFCA Certification Program is part of the solution.”