Every week, I get calls from FCI readers looking for information on installation training for themselves or for their employees. It's always informative talking to them, as it gives me a chance to find out what's on the minds of those of you out there in the trenches. Time and again, I hear the same problem: there is a serious shortage of qualified, properly trained installers. The ongoing housing boom this country is experiencing has created a surplus of installation work to be done, both in new construction and remodeling, but the pool of qualified installers has failed to grow accordingly to keep pace with demand. Many installation operations have resorted to using day laborers and other untrained personnel to keep up with demand. However, this approach inevitably leads to installation failures as a result of improper techniques and failure to follow manufacturer's instructions. What can be done to address this growing problem?

One key solution is greater involvement among installers in regional and national floor covering installation organizations. There are several notable organizations whose primary purpose is to help installers increase their knowledge and skills. One organization that has been at the forefront of installer education is CFI, the Certified Floorcovering Installers. Many of you are likely familiar with CFI, but those who are not owe it to themselves to find out more about this important organization. Information regarding membership, as well as a variety of instructional materials, is available on their website, www.cfi-installers.org. Their annual convention, which takes place August 11-13 in St. Louis, is a great way to sharpen your installation skills, view the some of the latest installation products, and network with some of the best installers in the industry. Another organization that offers top-notch training in all areas of floor covering installation is the World Floor Covering Association. They offer beginner through intermediate courses at locations across the nation, as well as on-line training. A complete schedule of courses and training information can be found on their website, www.wfca.org. These are only a few of the organizations that offer installation training; for a comprehensive list, see the Installation Training Clinics and Schools section in this issue of FCI, which is also available on our website, www.fcimag.com. For experienced installers, organizations such as CFI offer a great opportunity to give something back to your trade by helping to train others in the trade. Either way, by getting training or helping train others, you can be part of the solution to this growing problem.