The Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) is full steam ahead on its mission to train the next generation of flooring installers. The first round of students completed the FCEF’s Basic Floor Covering Installation program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) in Dalton, Georgia. Eight students got the opportunity to work hands on with every flooring type during the 10-week course.

On the heels of that milestone, FCEF also announced that its 10-week non-credited Basic Floor Covering Installation program at GNTC has been approved for accreditation. The course will expand to a 15-week program, starting in Fall 2022 at GNTC.

“The intent from day one was to apply to be an accredited, stand-alone technical college program,” said Kaye Whitener, director of operations, FCEF. “This allows us the opportunity to implement the program nationwide.”

In order to launch the program by January 2022, the process required FCEF and GNTC to offer the class as a non-credit course. However, on August 15, students attending GNTC will be able to sign up for the course, Flooring Installation Technician, and receive 12 credit hours. Students can now apply for financial aid assistance as well.

According to Dr. Heidi Popham, president, GNTC, the technical college is one of 22 colleges across the state of Georgia. “Our mission is workforce development as a system and as a college,” she said. “Once we develop the program, it's now a state standard. So, whether [the students] go to GNTC or Atlanta Tech or one of our other technical colleges, if they choose to pick up and offer that program, we have this curriculum that is being taught across the state.”

Dave Garden, CFI master installer II and course instructor, walked the students through floor prep and installing resilient, carpet and tile flooring over the 10-week period. He says of his students, “These kids were willing to learn. I really enjoyed getting to know them and sharing what we do.” He will return to teach the students for the spring semester, starting May 16.

“As we move forward, we plan to implement this program in as many places as we can, but one of the things that will be the deciding factor in whether or not the program is successful is the local representation,” Whitener said. “We have to have the support from the industry, going forward. Not only to help with the materials the program requires for training, but also for the job placements.” 

“At the end of the day, the thing that I'm most excited about is that the industry came together to make this happen,” said Don Roberts, chairman, FCEF. “We've been trying to get to this point for some time, trying to get people together, trying to get everybody on the same page. Everybody has stepped up, and I hope that continues. This is just the beginning.”

For more information, visit fcef.org.