After spending his entire career on the installation side of the flooring business, Robert Varden came to a conclusion that no one had yet advanced: “The installation crisis is bigger than one company or non-profit. We need a stronger, united voice.” And so, Varden formed the International Floor Covering Training Alliance (IFCTA) non-profit with his own funding and vision. “I call it “Unite” because that’s what we do.

Unite doesn’t ask any training or scholarship company to give up its autonomy. On the contrary explains Varden, we celebrate it. “Each has a specialty or mission, from training wood installation or tile installation, or scholarships for deserving students. What we will do at Unite is stimulate the collaboration, build bridges of cooperation, and outreach to high school seniors with one voice about the potential and rewards of pursuing a career as a trained, qualified professional flooring installer.”

Unite will also engage with manufacturers, partnering with them to pursue the use of trained professionals, with either warranties or extended warranties. “Our goal is to have warranties and specifications where certified installers are written into the coverage as a requirement.”

Unite will announce its Board of Directors soon and will begin meeting with each training entity to begin collaboration.

“Together with our partners, we will be stronger in recruiting, training and launching the next generation of floor covering installers,” observed Varden. “We are excited about the future of our industry.”