Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
It is difficult to go a day without hearing of the skilled trade shortage that we are suffering within the construction industry. The issue is by no means new, but has been brought to the forefront by voices like Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" and John Ratzenberger.
These independent voices coupled with prominent companies stepping forward to combat these problems, such as Home Depot and Lowes, gives me hope that we've recognized the need for course correction and we're acting on it.
An industry that is near and dear to me - floorcovering - stepped forward last week to announce their part in addressing the skilled trades shortage with their "We are Part of the Solution" initiative. Kudos to the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) for fighting this fight. We're only in the early rounds of this 12 round battle if you ask me, but we need more industry associations to drop personal (and political) interests and instead draw industries, businesses and groups together to tackle these matters. We're not going to resolve this overnight, but we will get to the later rounds of the fight, as we all need to be a part of the solution.
Please read on for the official WFCA announcement...
World Floor Covering Association Spearheads Industry-Wide United Front to Address the Labor Shortage Through its “We are Part of the Solution” Initiative
December 12, 2019 – Chattanooga, Tn. At a press conference earlier today, the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) announced the first ever industry-wide initiative, “We are Part of the Solution,” to impact the most pressing matter facing our industry - the installation crisis. The World Floor Covering Association has committed an initial seed-funding donation of $1.0M and challenges industry leaders to join with the WFCA in solving the labor shortage. This breakthrough collaborative effort will include two distinct initiatives that will serve to broaden industry support and participation. As an initial step, the WFCA has spearheaded the formation
of the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF), an organization dedicated to recruiting and training individuals in preparation for a career in the flooring industry. In another unprecedented move, to be truly inclusive of all industry partners, the WFCA has made its membership FREE to all independent floorcovering dealers.
FCEF exists to lead a collaborative network of industry and educational partners aligned to support student development, training, certification, and transition into the flooring industry workforce, but its initial focus will be on solving the installation crisis at the root level of the problem – student recruitment and education. According to the FCLC (Floor Covering Leadership Council) study, the industry will need to recruit and educate roughly 6 thousand new installers annually for the next 10 years to replace attrition in the workforce, or the crisis will deepen.
“Our industry recognizes the serious need to solve the skilled labor shortage, and we want to do our part to lead with innovative solutions,” said Scott Humphrey, president and chief executive officer of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). The campaign aims to inspire action and is seeking initial and continuing financial support from manufacturers, distributors, groups, dealers, private donors, government grants, suppliers, media and other industry trade associations that will drive collective action to bring awareness to the opportunities that exist in the flooring industry. The funds will be used for awarding student educational scholarships, development of awareness campaigns, student recruitment, and to run the day-to-day operations of the foundation.
The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), the official sponsor of The International Surface Event (TISE), is the floor covering industry's largest advocacy organization, representing floor covering retailers, contractors and allied service providers throughout North America. The WFCA is a recognized leader in marketing research and industry programs for flooring professionals. In addition, WFCA publishes the only retailer-oriented trade periodical, Premier Flooring Retailer. As part of its mission to enhance the business environment for the
independent flooring retailer the WFCA acquired the Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) in an effort to resolve the industry’s largest issue – the shortage of qualified installers. The WFCA oversees the Floor Covering Business to Business (fcB2B) program, helping companies in the industry transition to an e-commerce platform for all business transactions. The WFCA also influences public policy affecting the floor covering industry and consumers. For more information about the WFCA, visit WFCA.org.
You may view the original press release from the WFCA here.
You may watch the WFCA press conference below.
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