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 association has committed an initial seed-funding donation of $1M 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 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 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.