The Floor Covering Education Foundation hosted a ribbon cutting at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton, Georgia, on January 13 to mark the start of the 10-week installer course (see more coverage here).

The pilot program, which began on January 10, 2022, is made possible by the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF), The International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI), National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), and the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF).

The FCEF Basic Flooring Installation program is designed to introduce students to the four major types of flooring materials and basic installation skills needed to succeed as a flooring craftsman. The pilot program is beginning as a non-credit program with eight students receiving scholarships through the FCEF. 

"We are very excited to be on the front end of this initial partnership—it's a workforce need," said Dr. Heidi Popham, president, Georgia Northwestern Technical College. "The curriculum is already developed and the standards are there. One of our sister colleges can pick it up." 

The Technical College System of Georgia serves nine counties in Georgia through 22 technical colleges. 

The program is on track to become a credit program for the fall 2022, which will make students eligible for financial aid. At that time, students who are Georgia residents would also be eligible for the Hope Scholarship, which would pay the majority of their tuition. Currently, Popham said the Hope Scholarship covers $72 of every $100 credit hour of tution, and the Georgia legislature is currently working on new bills to increase that to $90 per credit hour. The Basic Flooring Installation program is designed for 15 credit hours, and would cost students $1,500 tuition plus $331 in college fees. 

"It's beneficial to the students to be able to receive the financial aid so it's not out of pocket for the student or for the foundation," Popham noted.

"What's happening here at the technical college is the first that is replicable—it's something that can be done nationwide," said Jim Aaron, FCEF executive director. "As soon as the success of this class is communicated, we have an opportunity to immediately make a difference nationwide. We've already had people reach out to us."

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