Those interested in becoming a flooring installer are now eligible for scholarships to cover the full cost of tuition for installation training up to $2,500 through the Floor Covering Education Foundation’s (FCEF) new promotion “100 in 100.” The promotion covers 100 individuals in 100 days and kicks off December 1, 2023, and runs through March 10, 2024.
To be eligible for the scholarship, individuals must be new to the industry or have worked as an installation helper for less than a year. Ultimately, the goal is to offer retailers and contractors the opportunity to help secure their installer base, said Scott Humphrey, CEO, World Floor Covering Association and FCEF board member.
As with all scholarships awarded by FCEF, this applies to tuition for beginning and intermediate classes from FCEF-approved training partners, including Certified Flooring Installers (CFI), National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), and Advanced Flooring Technologies (AFT).
It is worth noting that this opportunity is separate from the college programs the FCEF is currently funding.
Traditionally, FCEF scholarships have covered 50% of the tuition cost for training courses. However, during this promotional period, FCEF will provide scholarships for the entire tuition fee up to $2,500. According to Jim Aaron, Executive Director of FCEF, “These 100 days will tell us if the responsibility to cover the other 50% of the cost of introductory training is an impediment to entering our industry."
The promotion is in essence a litmus test to help identify whether finance is indeed a barrier. If this proves that finance is not a barrier to people entering flooring installation, then the FCEF will know that they are on par with their current scholarship offerings. If finance does prove to be a barrier, then the focus will have to shift from a funding standpoint, according to Humphrey.
The other barrier is that of travel. So, with that in mind, the FCEF has created a Best Practices Guide to assist retailers in bringing approved training partner programs to their local communities. This guide was created following the insights gained from assisting DeGraff Interiors in hosting and sponsoring a 5-week carpet training with CFI in the summer of 2023.
"This promotion is limited to 100 individuals over 100 days, so I encourage everyone to think about who they can send to training now," said Kaye Whitener, director of operations for FCEF. "Of course, all the other requirements of our scholarship awards still apply with this promotion. Those include having no felony charges, being new to the industry, having the desire to pursue a career in flooring installation, living in the US or Canada, and being able to participate in an English-speaking program."
Retailers or retailer groups interested in implementing effective local recruitment and training plans are encouraged to reach out to FCEF promptly, as the 100 scholarship slots are expected to fill up quickly.
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