Dalton—Due to pandemic-related revenue shortfalls and event cancellations, the American Floorcovering Association (AFA) board of directors voted to dissolve the advocacy organization, according to Stephanie Manis, owner of Capital Contract Services and former executive director of AFA. The AFA donated what was left in cash—$135,000—to Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) to support the college’s flooring industry programs.
“AFA’s primary function since 1979 was to market the floorcovering industry and provide services to the industry,” Manis explained. “Upon the dissolution of AFA, we determined that the balance of cash after liquidation would be best used by local colleges to assist in training and recruiting students to help fill the employment gap and provide skilled talent to the industry. I am pleased that GNTC offers many avenues to help enrich the industry, and I feel this contribution will give back to the industry for years to come.”
AFA selected GNTC to receive these funds in recognition of the college’s essential role in workforce development for the floorcovering industry, according to Lauretta Hannon, executive director of the GNTC Foundation. “We are deeply grateful for this generous gift from the American Floorcovering Alliance,” said Dr. Heidi Popham, GNTC president. “This donation will support students who are being trained to be the professionals needed by the flooring industry. It’s a win-win for both GNTC and the industry.”
GNTC added a Flooring Production program in 2019. The Flooring Production Operator and Flooring Production Technician certificate programs have been designed in partnership with the industry to provide a foundation of skills to prepare an individual to begin a successful career in the industry.
The Flooring Production Operator technical certificate is available to students who successfully train in the operation of industrial equipment used in flooring manufacturing. This introductory program gives an overview of the flooring industry and prepares students for employment in a variety of positions within the flooring industry.
The Flooring Production Technician technical certificate is available to students who successfully train in the basic maintenance and set-up of industrial production machinery used in flooring manufacturing. Basic skills provide for opportunities to upgrade or for entry-level employment in the industry.
Earlier this year, a pilot program for technical colleges and other post-secondary institutions to heighten awareness of careers in the flooring installation industry and to recruit more installation craftsmen was launched at GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton. The Flooring Installation Technician Certificate of Credit is a 15-week program that introduces students to the four major types of flooring materials and basic installation skills needed to become a flooring installer or flooring contractor.