Floor Installation Program Created to Get Veterans, Unemployed Back to Work
CFI and Goodwill leading collaborative effort to train much-needed middle-skills workers
Goodwill Industries of Georgia has a mission to put people to work. There is a huge sign at the entry – “When you DONATE and when you SHOP, your actions HELP US put people TO WORK!” What a pleasant surprise to have the opportunity to fully understand the Goodwill organization. Michael Pryor, Director and Quasandria Turner, Special Projects Coordinator, provided a first-hand overview of the impact they have on the lives of people. The facility located in Smyrna, GA is the largest in the nation and a shining example of what can be done when people care.
Michael Pryor said, “While the state’s unemployment rate of 6.3% is a full ten points below where it was in April, The Georgia Department of Labor still reports a need for skilled workers in the state. Through a unique partnership, the International Certified Floor Covering Installers Association (CFI), Chattahoochee Technical College, Goodwill of North Georgia and Spectra, retail commercial sales division of Shaw are working to fill that gap and help area jobseekers find employment.”
CFI, a trade organization devoted to flooring installers, provides educational resources for the industry through a variety of training in areas like inspection, installation, estimating and product knowledge. CFI provides teams of skilled craftsmen to assist when called upon for installation by dealers and manufacturers.
As one of the state’s leading private organizations focused on employment, Goodwill provides job training and employment services to more than 45,000 North Georgians each year. This year, the nonprofit’s goal is to place 16,500 of workers into jobs with employers across the region.
“Because our mission is to put people to work, we make it a priority to understand the employer’s needs and hiring challenges. In fact, we’ve been launching new training programs to help fill our region’s gap for skilled workers over the past few years,” explains Mike Pryor, Goodwill’s director of program development. “The partnership with CFI is a perfect example of how we leverage the knowledge of industry leaders and work together to train jobseekers for skills that businesses are seeking.”
Through the efforts of Bill Richards and many others at Spectra, including Erica Jean Batiste, Wendell Prescott, Darnell Byrd, Lynda Coffey and Brandon West, CFI had the opportunity to bring flooring installation to a group of people who expressed interest in learning the trade. The CFI program followed the initial week of orientation and job readiness training by Goodwill Industries and accident prevention, safety awareness and the OSHA 10-hour certification presented by Spectra. The second week of wood flooring installation and technical training was conducted by Brett Miller, Vice-President of Education and Certification, and the NWFA team of instructors. The NWFA team has conducted classes at the technical college in the past. Sessions of weeks 6-7 included orientation to the jobsite, job readiness, employment prep, mock interviews and job search techniques. NWFA also includes on the job training for the installation of wood flooring, board replacement and recoating/resanding methods.
“We are convinced that the flooring installation training program has the ability to make a definite difference in people’s lives,” commented Bill Richards of Shaw Industries. “The success of this event required a substantial amount of involvement, funds, products and people working together. CFI, Goodwill and each of their partners are to be commended for the work they are doing in educating people and finding jobs for their futures.”
Rex Bishop of The Chattahoochee Technical College in Smyrna, GA coordinated the event and worked closely with the CFI Team and is scheduling the next class for September 2015.
Bob Gillespie, Dave Garden, Lemarta Faulknor, Danny Sherman and Pablo Barbosa conducted the first week of training for the installation of laminate flooring. Lemarta and Pablo represented Shaw’s Technical Installation group. The attendees were introduced to the specifics of the products and requirements for installation, estimating and measuring, hands-on installation projects, problem-solving and substrate preparation. Dennis Gentry of Mapei shared substrate preparation requirements with the group. On the final day of the first week, a business-skills session was conducted by Dave Garden. Bob Gillespie, the lead instructor reviewed the written test with the group.
The second session was led by Ed Braile accompanied by Jonathan Varden and Danny Sherman. The week focused on the installation of commercial carpet and modular tile. The installers worked in modules learning the techniques that are essential to a quality installation. During the third session, the installers learned skills necessary to install the various types of resilient flooring.
The seven-week program held on the campus of Chattahoochee Technical College, combined a mix of floor installation training, business skills training and job readiness. CFI has leveraged its relationships with companies like Spectra/Shaw Industries, Patcraft, Mapei and Traxx to help teach classes and donate supplies and flooring materials.
This program followed many weeks of planning and preparation to include the first CFI program at the college. Goodwill is a leader in preparing people and so far this year, they have located employment nationwide for over 95,575 individuals. Goodwill partners include Bon-Ton, Caterpillar, Charles Schwab Foundation, Dell Reconnect, Ford Foundation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Levi Strauss, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Mood:, Sprint, Summit Group, University of Phoenix, Walmart and WEX.
While the program is open to any interested job seeker, organizers are specifically working to recruit veterans. “Working with veterans we’ve found that many of them have difficult time translating their military training into the civilian workplace. In this program, similar to their military service, we’re teaching veterans a very specific skill, tapping into their ability to work with their hands. Accessing motivation, dependability, and reliability will prepare them for a work outside of a traditional office setting,” says Pryor.
Jane Walker who visited the facility said, “Goodwill is to be highly commended for the work they do to reach people and change lives. Most of us are probably unaware of the influence of the organization. We know we make donations, but do not realize how much the sale of those donations has on the impact of individual lives. One only has to visit the facility to witness firsthand the dedication and the commitment that makes this possible. CFI is honored to become a part of this worthwhile project that is definitely making a difference. Think of this the next time you have a donation to make and know that what you have given goes a long way to improving the life of one individual. Visit www.goodwill.org for more information.”
CFI is focused on training new individuals for the workplace. There are numerous avenues by which this can be accomplished, such as the Goodwill Programs, manufacturer designated programs, high-school and community college programs, specialized individual training through individual retailers or retail organizations, NWFA and in the designated training programs of the CFI Flooring Academy.
The International Certified Flooring Installers Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the training and certification of flooring installers worldwide. The purpose of CFI is to increase the skills and knowledge of individuals who strive to provide the finest customer service available in the flooring installation business. Through the efforts of the members, over 52,000 individuals have participated in the program since 1993. Additional information can be found at www.CFIinstallers.com.
The mission of Goodwill of North Georgia is to put people to work. The nonprofit has provided services in the region for nearly 90 years. In fiscal year 2014, Goodwill of North Georgia provided job training and employment services to 45,540 people and helped 14,652 people start new businesses or find jobs. The organization currently operates 52 stores and more than 65 attended donation centers. Revenues generated from Goodwill’s retail program help fund job training and placement programs. Learn more at www.goodwillng.org.