American Floorcovering Alliance donates $135,000 to Georgia Northwestern Technical College programs

In an effort to maintain skilled professionals in the flooring industry, the American Floorcovering Alliance Inc. donated the last of its assets, $135,000, to Georgia Northwestern Technical College before the advocacy group disbanded.

Following the decision to end the American Floorcovering Alliance due to cutbacks and changes to its trade show known as FloorTek Expo, the group was left with a large cash balance. Stephanie Manis, the former executive director of the American Floorcovering Alliance, said it made more sense to put it in the industry’s educational efforts.

“AFA’s primary function since 1979 has been to market the flooring industry and provide services to the industry,” Manis said in a press release. “Upon the dissolution of the AFA, we determined that the cash balance after liquidation would be better used by local colleges to assist in the training and recruitment of students to fill the employment gap and provide qualified talents to the industry.”

The AFA is a nonprofit flooring industry advocate that dates back to 1979 as the group that organized the industry’s first Trade Show (CMMA), held in Dalton. In the 1990s, the focus was on showcasing flooring equipment manufacturers and helping members market their products overseas.

During this time the organization became a 501(c)(3), and later in 2002 it became the American Floorcovering Alliance. The following year, its manufacturing show was called FloorTek Expo.

“We’re proud to be an industry pioneer and showcase for 43 years and have helped put Dalton, Georgia on the map as the flooring capital of the world,” said Manis.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College was selected as the recipient for its programs that help prepare students for jobs in the flooring industry, according to Lauretta Hannon, executive director of the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Foundation.

“This donation will support students who are being trained to become the professionals the flooring industry needs. It’s a win-win situation for GNTC and the industry,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College President , Heidi Popham, in a statement from the college.

The college launched a flooring production program in 2019 that offers production operator and technician certificates to students who want to enter the field. In early 2022, Georgia Northwestern Technical College also launched a pilot program to help other technical colleges and post-secondary institutions raise awareness of careers in the flooring installation industry and help recruitment in the field.

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