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By Thomas Lester, FURNITURE TODAY

We have written previously about domestic manufacturers’ efforts to attract and train a new generation of workers.

To address this challenge, Hickory, N.C.-area upholstery producers, for example, have teamed up with Catawba Valley Community College to create the Catawba Valley Community College Furniture Academy. (See Furniture/Today's story, Domestic upholstery sources challenged to find next generation of workers.)

Established in January 2014, the Academy offers classes that include: furniture fundamentals, pattern making, manual cutting, automated cutting, sewing, an introduction to upholstery, spring up, inside upholstery and outside upholstery. Lori Price, CVCC’s customized training director, said manufacturers provide equipment and instructors for the training program and that there is currently a waiting list for enrollment.

Something similar is going on in Northwest Georgia, which is a hub for rug, carpet and flooring manufacturing.

The Northwest Georgia Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership Consortium received the U.S. Department of Commerce’s designation as a Manufacturing Community in 2014 to grow and support the region’s floor covering manufacturing industries.

Through an initiative called Floor360, the Consortium partners with local governments, flooring manufacturers, colleges and trade schools to support job creation and accelerate manufacturing growth.

These are just two examples of communities taking the initiative to sustain the home furnishings industry into the next generation and beyond. If you know of other communities or industry segments teaming up with learning institutions or local governments to develop worker training programs, email me at tlester@furnituretoday.com.

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