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Industry & Trends

Lumber Liquidators, Now LL Flooring, Underwrites Industry Apprenticeships

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September 24, 2021 | Bill Esler

Richmond, VA—LL Flooring, formerly Lumber Liquidators, (NYSE:LL), will partner with the National Flooring Contractors Apprenticeship Program.

With 420 stores, LL Flooring is the largest U.S. dealer of wood and hard surface flooring. With scores of wood flooring installation contractors in its network, LL Flooring is the first national retailer to partner with the flooring apprenticeship program. It will help connect flooring apprentices across the country with contractors who will mentor the next generation of professional installers.

LL Flooring also will donate products, providing access to its website and marketing channels, advise on curriculum, and provide direct financial support to grow the program. Flooring contractors project a need to replace 200,000 installation professionals who will be retiring over the next few years. Their replacements must be trained in the processes of installation and finish carpentry for solid wood and engineered panel flooring.

The move corresponds to industry-wide efforts in woodworking to attract the next generation of professionals to discovered careers in wood products manufacturing and installation. On October 1, the International Woodworking Fair will launch IWF Woodworking Manufacturing Month, a celebration of North American woodworking.

Damien McGaugh, senior VP of sales at LL Flooring, says the company is eager to dedicate resources to help build and train a new generation of high-quality installers and contractors who take pride in their craftsmanship.

“Installation services represent a core value we provide our customers, and we are excited to support future-facing programs like the National Flooring Contractors Apprenticeship Program that are attracting and educating a new pool of installation talent,” says McGaugh. “We have a broad LL network of professional installers and contractors who understand the importance of taking pride in quality craftsmanship, which we’re eager to foster in this upcoming generation.”

National Flooring Contractors Apprenticeship Program is working with the Department of Labor and the National Job Corps to connect with vocational schools and training programs across the country, the goal being to reach interested young tradespeople and link them with an LL Flooring contractor to get them on the track to certification. Currently the National Flooring Contractors Apprenticeship Program has apprenticeships underway in California; is fully approved in Texas; and on track for approval in Florida, Illinois, and Nevada.

According to NFCAP founder Carlos Mongalo—a second-generation flooring installer himself—the industry will benefit from more consistent quality workmanship, which can be most effectively taught through apprenticeships. With a network of highly skilled contractors, he’s eager for the opportunity to reexamine the training process and build the next generation of skilled installers.

“Working with a company like LL Flooring is a huge boost for our program, and we’re excited to see the networks of potential participating contractors building quickly across the country,” says Mongalo. “In addition to working toward their certifications, these apprentices have the opportunity to learn vital entrepreneurial skills from experienced pro contractors and installers. With support from LL Flooring and the Job Corps, we’re excited to be laying the groundwork for the upcoming generation of pro installers.”

The National Flooring Contractor Apprenticeship Program is a nonprofit organization aimed at developing highly skilled flooring installers. The goal is to simultaneously enrich the lives of young adults by giving them access to well-paying jobs while helping the flooring industry source the skilled labor that is vitally needed in the current market. To help solve the issues posed by the impending shortage of installers and contractors, NFCAP is working with corporations and federal programs to recruit and train a new workforce across the country.

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