NKBA Establishes New Foundation

NKBA Establishes New Foundation

Hackettstown, NJ In an effort to expand the base of qualified employees for the ever-expanding kitchen and bath industry, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) is in the process of setting the educational agenda for its new non-profit foundation. The Center for Kitchen and Bath Education and Research (CKBER) which got the approval to move forward with its non-profit status and its finite formation earlier this year is specifically geared toward addressing the growing need for more trained professionals in this industry by providing a variety of workforce development programs.

"Research has shown that while the kitchen and bath market continues to expand, there is a distinct lack of a trained workforce prepared to service this growing market. Our goal is to create a variety of educational programs to help increase the professional competence of those interested in, or currently working in, the kitchen and bath industry," say CKBER officials.

Indeed, "Its primary goal is to help bring professional talent into a growing industry," adds Larry Spangler, the new CEO of the NKBA. "It will be providing scholarships to bring people into our educational system and our endorsed NKBA programs for kitchen and bath [design]. But at the same time, it will provide an overall vehicle for scholarships to bring people into our industry."

With some funds already raised, the main focus now, says Spangler is to reach out to "industry players" to form a separate board of trustees, which along with NKBA's Bill Schankel, who was named the assistant director of industry relations will oversee and shape the new foundation's agenda.

Spangler says that process, along with the process of creating a strategic marketing plan to get the word to the industry, should take approximately four to five months. The official launch, he says, will be at next year's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Orlando, set for April 11 to 13.

Once launched, some of the programs the CKBER will implement include:

  • Establishing high school kitchen and bath career and mentoring programs in each region of the country.
  • Expanding existing college scholarships for students taking part in an accredited kitchen and bath curriculum.
  • Creating continuing education professional development grants.
  • Partnering with institutions offering continuing education programs in order to devise new professional development courses.
  • Monitoring and measuring industry awareness of professional opportunities within the kitchen and bath industry.
  • Developing and implementing an educational satisfaction survey.