The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) was looking for a way to engage young professionals in the association, provide additional membership benefits and showcase the unique skills of its membership to a larger audience. It turned to digital credentials.
The NWFA’s developed its Certification Program to recognize and promote the competence and qualifications of wood flooring professionals throughout the industry. NWFA members undergo both written and hands-on testing to earn their certifications, and the newly established NWFA University, enabled some of the training to be delivered through on-demand, online courses.
As Stephanie Owen, NWFA Education Director explains, the digital badges represented new value for its members. “With a dwindling labor supply, we wanted to engage young professionals with digital credentials that would make them marketable. If they are contracted to install flooring, they can literally show potential customers their certification on their mobile device. Since we were transitioning some of our training to the online environment, the digital credentials made sense.”
NWFA also sought to retroactively recognize existing members who were previously certified. “We’ve issued badges based on our records of prior certifications. So far we have issued more than 3000 badges!” says Owen. “We’re now working on connecting the badge image to the search feature available on WoodFloors.Org. For someone who has attended various classes and is certified, they will rise to the top on the search feature.”
Owen and the NWFA introduced their membership to the idea of digital credentials before the first badge was issued, presenting the plan at the 2016 spring NWFA Expo. NWFA leadership noted immediate interest among members and a budding good natured competition. The association prepared a page on their website related to badges and certifications to let members know what to expect.
“It’s new. It’s going to take a little time for members to understand the power of the badge, but already we have had a few share all their badges to LinkedIn and Facebook. When one professional sees what another is doing, we anticipate even more activity. This is an awesome marketing opportunity and a real benefit of association membership.”