FGIA Seeks Ways to Ease Members’ Burdens Resulting from COVID-19
Now that the holiday season has arrived, things are winding down for 2020. But what is not taking a break is FGIA’s commitment to our industry, more important now than ever with the unexpected changes brought by COVID-19. Last month, FGIA sent a survey to members to ask how companies have fared this year, and what FGIA can do to continue to ease their burdens. Three things were frequently requested by membership: education opportunities; a return to in-person conferences; and ways to combat the labor shortage. FGIA is working hard to find ways to address these critical needs.
FGIA’s monthly webinar program came up a lot in survey results, with requests from members to offer more trainings and continue that program – which is already conveniently available online. Many mentioned a need for education opportunities as well as additional trainings specific to insulating glass. There were also expressions of appreciation for website resources such as the global COVID-19 lockdown tracker available on the FGIA COVID-19 Resources web page.
The FGIA education team has already done some pivoting of programs to make them available online, such as InstallationMasters® training for instructors and installers, and the team released the full FenestrationMasters® v2.0 online curriculum and exam earlier this year. Work is also underway to release an online series of video modules based on the hugely-popular in-person IG Fabricators Workshop.
While folks praised the programming presented at FGIA’s two virtual conferences this year, particularly the focus on technical content, many cited an eagerness to return to in-person conferences. Networking opportunities were harder to come by in 2020. FGIA staff feels similarly about hoping to see members in person in 2021, although we know the 2021 Annual Conference in February will be a virtual event, registration for which will open in mid-January.
Another request expressed by members was help with recruiting and retaining quality employees, as the shortage of skilled labor continues to be a significant challenge. Although this particular challenge pre-dates the pandemic, it has not lessened and threatens to hamper recovery for industry companies. The labor shortage is certainly a tough nut to crack, especially relative to manufacturing plant workers, but FGIA will be strategizing opportunities to better support member needs in this area in the future.
Although the window during which to respond to the member survey has closed, FGIA still welcomes feedback. Feel free to share ideas in the comments below!