CVCC, CVFA receive Distinguished Partners in Excellence honor at awards ceremony

Catawba Valley Community College, the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy and its partners were honored by the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges at its annual awards ceremony this past Thursday night in Raleigh.


Catawba Valley Furniture Academy

The Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award was established in 2006. It officially recognizes an exemplary employer, business or industry group that has demonstrated decisive involvement and firm commitment to the professional development of its employees and/or to the development of North Carolina's workforce through its partnership efforts with one or more of the 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System.

“Partnership defines our community and this recognition represents what real partners can accomplish when they commit to a vision,” said CVCC President Dr. Garrett Hinshaw.

In attendance for the presentation were Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, President of Catawba Valley Community College; Cindy Fulbright, Director of the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy; Bill McBrayer, Human Resource Manager for Lexington Home Brands; Nina Greene of Century Furniture; Paula Daniels of Sherrill Furniture; and Gary Muller, Executive Dean of Economic Development and Corporate Education at Catawba Valley Community College.

"It is an honor for our academy to have been chosen to receive the Distinguished Partnership Award,” said Cindy Fulbright, director of the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy. “Our partners are key to the operation and success of the Academy. They graciously provide us with scholarship funds, supplies, and our talented instructors. These instructors take the time out of their evenings to teach our students the art of upholstery. Thank you to each CVFA industry partner.”

McBrayer believes the Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award says a lot about not only CVCC and the CVFA, but also the quality of educational opportunities offered by community colleges across the state of North Carolina.

“It’s truly amazing how good our community college system is across the state, and for us to rise to the top of Distinguished Partner is quite an honor,” McBrayer said. “The Catawba Valley Furniture Academy has received a lot of accolades and honors since its inception, but this one really speaks volumes because we were competing against 57 other community colleges. This award holds a special place for us.”

The Catawba Valley Furniture Academy was launched in 2014 with the goal of providing industry-driven training through extensive collaboration to prepare students for in-demand, highly skilled jobs. There are more than 3,000 workers in the furniture industry in the Catawba Valley region alone.

Students at the CVFA are trained in a 38,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in one of seven career paths, each resulting in a stackable industry credential. One hundred percent of the students who have completed this program have been hired by local furniture companies.  

“Thanks to the State Board of Community Colleges for the Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award,” said Nina Greene, Human Resources director at Century Furniture. “I appreciate the opportunity to work with CVCC and such a great group of people who care about our industry. This award is a testament to all the hard work poured into creating the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy and the efforts of our competitors pulling together as a team.  Working together provides significant value to Century as well as other furniture manufacturers in our area.”

More than 35 industry partners, including founding partners Century Furniture, LEE Industries, Lexington Home Brands, Sherrill Furniture and Vanguard Furniture, have collaborated with Catawba Valley Community College to create this successful workforce development program.

“We value this partnership and the pathway it creates for individuals aspiring to be craftworkers in our industry,” said Paula Daniels, director of Human Resources for Sherrill Furniture Company. “We know that CVFA's success will have a direct impact on the furniture industry, our growing future workforce and the economy of our community. Sherrill continues to be in a heavy growth pattern, continually hiring craftspeople to staff all our upholstery facilities, especially in Conover, which opened earlier this year.”

Supporting partners for the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy include American Home Furnishings Alliance, Atlantic Packaging, Arhaus, Autoquip Corporation, Bassett Furniture, Bradington-Young, City of Newton, CR Laine, Dimension Wood Products, DUO-Fast, Ethan Allen, Fairfield Chair, Fairgrove Furniture, Gabriella White, Geiger International, Gerber Technology, Harris Handling, Haworth Health Environments, HBF/HNI, HSM Solutions, Hickory Chair, Image Industries, Leggett & Platt, NC Works Career Center Catawba, Precedent, Restoration Hardware, Southern Carlson, Synder Paper, Sutter Street, TCS Designs Inc., Unifour Foundation, Universal Furniture, United Sewing and Wesley Hall, Inc.

For more information on the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy, please contact Cindy Fulbright, CVFA Director, at 828-327-7000, ext. 4778 or email or call the Corporate Development Center at 828-327-7000, ext. 4294.

PHOTO CAPTION: Front row, from left, Nina Greene of Century Furniture, Cindy Fulbright, Director of the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy; and Paula Daniels of Sherrill Furniture. Back row, from left, former N.C. senator Sam Searcy, Bill McBrayer of Lexington Home Brands; CVCC President Dr. Garrett Hinshaw; and Gary Muller; CVCC’s Executive Dean of Economic Development and Corporate Education

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