HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Furniture Foundation, a research and education fund administered by the American Home Furnishings Alliance, announced it has awarded grants totaling nearly $75,000 to educational programs targeting rising furniture designers, factory workers and front-line manufacturing management personnel.

The 2017 grants included $9,000 to Appalachian State University furniture design program; two grants totaling $20,500 to the Catawba Valley Community College campus in Taylorsville, N.C., and $44,900 to Mississippi State University’s Franklin Furniture Institute.

The Appalachian State grant will continue the school’s scholarship program for furniture design students, funding three $3,000 scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year.

The two Catawba Valley Community College grants support the new CVCC Alexander County Furniture Academy.

One Catawba grant, in the amount of $15,000, will provide 60 scholarships. The other grant, at $5,500, will go toward purchasing a new industrial sewing machine.

The Alexander Furniture Academy is modeled after the highly successful CVCC Furniture Academy launched at the school’s main campus in Hickory, N.C., in 2015. Designed by local furniture manufacturers, the training programs will prepare students for upholstering positions that are in high demand by the region’s largest employers.

A Furniture Foundation grant last year provided scholarships for the first 30 students in the Alexander County program.

The Mississippi State University grant will allow the Franklin Furniture Institute to offer four manufacturing management programs. Each will provide front-line supervisors in the furniture industry with basic training in the areas of modern manufacturing, leadership and management.

The course will be offered to up to 15 individuals in four different locations between August 2017 and July 2018. The training is presented at a manufacturing facility – rather than at the Franklin Institute – so that actual manufacturing issues can be addressed during study. Results of previously delivered programs include a stronger supervisory team with improved leadership skills.

The Foundation was established in 1948 to support research and educational initiatives aimed at improving management, manufacturing and marketing within the home furnishings industry. Since 1990, the Foundation has distributed more than $3.5 million in scholarships and grants.

Grant proposals are accepted in March each year. The Foundation board reviews the proposals and makes funding decisions in April.