New sewing class at GTCC aims to revitalize furniture industry

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- In an effort to recruit more employees to fill a skills gap in the furniture industry, Guilford Technical Community College has partnered with several Triad businesses creating a new trade course.

Furniture sewing level 1 launched on Aug. 14 and is held at GTCC’s High Point campus.

Swaim Furniture in High Point is one of those local business partners. Vice President Andy Greene said the idea sparked after Swaim used a grant to give their current employees technology training on campus.

Greene said that the average tenure of many of their employees is 17 years with the company. As the industry moves forward it’s important to be able to find the next generation of skilled workers to continue the craft.

“There’s a labor shortage, its really hard to find good employees,” Greene said.

Greene said while the nightly course is currently focused on sewing, he’s encouraging more trade courses to include woodwork. Topics include machine operation, safety, terminology, adjustments and maintenance, threading, and sewing straight lines, corners, curves and welts.

“We were involved  with looking at the syllabus before they actually started the class and the idea is you’ll train sewers so that when they come out you kind of know what you’re getting,” Greene said.

Swaim Furniture employs 85 people and has representatives nationwide, in Mexico and in Canada. Known as a luxury brand, the residential family-owned furniture company has sold pieces to professional athletes and former presidents.

The following Triad businesses are also involved in the curriculum course and instruction.

  • Swaim Furniture
  • Boss Design
  • Sedgewick
  • High Point Furniture
  • KI
  • Southfield
  • Klaussner
  • Carsons
  • DARRAN
  • Verellen
  • Domenick Design
  • Davis Furniture
  • Woodmark Furniture
  • Lancaster Custom Works
  • Theodore Alexander
  • Jessica Charles
  • Tomlinson
  • Haily Furniture

The class is held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m.

There are nine students currently enrolled in the course.

A class will be offered in the spring. Interested individuals can visit www.gtcc.edu for information.​