The Advancement Foundation, Rowe Furniture seek trainees

VINTON–In April, The Advancement Foundation, Rowe Furniture, and the Town of Vinton formed a partnership to provide workforce training in sewing and upholstery skills.

The Town of Vinton had space available on the second floor of the Vinton Health Department Building. The Advancement Foundation had the trainees anxious to learn marketable skills. Rowe Furniture contributed the industrial sewing equipment and an instructor to teach the program.

The first session began on April 17. Since then two classes of trainees have completed the program, six students in all. Two graduates of the program have become full-time employees at the Rowe Furniture plant in Elliston. Three more are currently in the interview process.

The Advancement Foundation (TAF) is now seeking trainees for their third session. Classes are held at the Vinton Health Department Building on Pollard Street in downtown Vinton on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. This session will last eight weeks with the guarantee of a position at Rowe upon successful completion of the program.

Trainees do not need to have previous experience in sewing, just a desire to learn a skill and to become employed. One goal of The Advancement Foundation is to provide services to individuals in the area who are living in poverty by helping them to learn both technical skills and employability skills.

Christina Anger is the coordinator of the program for TAF. She is an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, who came to the Roanoke area after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2011. She will complete her year of service in November, but the Rowe program will continue on.

The Advancement Foundation (TAF) and Rowe Furniture are accepting applicants for the third session of their training program which teaches trainees commercial sewing and upholstery skills. Christina Anger (on right) is the coordinator for the program. Stephanie Byng (left) works in technical support for TAF.












Marie Farley, who trains all the new sewers at the Rowe plant, is the instructor for the Rowe/TAF program in Vinton, teaching the same commercial sewing and upholstery skills on the same machinery that is used at the Rowe plant.

Rowe Furniture, The Advancement Foundation, and the Town of Vinton have all been impressed with the results of the program. Rowe has found those who have completed the training to have not just the skill set needed for employment, but the initiative and desire to become topnotch employees.

The Advancement Foundation views the program as a win/win situation for all involved in breaking the cycle of poverty.

“The Town of Vinton is glad that a facility we had available is being used for a worthwhile cause,” said Mayor Bradley Grose. “This program fits Vinton and our desire to partner with private and non-profit organizations to help the community, especially to help individuals who want to become gainfully employed.”

Interested applicants may contact Christina Anger by calling 540-345-1292 or by emailing