By Michelle Graff
Las Vegas--This week in Las Vegas, the boards of Jewelers of America and the Diamond Council of America approved an affiliation agreement that aligns the two long-standing organizations.

Approved Tuesday by JA’s board and Wednesday by the DCA’s, the agreement provides JA an accredited education arm and gives the DCA, which is a small nonprofit, access to JA’s more substantial resources.

Jewelers of America President and CEO David Bonaparte said he and DCA CEO Terry Chandler started having a conversation about the two organizations working more closely together back in 2015.

He said that rather than expand on JA’s education offerings, he though it smarter to partner with an organization that’s already “doing it and doing it well.”

“Education is vital,” Bonaparte said. “What we saw DCA doing was so important.”

Under the agreement, JA will continue to offer its Professional Certification Programs in sales, management and bench, but will look at how the DCA education platform can help JA bring the sales and management programs online. (The affiliation will not impact JA bench certification.)

JA will discontinue “Jewelry 101,” replacing it with the DCA’s Beginning Jewelry Sales course.

For the DCA, Chandler said the agreement aligns his association with a “well-placed” organization in JA, gives them access to more resources and allows him to cut costs by closing the DCA’s Nashville office.

It also gives him a long-range plan for the future of an association that provides a vital service in an industry about which he is very passionate.

“This is a stunning industry,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s shrinking; I don’t care if it’s difficult. This is a lovely way to make a living.”

Chandler, who has headed the DCA for 18 years, will remain on board as CEO, though longtime Director of Operations Lissa Roussel has opted to leave the association to spend more time with her children.

Chandler will remain in his position for a minimum of two years. During that time, the DCA will select an executive director who eventually will take over the association’s day-to-day operations.

In the meantime, he will continue to report to the DCA board, which now will include Bonaparte, but will close the association’s Nashville office. The DCA’s official headquarters will relocated to JA’s office at 120 Broadway in New York.

While the boards of both organizations approved the affiliation this week, DCA members also have to approve it. That vote is expected to take place in mid-July.

The Distance Education Accrediting Commission also must approve the affiliation; the DEAC vote is scheduled to take place Aug. 3.

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