By Rich Christianson
AWI Members Take the WCA Passport Pledge
Several dozen woodworking executives endorsed the Woodwork Career Alliance’s woodworking skill credentials program via their participation in the “Passports Open Doors” campaign at the Architectural Woodwork Institute’s Annual Convention, Oct. 23-25 in Kansas City, MO.
“We asked AWI members to support the concept that a person coming to their plant with a Woodwork Career Alliance Passport and credentials would be welcomed with an open door and would get a ‘second look’ as a new hire because of their demonstrated commitment to our industry,” explained Greg Heuer, secretary of the WCA. “This is one more way the WCA is demonstrating to teachers, administrators, parents, and woodworking companies that we have support inside the industry.”
John Leininger, president of Leininger Cabinet & Woodworking of Louisville, KY, and a member of the AWI Board of Directors, was among the dignitaries to sign off on the Passports Open Doors campaign. “I have long supported the WCA Passport program because I think it is our duty to do something positive for solving some of the problems that our members experience and the biggest problem that they have right now is finding qualified help. The WCA is working for us to convince more public and private schools to offer the classes that will develop the type of woodworkers that we need. I believe strongly that the WCA is a good organization with good intentions. It’s come a long way and is absolutely necessary to keep us from sliding into a bigger and bigger work talent deficit.”
Supporting the Passports Open Doors campaign was a no brainer for Tony Aubin, founder and president of Aubin Woodworking of Bow, NH. Aubin Woodworking is a WCA INDustry member. “We went through the beginning stages of passport certification and I have several employees that hold passports,” Aubin said. While he has yet to have a passport holder apply for a job, Aubin said, “If an applicant were to come in with a WCA Passport he would certainly get my attention. I believe the passport program provides a strong backup for proving the skills that an individual has acquired through their education. These individuals are genuinely interested in the woodworking industry and I feel that we will receive a positive return on investing in these potential employees.
“With the right training and support, these future employees can carry us to the next level of woodworking, cabinetmaking, designing and engineering,” Aubin added. “I believe the Woodworking Skills and Passport program is a significant tool to aid these individuals to successful and prosperous careers.”
“I think the foundation of the WCA is helping to make woodworking a more respected professional,” said Craig Montgomery, president of Maverick Door of Schertz, TX. “Woodworking really does suffer a bit of prejudice of being a less skilled trade. But it’s quite the contrary. It is a very demanding profession as far as work skills go. We operate CNC equipment, and a whole evolution of woodworking skills – everything from milling rough lumber to providing finished products capable of going into a multi-million dollar residences. Without a doubt a passport holder would have a definite advantage to be considered for a job here. When it comes to the WCA Passport program, the more the merrier. Keep them educated and keep them coming!”
About the Woodwork Career Alliance
The Woodwork Career Alliance was founded in 2007 as a 501C(3) non-profit corporation and is governed by a volunteer board of directors. The WCA’s mission is to develop and administer a unified set of Skill Standards for the wood products industry. Since 2011, WCA has developed observable and measurable performance standards and assessments for more than 240 woodworking machine operations. In addition, WCA has issued over 1,200 Passports, a portable, personal permanent record documenting each holder’s record of achievements as a woodworking professional. More than 160 high schools and post-secondary schools throughout North America are WCA EDUcation® members. To learn more about the WCA and how to get involved with its programs, visit www.WoodworkCareer.org.