WCA’s Molzahn to Present at Executive Briefing Conference

Patrick Molzahn, director of the cabinetmaking and millwork program at Madison Area Technical College, and treasurer of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America, has been recruited to speak at the 15th annual Executive Briefing Conference. Molzahn will discuss how wood products companies can use the WCA’s woodworking skill standards and Passport credentialing program to train and retain employees.

Molzahn’s presentation will precede a panel discussion on workforce development strategies.

Click here to view the full EBC agenda and to register.

President’s Message: IWF Was Busy Good for the WCA

The International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta proved not only to be a very well-attended show, but a very productive one for the Woodwork Career Alliance.

Through the IWF Silent Auction and an optional $5 support registration check-off, WCA raised about $8,500 to support the mission of developing a trained workforce. I would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to IWF management for designating WCA to receive the proceeds from these two fundraising activities.

The show also produced a constant flow of woodworkers to our booth, including many who requested information about our MANufacturing™ credentials, skill standards and other programs. Hopefully this interest will spawn new MANufacturing members eager to get their own in-house training and Passport programs up and running.

This is also a very busy time for all of our EDUcation™ members. Schools are currently in the renewal process and requesting their annual benefit package. By the next edition of Pathways, I will be able to report on the success of our renewal process.

Upcoming Accredited Skill Evaluator Training Sessions
On November 2, WCA conduct Accredited Skill Evaluator Training at Madison College in Madison, WI. Because this session is sold out, we are looking into scheduling another ASE training event at Madison College in February.

On November 9, WCA will conduct another Accredited Skill Evaluator Training at the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL) in conjunction with the MiLL Academy curriculum training in Colorado Springs, CO. The $250 fee for the optional third day of training allows teachers to receive the WCA ASE training without additional travel time and cost. The additional fee also covers their school’s WCA EDUcation membership the 2018-19 school year. Five high school teachers are currently registered for the training.

Thank You Sponsors!
I am pleased to report that the WCA’s new INDustry™ Sponsorship program has so far enlisted the support of 21 Gold Sponsors and eight Silver Sponsors. The logos of all of our Gold Sponsors are included in each edition of Pathways. Our new sponsors include:

Gold – Roseburg Forest Products, Sherwin-Williams and Weinig Holz-Her USA
Silver – Eagle Mouldings, IMA-Schelling and Kerfkore.

Thank you one and all!

Scott Nelson
President
Woodwork Career Alliance of North America
snelsonwca@gmail.com

WCA: Setting the Standard for Professional Woodworkers

How the Woodwork Career Alliance’s credential Passport program can turn a mere job into a rewarding career.

Assemble 10 randomly selected wood product executives into a room and ask, “What is your company’s number one concern?” Odds are at least nine of them will respond, “Finding productive woodworkers.”

The skilled worker shortage is a universal and perpetual problem that promises to only get worse as more Baby Boomers retire.

Knowing that the woodworking industry’s skills gap would not fix itself, the Architectural Woodwork Institute and U.S. Forest Service partnered to found the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. The overarching goals of the not-for-profit WCA are to elevate woodworking as a profession, support workforce development through the creation of skill standards and create career paths based on a credential Passport program recognized throughout the U.S. and Canada. WCA credentials now encompass measurable skill standards for more than 240 woodworking operations and machines ranging from accurately reading a tape measure through operating a CNC router.

Lessons Learned
How can the woodworking industry benefit from a robust, nationally-recognized credentialing program?

For a clue, take a look at how well-established credentialing programs are helping the automotive, metalworking and welding industries recruit, train and retain skilled workers. And keep in mind that these are but three skilled-job industries with which wood product companies compete for qualified help.

  • Established in 1972, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence administers one of the best-known credentialing programs. More than a quarter million ASE technicians and mechanics are employed at dealer and independent auto clinics. In addition to elevating career opportunities for auto care professionals, shops that embrace ASE certification can promote that their mechanics are ASE certified to earn the trust and business of consumers.
  • The National Institute for Metalworking Skills was formed in 1994 to establish industry skill standards, certify individual skills against the standards, and accredit training programs meeting NIMS quality requirements. NIMS has developed skills standards for everything from machining through industrial maintenance. More than 120,000 credentials have been issued in precision metalworking and industrial maintenance disciplines.
  • The American Welding Society offers nine different certification categories from inspectors and supervisors to engineers and fabricators. Since its introduction in 1976, more than
    100,000 welding inspector certifications alone have been awarded.

Setting Standards Forges Career Paths
No matter what the occupation, the success of an industry-developed and validated credentialing program hinges on the buy-in of employees and employers alike. Some of the shared attributes of most credentialing programs for the skilled trades, include:

  • Certified professionals receive the respect and recognition they deserve for their commitment to professional development. Their credentials make them more marketable to find a job and more desirable for companies to want to hire them.
  • Employers can incorporate industry skill standards to help frame their training programs and develop incentive programs based on employees successfully achieving new skills. This creates a tool that can be used both for recruitment and retention.
  • Because they are based on industry-accepted standards, the individual’s credentials are transferrable from one employer to the next.
  • Professional credential programs are promoted to high schools and postsecondary CTE programs to help make their curricula more relevant in preparing students for successful careers in modern-day manufacturing.

Chicken-and-Egg Dilemma
For the moment, the woodworking industry faces the classic chicken-and-egg dilemma. Woodworking employers want people who are dependable, trainable and committed. Employees want to be fairly compensated and have opportunities to advance their careers as payback for committing to become more productive woodworkers.

The WCA, with its skill standards and credential Passport program firmly in place, has set the foundation to bring the two sides together so that the woodworking industry can develop and grow a skilled workforce. We encourage everyone who has a stake in the long-term health and prosperity of this time-honored vocation to lift up the hood and take a closer look at what the WCA has to offer.

Learn more about the WCA’s credential Passport program.

Welcome New Members & Sponsors!

 

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America is pleased to welcome six new EDUcation™ member schools and six new INDustry™ Sponsors.

Thank you for your membership and support!

EDUcation™ Members
Charlotte High School, Charlotte, MI
Lester B Pearson High School, Calgary, AB, Canada
Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs, IA
Oxford High School, Oxford, MA
Rowan – Salisbury High School, Salisbury, NC
Verona Area High School, Verona, WI

Find a WCA EDUcation™ woodworking program in your area.

 

INDustry™ Gold Sponsors
Sherwin-Williams
, Cleveland, OH
Roseburg Forest Products, Springfield, OR
Weinig-Holz-Her USA, Mooresville, NC

Industry™ Silver Sponsors
Eagle Mouldings, Loretto, MN
IMA-Schelling Group USA, Morrisville, NC
Kerfkore, Brunswick, GA

View all WCA INDustry™ Sponsors & Supporters

CMA to Host Event at the MiLL in Colorado

The Cabinet Makers Association (CMA) will host a regional event on Friday, Nov. 9 in Colorado Springs, CO. The one-day event will be held at the MiLL National Training Center and include a tour of Concepts in Millwork.

The MiLL is a WCA EDUcation™ member; the CMA is an Association Partner of the WCA.

“Many of our members learned about the MiLL and their partnership with Concepts in Millwork during our 20th Anniversary Conference in March,” said Amanda Conger, executive director of the CMA. “The November event provides members the opportunity to experience the program for themselves.”

The day will begin at the MiLL so that attendees can learn more about its program and see the facility during a school day. Then representatives of Concepts in Millwork will lead a discussion of what it takes to create a successful internship program. The panel will include an  employee of Concepts in Millwork who will share his story about transitioning from being a student intern to becoming professional woodworker. Finally, the group will tour Concepts in Millwork to see its production facility and other former MiLL students at work.

“The panel discussion with Concepts in Millwork is for anyone who wants to learn about how to attract and retain workers,” said Dean Mattson, founder of the MiLL. “Concepts is doing it right and has had 100% success with the program.”

Mattson added that in order to effectively manage today’s generation of new workers companies need to change their management style. “Essentially managers need to be sensitive to young people’s needs,” he said. “They need to be nurtured and know they are cared for.”

The registration fee for the event is $55 for current CMA members and $75 for non-members. Student/instructor members are free, while non-member students/instructors are $25. Registration includes lunch.

For more information and to register, visit cabinetmakers.org/events.

The CMA has been hosting high-value events like this since 1998 as a means of connecting similar-sized shops around North America with the purpose of sharing best practices and business acumen, while learning how other businesses do what they do. In addition to the agenda, the regional events also encourage networking by providing an opportunity to talk shop and share issues, solutions, and even projects. Although dubbed “regional,” the association expects this event to draw attendees from across the country as well as Canada.

About the Cabinet Makers Association
Celebrating 20 years, the Cabinet Makers Association was incorporated in 1998 by a group of custom cabinet makers who thought the small to mid-size shop needed to network and help each other grow profitably. Currently, CMA membership is made up primarily of 20 or fewer employee operations, with the vast majority of those being 1-5 person shops. For more information, visit cabinetmakers.org.

WMIA Educator Award Honors Industry’s ‘Unsung Heroes’

The annual award program has brought well-deserved recognition to woodworking instructors and schools, including many EDUcation® members of the Woodwork Career Alliance.

In accepting the 2018 WMIA Educator of the Year Wooden Globe Award, Joe Davis, woodworking instructor of the Dale Jackson Career Center, became the seventh representative of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America to receive the prestigious honor since 2008.

Adding to this impressive reign of achievement, WCA affiliates, plus the WCA itself, have received the award from the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association in each of the last six years. The WMIA established the Educator of the Year Award in 1988 to recognize the outstanding dedication of educational institutions, companies and instructors to train individuals for careers in today’s high-tech woodworking industry.

“Since its founding in 1978, WMIA has worked not only to serve its members, but also to help secure the future of the industry,” said WMIA President and CEO Larry Hoffer. “There’s no more effective way to ensure a vibrant future workforce than through education, an area in which WMIA has demonstrated a strong commitment over the last 30 years. WMIA’s Educator of the Year Wooden Globe Award has recognized some of the leading educators across the country, and this recognition is equally as important as our efforts in providing scholarships to students so they can further their education.”

“Choosing the annual Educator of the Year is a big part of our responsibility,” said Chris Hofmann, chairman of the WMIA Education Committee and product specialist of Colonial Saw. “We look for someone who is not only an outstanding educator, but who cares enough to put forth a ton of effort for their students. It’s been great to see the high caliber of nominees that we review and speaks well about the track record of WCA and its members who have risen to the top. They are real standouts in almost every way.”

Scott Nelson, president of the WCA, said he appreciates the WMIA for elevating the importance of woodworking education through its annual award program. “I think the award shows that these are the guys who are doing the work in the trenches and it’s very outstanding that the WMIA is recognizing the job that these educators are doing to teach our next generation of woodworkers. I appreciate all of the publicity they give not only to WCA but to the individuals and their schools. There are many very good programs out there that people don’t know about. I think it shows the value of using the skill standards the WCA has provided to credential their students.”

“People complain about where the next generation of woodworkers is going to come from.”  Hofmann added. “That’s why I think these are kind of the unsung heroes of our industry. They are trying to bring the next generation of woodworkers forward. I think there is a lot of respect among the students and graduates of these programs and how they helped them gain skills that can put them on the right track to further their careers.”

WCA Winners of WMIA Educator Award Honor Roll
The following WCA members may be unsung, but they are not unheralded, thanks to being recognized with the WMIA’s Educator of the Year Award.

2018 Educator Award Winner: Dale Jackson Career Center, Lewisville, TX
Accepted by Joe Davis, mill and cabinet instructor
Over the past 20-plus years, Joe Davis has taught woodworking to more than 1,200 students. Davis is an accredited skills evaluator of the WCA and his program is a founding WCA EDUcation member. High school students who take a third semester in the DJCC woodworking program are introduced to the WCA skill standards and Passport program with the opportunity to earn a Sawblade Certificate. Many of Davis’ students have gone on to lead successful careers as woodworkers.

2017 Educator Award Winner: New England School of Architectural Woodworking, Easthampton, MA
Accepted by Greg Larson, owner/director
Greg and Margaret Larson took over the school in 2012 and expanded it to include architectural woodworking career training. Larson described the program as offering a “very real-world experience” to students, who average 32 years of age and include both young people starting out and older career changers. The private school’s program includes building and installing kitchen cabinet projects for the local community.

2016 Educator Award Winner: Woodwork Career Alliance of North America, Nellysford, VA
Accepted by Scott Nelson, president
Scott Nelson was recognized for his “tireless leadership” of the WCA, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2007 to address the woodworking industry’s critical skilled worker shortage through the development of industry-recognized skill standards. The WCA has developed observable and measurable performance standards and assessments for more than 240 woodworking machine operations. In addition, WCA has enrolled more than 120 secondary and postsecondary institutions as EDUcation™ members, issued over 1,600 WCA passports, and trained more than 180 accredited skill evaluators.

2015 Educator Award Winner: Wood Technology Institute at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS
Accepted by Doug Hague and Charles Phillips, woodworking instructors
The Wood Technology Institute is a highly acclaimed training center and the heart of PSU’s Architectural Manufacturing Management & Technology program. In addition to their roles as woodworking instructors, Doug Hague, who has since become the Education Director of the Architectural Woodwork Institute, and Charles Phillips were lauded for conducting the first WMIA BootCamp to train woodworking suppliers about wood manufacturing processes. The success of that program led to the development of BootCamps for service technicians.

2014 Educator Award Winner: Greater West Town Project, Chicago, IL
Accepted by Doug Rappe, program coordinator
Since being established in 1993, the GWTP has trained and placed some 900 low-income adults with jobs at local woodworking businesses. In recent years, the GWTP has issued a WCA Passport to each of its graduating students. Doug Rappe, program coordinator and a WCA accredited skills evaluator, has been involved with GWTP since its inception. The WMIA honored him for his long-standing dedication to workforce development.

2013 Educator Award Winner: North Salem High School Woods Program, North Salem, OR
Accepted by Dean Mattson, cabinet and woods manufacturing teacher

Dean Mattson was recruited by Peyton School District in Colorado to develop woodworking programs at Peyton High School and the MiLL training center following his success at North Salem High School. There he created a unique STEM and CTE model that incorporated the WCA skill standards for cabinet manufacturing, mathematics and engineering. He also reached out to local businesses to hire qualified graduating students for woodworking positions.

2008 Educator Award Winner: Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI
Accepted by Patrick Molzahn, director of cabinetmaking and millwork

Patrick Molzahn, author of the fifth edition of Modern Cabinetmaking, is a founding board member of the WCA and recently became the first woodworker to earn the WCA’s Diamond credential. The one-year degree program Molzahn oversees is housed in a well-equipped facility valued at over $1 million. It is organized around lean principles and the WCA skill standards that he helped formulate. In addition to using traditional woodworking equipment and hand tools, students receive hands-on training in the latest CNC machinery and software.

 

WMIA Plans CTE – Manufacturing Days Open House at Herrick & White

The Wood Machinery Industry Association has organized a CTE – Manufacturing Days Open House at Herrick & White of Cumberland, RI, to showcase woodworking opportunities to students. The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5.

Herrick & White operates out of a 55,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that utilizes state-of-the-art technology. The 41-years-old company is a Certified Manufacturer of the Architectural Woodwork Institute.

Chris Hofmann, chairman of the WMIA Education Committee and project manager for Colonial Saw, said he hopes this inaugural event will become the “template” for rolling out similar events supported by the WMIA and its members throughout the United States.

Greg Larson, director of the New England School of Architectural Woodwork and a member of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America’s Board of Directors, will represent the WCA at the open house.

Career and technical education teachers, students and parents are invited to attend the event.

To learn more about the participating at the event, including limited vendor display space, contact Hofmann at chofmann@csaw.com,

WCA Commemorates First Diamond Credential; Raises $8,500 at IWF

North America’s largest woodworking event was a momentous occasion for the Woodwork Career Alliance.

Patrick Molzahn receives the first ever Diamond credential from Scott Nelson, president of the WCA at IWF 2018.

Patrick Molzahn, left, receives the first-ever Diamond credential from WCA President Scott Nelson.

NELLYSFORD, VA – The International Woodworking Fair, held Aug 22-25 in Atlanta, provided the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America with much cause to celebrate.

For starters, Patrick Molzahn, woodworking instructor at Madison College in Madison, WI, received the first Diamond credential ever issued in a ceremony held at WCA’s booth. In addition, the WCA was the beneficiary of a pair of fundraising activities coordinated by IWF, including a new silent auction. Approximately $8,500 was raised for the non-profit organization dedicated to developing and growing a skilled woodworking workforce.

Molzahn, a founding member of the WCA’s Board of Directors, said the experience of achieving the Diamond credential fulfilled a long-term goal. “I use the WCA credentialing system to evaluate and reward my students,” Molzahn said. “I have long felt the need to test the efficacy of our credentialing system by experiencing it from the candidate’s perspective.”

In addition to passing more than 125 skill evaluations on dozens of machines and tools, Molzahn completed projects for the three highest credentialing levels: Red, Gold, and ultimately Diamond. For his Red credential, Molzahn built a 32mm cabinet, a design he uses with his students. For Gold, he built a maple face-frame cabinet with a raised panel door. Molzahn described the Diamond project, recreating six replacement windows and an entry door for a National Historic Landmark, as “the hardest I have undertaken in my career.” The project was featured in AWI’s Design Solutions magazine.

Having successfully progressed through all stages of the WCA credentialing Passport program, Molzahn said he is confident that the WCA standards can be used effectively to measure a candidate’s woodworking abilities. “For industry, the WCA credentialing system provides a template for recognizing and rewarding one’s skills. Moreover, employers can use the credentialing ladder to develop their talent and encourage continuing education.”

Industry Shows Strong Support
IWF once again provided attendees an opportunity to financially support the WCA during the registration process. About 600 woodworking professionals generously checked off a box to donate $5 to the WCA.

IWF also designated WCA as the beneficiary of the silent auction of sports memorabilia and other collectables and valuable merchandise. The auction, presented by Expo Auctions of Sugar Hill, GA, raised nearly $5,500 for the WCA.

“I want to thank IWF for designating the WCA as the recipient of the silent auction and registration fundraisers for this year’s show,” said Scott Nelson, president of the WCA. “These contributions are extremely important to WCA and provide us with additional funds to support school woodshop programs and candidates to become credentialed woodworkers.”

Based on the tremendous success of the silent auction at IWF, plans are already in the works to organize a similar event at the AWFS Fair, July 17-20, 2019 in Las Vegas.

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About the Woodwork Career Alliance
The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America was founded in 2007 as a 501(c)(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 more than 1,600 Passports, a portable, personal permanent record documenting each holder’s record of woodworking skill achievements. More than 100 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, including sponsorship opportunities, visit WoodworkCareer.org.

WCA Issues First Diamond Credential

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The International Wood Fair (IWF) in Atlanta was the setting of another milestone for the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. Woodworking instructor Patrick Molzahn of Madison College in Madison, WI, received the Diamond credential, the first ever issued by the WCA. This is the highest credential awarded by the WCA and is the culmination of more than 125 skill evaluations and three woodworking projects.

Molzahn, a founding member of the WCA Board of Directors, said the experience fulfilled a long-term goal. “I use the WCA credentialing system to evaluate and reward my students,” Molzahn said. “I have long felt the need to test the efficacy of our credentialing system by experiencing it from the candidate’s perspective.”

In addition to passing a wide array of skill evaluations on dozens of machines and tools, Molzahn completed projects for the three highest credentialing levels: Red, Gold, and ultimately Diamond. For his Red level credential, Molzahn built a 32mm cabinet, a design he uses with his students. For Gold, he built a maple face-frame cabinet with a raised panel door. Molzahn described the Diamond project, recreating six replacement windows and an entry door for a National Historic Landmark, as “the hardest I have undertaken in my career.” The project was featured in AWI’s Design Solutions Magazine in 2015.

Having successfully completed the progression of the WCA credentialing Passport program, Molzahn said he is confident that the WCA standards can be used effectively to measure a candidate’s woodworking abilities.

“For industry, the WCA credentialing system provides a template for recognizing and rewarding one’s skills. Moreover, employers can use the credentialing ladder to develop their talent and encourage continuing education.”

Learn more about the WCA’s skill standards and credentialing system.

 

Microjig Donates Table Saw Safety Device to High School Woodshops

Microjig, a manufacturer of table saw accessories, unveiled its new school donation program at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta with the goal of putting two of its GRR-Rippers on every table saw in every woodshop program in the country by 2020.

“Microjig is built on the idea that there is a safer, smarter way for people to work with their hands and build their dreams,” said CEO Bruce Wang. “It’s our goal to end table saw injuries by 2020. We see this new donation program as an essential step toward that, arming the next generation of craftspeople and skilled trade professionals with the tools to empower them to succeed at their passions.”

As part of the new program, Microjig hopes to donate to the 2,714 public high schools with Career Technical Education (CTE) programs that offer construction and woodworking courses.

The GRR-Ripper was developed 15 years ago by Wang in an Orlando, FL, garage. It is meant to replace traditional push sticks with a new generation of woodworking technology. Unlike push sticks, which leave exposed hands and can lead to dangerous kickback, Microjig says the GRR-Ripper provides precision, safety and control for users while working with a table saw.

Each GRR-Ripper retails for $59, so with this donation program, MICROJIG aims to donate more than $325,000 to public schools across the country.

Click here to apply for two free GRR-Rippers. As part of the program, Microjig will also offer 50 percent off for all public schools interested in adding other company products or additional GRR-Rippers.

For more information about MICROJIG, visit microjig.com.