Harbor Freight to Begin Accepting Apps for $1M Teacher Prize May 16

CALABASAS, CA — Harbor Freight Tools for Schools announced it will award more than $1 million in cash prizes to outstanding public high school skilled trades teachers and programs, doubling the amount awarded for last year’s Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

The 2018 prize will honor 18 public high school skilled trades teachers and their programs with $1 million in cash awards. Three first-place winners will each receive $100,000, with $70,000 going to the high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the individual skilled trades teacher or teacher team behind the winning program. The 15 second-place winners will each be awarded $50,000, with $35,000 going to the high school program and $15,000 to the teacher/team.

The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence was started in 2017 by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to recognize outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools that inspires students to learn a trade that prepares them for a career after high school. The inaugural prize awarded more than $500,000 in prizes to three first- and seven second-place winners. It drew nearly 700 applications from 48 states from a wide range of skilled trades instruction, including automotive technology, welding, carpentry, agriculture mechanics, advanced manufacturing and marine systems technology.

“We were overwhelmed by the response and the extraordinary pool of applicants last year and wanted to award more money to more skilled trades teachers to advance the important work that they’re doing in our public high schools,” Smidt said. “These inspiring educators are passionate about teaching their students life skills and trades skills they can take beyond the classroom and into solid careers, many right out of high school, that will help drive our economy.”

The prize is designed to recognize outstanding skilled trades instruction and give teacher applicants access to ideas and practices through a network of like-minded exceptional educators. The digital application for the prize solicits creative responses to a series of online expert-led video learning modules designed to help skilled trades teachers be more effective in the classroom.

“This is not a traditional teaching prize,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “We are looking for teachers who are not only accomplished skilled trades educators in teaching and inspiring their students but also are lifelong learners themselves, seeking to continuously improve their classroom practices.”

The need for skilled trades professionals in the U.S. is urgent and growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2024, there will be more than 1.5 million skilled trades job openings as Baby Boomers retire.

For more information and to register, visit https://hftforschoolsprize.org/.  Applications open on May 16 and are due July 6, 2018. The applicants with the top 50 scores will be announced as semi-finalists on Aug. 15, and the first- and second-place winners will be announced on Nov. 15. Updates on the prize will be posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Each round of winners will be selected by separate panels of judges. Harbor Freight Tools for Schools does not select the first- or second-place winners.

About Harbor Freight Tools for Schools
Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is a program of The Smidt Foundation, established by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt, to support the advancement of skilled trades education in America.  With a deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands, this program was created to foster and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education in public high schools. Believing that access to quality skilled trades education gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs and a workforce our country needs, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools aims to stimulate greater understanding, support and investment by public entities and others in skilled trades education.  Harbor Freight Tools is a major supporter of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools program. For more information, visit https://harborfreighttoolsforschools.org.

For additional info, including a video featuring 2017 winners, click here.

Stiles Machinery Presents Solid Wood Technology Forum at Madison College

Stiles Machinery field service rep Kevin Price demonstrates moulder calibration and setup.

More than 40 individuals from industry and education gathered at a recent lunch and learn sponsored by Stiles Machinery and held at Madison College, Madison, WI. Participants spent the day learning about technology and practical applications for working with solid wood, as well as networking with current students.

Stiles product specialist Peter Van Dyke kicked the day off with an overview of the modern rough mill and highlighting multiple types of machinery that can be used to efficiently process wood. Following that presentation, participants were divided into groups and received more theoretical information from Van Dyke and practical demonstrations from Stiles field service rep Kevin Price on handling and preparing tooling, profile knife grinding, and moulder calibration and setup.

The Cabinetmaking program at Madison College is a Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) EDUcation™ member and hosts several seminars annually open to industry members. To receive notification of future events, contact Patrick Molzahn at 608-246-6842 or pmolzahn@madisoncollege.edu.

President’s Message: Maine State Prison, SkillsUSA & Other Updates

Since our last edition of Pathways, WCA has added eight new EDUcation™ members and five new INDustry™ sponsors.  Please check out our new members listed in the Welcome New Members section of Pathways. The INDustry Sponsorship category is designed to provide a way for manufacturers and distributors of woodworking machinery and supplies and other industry stakeholders to cost-effectively support the WCA and its EDUcation members. Visit our website  to discover which level of sponsorship best fits your company. Sponsorship fees range from $250 for Sawblade level to $1,000 for Gold.

In WCA MANufacturing™ news, the pilot Passport program at the Maine State Prison Industries that we featured in Fall 2017 Pathways is moving forward. Twenty-three inmates have completed the layout sections and are well on their way in obtaining the Green Credential. In addition, Jefferson Millwork of Sterling, VA, featured in Pathways Summer 2017, has successfully brought one of its employees to the Red Credential.  I truly applaud Jefferson Millwork for their ongoing efforts to achieve a trained work force.

Things are very busy this time of year for many of our EDUcation members.  There is a lot of activity with the testing of students for their Sawblade certificate and for participating in state SkillsUSA competitions. I helped with the Nebraska Cabinetmaking Competition and was very pleased with the talent exhibited by these young individuals. We had 25 competitors from high schools and 10 competitors from postsecondary schools. I’ve included a few photos from the competition in this post.

Congratulations and good luck to Tyler McLaughlin of Yutan Public Schools, Yutan, NE, and Derek Summers of Wayne State College, Wayne, NE. They are moving on to represent Nebraska in the 54th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, June 25-29 in Louisville, KY. 

Please visit our website and do a search using our interactive map to find EDUcation members – both secondary and post-secondary school – near you.  These schools are a true source for your future employees! I encourage you to get to know your local school’s instructors and support their efforts to teach students about the craft of woodworking.

Finally, don’t forget to mark your calendar for IWF 2018, August 22-25, in Atlanta. Plan on visiting WCA at Booth 4154 to talk about how we can work together to develop and grow a skilled woodworking work force.

Hope everyone is having a great year!

Scott Nelson
Woodwork Career Alliance of North America

Harbor Freight Supports High School CTE Programs in a Big Way

Harbor Freight, a discount tool retailer based in Calabasas, CA, is furthering its commitment to support U.S. public high school career and technical education programs.

In 2013, Harbor Freight launched Harbor Freight Tools for Schools (HTFS) and donated $1.5 million worth of tools to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Last year, the company awarded more than $550,000 in prizes through its inaugural HTFS Prize for Teaching Excellence. Three first-place winners each won $30,000 for themselves and $70,000 to support their programs; seven second-place winners each won $10,000 and $20,000 to support their programs and 44 semi-finalists each received a $1,000 tool donation for their programs.

Several of the winners instruct woodworking programs, including first-place winner Jonathan Swartz, who teaches advanced manufacturing and woodworking at Colfax High School in Colfax, CA, and second-place winners Cole Smith and Bill Hartman, who teach construction, woodworking and design at Rancho Cotate High School in California.

Nearly 700 entries were received for the 2017 HTFS Prize for Teaching Excellence. HTFS plans to announced details for its 2018 program to award more than $1 million in cash and prizes May 1 and will accept applications between May 16 and July 6. To learn more watch the video below and visit harborfreighttoolsforschools.org.

In addition to the Prize for Teaching Excellence, representatives of U.S. public high school skill trades programs can request a gift card donation for tools. Click here to learn more. 



Welcome New WCA Members and Sponsors!

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

Thank you for your membership and support!

EDUcation™ Members
Boyceville High School, Boyceville, WI
Dobson High School, Mesa, AZ
Junction City High School, Junction City, OR
Mesa High School, Mesa, AZ
Mountain View High School, Mesa, AZ
Sheboygan Falls High School, Sheboygan Falls, WI
The Master’s Craftsmen, Ozark, MO
Tim Lucas Custom Woodworks, Bell, FL

View interactive map of all WCA EDUcation™ Members

INDustry™ Gold Sponsors
Bessey Tools of North America, Cambridge, ON
Wood-Ed Table by Mimbus, Chicago, IL

Industry™ Sawblade Sponsors
Brookhuis America, Suwanee, GA
Deerwood Fasteners, Conover, NC
Titus Plus, Seattle, WA

View all WCA INDustry™ Sponsors






Postsecondary Educators Embrace WCA Credentials

More colleges and adult education woodworking programs are implementing WCA Skill Standards to prepare their students for professional careers.

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America’s (WCA) Passport credentialing system is becoming an integral component of well-respected postsecondary woodworking programs across the nation.

Instructors find that implementing the WCA’s nationally-recognized skill standards creates a sturdy framework not only for teaching students about essential tools and techniques but also for evaluating their ability to apply what they learn.

WCA Passports are being issued as standard operating procedure to students attending programs at Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor, ME; Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI; Michigan Career and Technical Institute, Plainwell, MI; and New England School of Architectural Woodworking; Easthampton, MA.

The Passport is an individual’s record of the woodworking skills the holder has achieved. Accumulating Passport points is a resume builder for students looking to forge a successful career in the woodworking industry after they graduate. As Greg Larson, instructor at the New England School of Architectural Woodworking puts it, “Earning WCA credentials gives them one more thing that the next person doesn’t have. It gives them a leg up on the competition.”

What follows is a snapshot of how each of these four diverse and heralded postsecondary programs has embraced WCA skill standards and Passport credentials.

Maine College Is WCA Passport Champ
No institution has issued more WCA Passports than Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC). Entering this year, 149 students of the college’s Fine Woodworking and Cabinet Making program have received a Passport, a number that will grow by 30 more this year says Les Stackpole, faculty and department chair.

The Passport holders fall into one of two distinct programs offered at EMCC. First there are students who attend the college’s two-year woodworking program to earn their associate degree. The other group consists of dislocated workers, most of them from the area’s shuttered paper mills, who receive federal assistance for training to embark on a new career.

“About 100 of the Passports were issued to workers who lost their jobs and come here a six-month intensive woodworking course,” Stackpole says. “We’re able to help set them on a new career path.”

Students of the two-year program are required to get a WCA Passport at the start of their second semester. “By then they know if woodworking and carpentry is for them and whether they will stick with the program,” Stackpole says.

Students are evaluated on their skills and receive Passport points for the hand and machine skills they successfully demonstrate. “They usually end up with more than 30 WCA credits required for their WCA Green credential after two years here,” Stackpole says. “The Green level is an option. We usually have three or four students who graduate with a Green credential.”

Stackpole says his graduates usually have multiple job offers. “The students with the Green credentials are the most sought after because employers know that they are the cream of the crop. They can get into a bit of a bidding war for better pay and a better benefits package.”

Stackpole is a WCA chief evaluator and has such has trained five others to be WCA accredited skill evaluations, including one who is on his staff.

Stackpole is excited that four area high schools are ramping up WCA EDUcation programs for their high school wood shops. “Students who earn their WCA Sawblade certificate in high school will receive three credits if they enroll in our program,” Stackpole says. “It’s great to see the WCA credential program gain momentum.” 


Madison College Raises the Bar
Incoming students at Madison Area Technical College now receive a WCA Passport as part of their tuition and earn a WCA Sawblade Certificate when they complete their first semester of training.

“We have formally integrated the Sawblade Certificate into our curriculum,” says Patrick Molzahn, director of Madison College’s Cabinet & Millwork program and a member of the WCA Board of Directors. “As part of their first semester coursework, all students are taught and evaluated on the skills for a WCA Sawblade Certificate. That includes measuring and layout, and basic set up and operation of a table saw, jointer, drill press and portable hand sander. Once they have successfully demonstrated their abilities they take an online test to earn their certificate.

“By integrating the Sawblade Certificate into our curriculum, students begin to understand the process and requirements of the WCA Passport credentialing system,” Molzahn says. “This experience better prepares them to shoot for Green and Blue level credentials beginning in their second semester. Earning WCA credentials is a great opportunity to show their sincere interest in pursuing woodworking as a career to a prospective employer.”

First semester students who previously earned their Sawblade Certificate in high school can begin earning their Green Credential right away.

“We are seeing more and more students arriving with the WCA Passport,” Molzahn says. “Wisconsin has the largest concentration of high school WCA EDUcation members in the country. As a result, we are able to take students further in their credentialing journey.

“Getting students credentialed to the WCA Skill Standards raises the bar for all that we do,” Molzahn adds. “Our ultimate goal of being a WCA EDUcation member is to improve our training and make it more relevant to industry.”

MCTI Boasts 100% Placement
The Michigan Career Technical Institute (MCTI) is a state-owned career and technical education facility established in 1944 to train returning World War II GIs. Today, the woodworking program taught by industry veteran Jim Wellever, is one of 13 programs offered by the center.

“The majority of our students have a hidden disability like attention deficit disorder, autism spectrum disorder or vision or hearing impairment,” says Wellever, an early adopter of the WCA’s credentialing system. “Our goal is competitive employment. Everyone who is accepted into this program has been assessed to determine that they are likely to be successful professional woodworkers.”

The MCTI woodworking program consists of up to 7, 10-week terms with the majority of students graduating at 40 weeks. “The WCA Skill Standards are beneficial particularly in the early stages of the program,” Wellever says. “While we occasionally get students with lots of prior woodworking experience, we assume that our first-term students have no prior experience, especially when it comes to teaching them about safe operation of machines. We start with all of the basic stuff – using a tape measure, jointer, planer and table saw – then work on up.”

Students are issued a WCA Passport when they begin their second term. “If a student makes it through the first 10 weeks, he is likely to make it the rest of the way,” Wellever says.

“Students who complete all four terms graduate with a WCA Green Credential,” Wellever adds. “They all have the competency of at least one high-tech machine be it a moulder, CNC router, edgebander or veneer sander. Most of our students are competent on numerous high-tech machines, plus the basic machines like table saws.”

Wellever says his graduates are highly coveted by woodworking companies. “We always are at, or near 100 percent placement,” Wellever says. “Having the Green Credential will help the students down the road with their careers but because this program has been around a long time, we’re already kind of a go-to place.”

The average starting wage for MCTI graduates is $13.75 hour, plus benefits, Wellever says. “We track our graduates, currently, those who have been on the job for a year are making an average of $963 a week. It’s a very living wage.”

WCA membership has its privileges, Wellever saysl “Being an EDUcation member of the WCA and subscribing to its Skill Standards brings a lot of objectivity to our program. I think one of the greatest side benefits of belonging to the WCA is the networking that we do with other member schools, also, articulation with high school programs here in Michigan.” 

NESAW Takes the High-End Road
The New England School of Architectural Woodworking (NESAW) offers an intensive 5-month program each spring. “We treat our program like it’s a job,” says Greg Larson, director of NESAW. “Our students train eight hours a day, five days a week. Most of their training revolves around building a high-end custom kitchen for someone in our community.”

Most of NESAW’s students are in their late 20s or early 30s. “We get a lot of career changers,” says Larson, a member of the WCA Board of Directors and winner of the 2017 WMIA Educator of the Year Award.

To get his students up to speed, each of them receives a WCA Passport and is trained and evaluated to earn the WCA Sawblade Certificate. “Beyond that, they all have the opportunity to go for the Green Credential because they learn more than enough skills and put in enough hours to earn that,” Larson says. “Even though in this day and age we have no problem placing a successful student with an employer, I still encourage them to get their Green Credential to help them stand out from other applicants, but it’s totally up to them.”

Larson says woodworking companies are slowly beginning to understand who the WCA is and why it’s mission to develop Skill Standards and career paths is so critical to the future success of the North American woodworking industry.

“From an employer’s point of view, having a credential process tied to nationally recognized standards and not just my particular whims as an instructor is a big plus,” Larson says. “The WCA Skill Standards bring an important element of professionalism to the industry which is why I’m using them in my program.”

Learn more about the Woodwork Career Alliance and its Skill Standards and Passport credential program.

Award-Winning Program Trains Under-Employed Adults for Woodworking Careers

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Greater West Town Training Partnership has helped prepare 900 people for jobs
in the greater Chicagoland woodworking industry.

Students learn various construction techniques making a series of small upper cabinets.

The Greater West Town Training Partnership (GWTP) of Chicago is one of the more unique EDUcation™ members of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. The program aims to link the education and training of disadvantaged area residents with economic development efforts and workforce needs of local businesses. 

Since being established 25 years ago, 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. The Passport is the student’s personal record of the woodworking skills he or she has successfully demonstrated during the credential evaluation process.

Doug Rappe, program coordinator and a WCA accredited skills evaluator, has been involved with GWTP since its inception. “Conveniently this program was just starting up as I got back from serving with the Peace Corps teaching woodworking in rural Sierra Leone,” Rappe says.  “I applied and 25 years later, here I am.”

In recognition of his long-standing dedication to workforce development, the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association honored Rappe with the 2014 Educator of the Year Award.

Program Is Free, But Not Easy
GWTP is part of the Greater West Town Community Development Project, a not-for-profit entity that gets its funding from a variety of public agencies and charitable foundations. In addition to woodworking, GWTP offers a hands-on shipping and receiving training program. The two training programs each occupy space in a 55,000-square-foot facility that formerly housed an envelope manufacturer. The building was extensively renovated prior to GWTP moving into it in 2010.

A Weeke Vantech is the centerpiece technology of GWTP’s woodshop.

There is no cost for students to attend the training programs provided they meet the qualifications. “Typically, anyone who is receiving unemployment or some other kind of public benefit can qualify for the program,” Rappe says. “Once we have someone’s interest, we want them to come out to visit us and see the program because when they see it they understand how real it is. They can see the projects that are being made and ask staff and students questions.”

In addition to substantiating their financial need, applicants have to pass a drug test and demonstrate basic math and language skills.

“We really want to make sure that our students are ready to succeed when they graduate,” Rappe says. “I tell them up front that we’re going to give them a lot of hard work to do. This is not open shop time. We make sure they understand right away that they are going to go through this very rigid curriculum and projects. At the end, we’re counting on them taking a job.

“This is almost like a backdoor into the industry that very few people know about or have access to,” Rappe adds. “There is no other place in the Chicago area where you can get this quick, intensive hands-on experience with real up-to-date equipment.”

The centerpiece of GWTP’s well-equipped woodshop is a Weeke Vantech CNC nesting router. “We’re fortunate that over the years our agency has managed things very conservatively so that when we needed to invest in equipment the money was there,” Rappe says. 

Overview of the GWTP Program
The GWTP program typically has up to 12 students per each 15-week session. Students attend class seven hours a day, five days a week. In addition to learning woodworking skills in the shop, students attend classes to learn how to read blueprints, strengthen their math skills and software programming.

Students are given more autonomy on machines after they demonstrate knowing safety rules.

the shop, safety is paramount, especially considering that nearly all of the students have no or little woodworking experience. “We have to get people confident to operate equipment quickly,” Rappe says. “Our safety curriculum revolves around a series of quizzes about the safe operation of each machine. Our students are always very closely supervised but over time they get more autonomy to operate a machine.”

During their first four weeks in the shop, students learn about different wood construction methods by making a series of four small upper cabinet boxes.

“The dimensions and materials for each box are identical. What we change is the type of construction starting with staples and screws, then plate joiner, pocket screws and CNC dowel construction,” Rappe says. “The goal is to give them success right away by making a physical project but also covering a lot of ground without going off in too many directions.”

With each succeeding box, students add new skills like print reading and applying math needed to develop a cut list. “Of course, they learn the technical skills with the tools,” Rappe says. “They typically start with precut parts for the first box. They do some cutting for the second box. Then they cut all the material for the third box and generate all of the material and parts for the next class with box four.”

“The class projects vary, but they are all designed to cover all of the basic equipment: table saw, jointer, shaper and planer,” Rappe says. Students also get exposed to working with a variety of materials including composite panels, wood, and solid surface materials. “Solid surface is great for helping them learn how to use hand-held routers and polishers. My strategy when I think about adding anything to the curriculum is how does it create the most value for our students and their future employers. We don’t want to teach skills that nobody needs.”

“We’re trying more and more to introduce technology sooner so that we can give them more time with the CNC,” Rappe adds. “As an advanced skill it would be easy to save if for the end but we understand that our students can graduate and go to work at any level with a CNC machine. They might be just an operator loading and unloading parts, an intermediate operator who is loading programs and loading parts or someone who is creating programs and editing them.”

Nearly every student who completes the 15-week training program graduates. “Essentially if someone is here every day and working to the best of their ability, then our commitment is to help them get a job,” Rappe says. “If they struggle with certain machines, then we find them an appropriate job. If they are the top their class and they aced everything, then we are going to find them an appropriate job at that level, too. We don’t leave anybody behind. There are employers who happily hire them knowing what they are getting.”

“One of the biggest stumbling blocks that prevents people from making it through the program is organizing their life around it,” Rappe adds. “This is a big-time commitment. It’s 35 hours a week and we demand punctuality and attendance. Probably the number one reason for someone getting separated from the program is they just can’t show up.”

Doug Rappe, who has been the lead instructor of the GWTP for 25 years, fully embraces the Woodwork Career Alliance’s skill standards and credential Passport program.

Proud Member of the WCA
GWTP boasts its membership with the WCA on its website. In addition to receiving a diploma, GWTP grads leave the program with a WCA Passport loaded with points for each skill they have demonstrated through the evaluation process.

“We are trying more and more to align our curriculum with the Woodwork Career Alliance skill standards,” Rappe says. “They are a great teaching tool. We are able to point to a nationally recognized group that says this is the way something is supposed to be done. This is how you know it’s right.

“I think that our students know that while it’s not a ticket to a job, the credentials are another important recognition of their achievement,” Rappe continues. “That in itself is a big deal.”

Being a WCA EDUcation-member also is important to making a favorable impression on the program’s funders. “Being a non-for-profit, it really helps to be part of an industry standard organization. I know that it is a huge deal in the metal working industry and over time I think woodworking employers will come to recognize the WCA credentials more and more.”

“Ultimately what gets me coming back year after year is seeing our students go to work in an industry that I love,” Rappe says. “Seeing them succeed and knowing that Great West Town has helped teach them skills and achieve a career is extremely rewarding.”

Learn more about the Greater West Town Training Partnership.


Woodwork Career Alliance Offers New Training Tool Kit

Online resources can be used to help establish training programs in the classroom or on the shop floor.

Nellysford, VA – April 2, 2018 –  The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America now offers a treasure trove of tools for training students and entry-level woodworkers. Unlimited access to the online vault of training resources is a valuable new benefit that comes with the $250 annual fee for EDUcation™ and MANufacturing™ membership in the WCA.

While most of the training tools were developed to help high school woodworking instructors implement the WCA’s Sawblade credential program, woodworking businesses can readily adapt them to address their specific training needs.

“Developing a structured program for training new hires from scratch is both time consuming and costly, especially for small shops,” said Patrick Molzahn, director of the Cabinet & Millwork program at Madison College in Madison, WI. “Businesses can use the WCA’s sawblade credential program and resources to train someone who is new or has limited woodworking experience on some of the most basic, yet important fundamentals of woodworking. It’s $250 well-spent.”

Each of the training modules includes a step-by-step learning plan and corresponding learning tools. For example, the learning plan for operating a table saw covers recommended reading assignments, instructional videos, and a checklist of saw safety, key parts and functions. The learning plan also features a series of table saw operator activities such as tapering, beveling and mitering. Rounding out the table saw module are evaluation tools for assessing the quality of the cuts. (Watch sample video: Tapering on a Table Saw.)

Other training modules available to WCA members include:

  • Layout and Measurement;
  • Milling;
  • Shaping;
  • Boring; and
  • Sanding.

“We plan to add new resources as often as possible,” Molzahn said. “We welcome contributions from industry, academia and others who are willing to help us build out our library.”

The training resources were detailed in a recent webinar presented by the Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers. Molzahn and Bert Christensen, woodworking instructor at Westosha Central High School of Salem, WI, discussed how they utilize the online tools in their respective programs to credential students to WCA skill standards. Click here, to watch the webinar on demand.

To learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of the Woodwork Career Alliance, visit WooodworkCareer.org.



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 achievements as a woodworking professional. More than 100 high schools and post-secondary schools throughout North America are WCA EDUcation™ members. To learn more about the WCA, how to get involved with its programs or to sign up to receive the quarterly WCA Pathways e-newsletter, visit WoodworkCareer.org.

AWFS Webinar Targets Integrating WCA Credentialing in the Classroom

The Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers presented a March 13 webinar focused on Woodwork Career Alliance accredited skills evaluator training. The webinar featured Patrick Molzahn, of program director of Cabinetmaking and Millwork at Madison College in Madison, WI, ,and Bert Christensen, instructor at Westosha Central High School in Westosha, WI. 

The duo provided useful ideas that educators can use to implement the WCA credentialing system in their classroom. In addition, Molzahn and Christensen discussed the library of videos, training resources, and educational materials that the WCA has assembled to make help woodworking teachers. The webinar is a shortened version of the CWWK Teacher Track session offered at the 2017 AWFS Fair.

View the PowerPoint presentation.





The ‘Canadian Connection’ Featured in Winter Pathways

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America recently released the Winter edition of Pathways, a quarterly newsletter devoted highlighting woodworking education and workforce development.

Highlights include:

Meet Mick McGowan: The WCA’s Canadian Connection
Read how this veteran cabinetmaker and college woodworking instructor is leading the charge to spark Canadian interest and involvement with the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA).

Building a Sturdy Woodworking Industry-Technical Education Partnership
Lutz Woodworks of Wylie, TX, has developed a strong bond with the Dale Jackson Career Center’s woodworking program.

NBMDA Sets the Gold Standard for New WCA Sponsorship Program
The North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) and 14 of its members have signed on as Gold Sponsors of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA). Their sponsorships will benefit WCA high school and postsecondary woodworking programs in the United States and Canada.

Read Winter Pathways