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Scenes from 2018 SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competition

Medalists for the 2018 SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking competition hailed from high schools and colleges located in six states.

The winners were announced June 29 at the Awards Ceremony of SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, KY. More than 6,500 career and technical education students joined in the excitement of hands-on competition in 102 different trade, technical, and leadership fields.

SkillsUSA 2018 Cabinetmaking medalists. Front Row, HIgh School: Tyler McLaughlin, Silver; Bradlee Benjamin, Gold; and Ravindra Dave, Bronze. Back Row, College: Andrew Dearing, Silver; Alex Hamacher. Gold; and Johnathan Schnyder, Bronze.

Bradlee Benjamin of Berks CTC – East Campus of Oley, PA, took home the Gold Medal for high school students. He was joined on the podium by Tyler McLaughlin of Yutan Public Schools in Yutan, NE; and Ravindra Dave of Cary High School of Cary, NC, Silver and Bronze medalists respectively.

Alex Hamacher of Washburn Tech of Topeka, KS, won the Gold Medal for colleges. Andrew Dearing of Utah Valley University of Orem, UT won Silver; and Johnathan Schnyder of Jefferson Community & Technical College of Louisville, KY, won Bronze.

Students competing in Cabinetmaking demonstrated competencies related to the building maintenance trade. Contestants built a small cabinet from the materials and drawings supplied. They were expected to read the drawings, lay out and cut the parts using a table saw, laminate trimmer, hand drill, hinge boring machine and various hand tools. The parts had to t be accurately assembled, sanded and adjusted to tolerances specified by the judges.

Kent Gilchrist, a chief assess skill evaluator for the Woodwork Career Alliance, served as technical committee chair of the Cabinetmaking contest. Other members of the technical committee included AWI SkillsUSA Committee Chair Kristine Cox, Rowland Woodworking, Jerry Allen, Allen Millwork Co., KS; Jerry Brewer, Ohio Valley Door Corp., IN;  NC; Greg Heuer, Architectural Woodwork Institute, VA; Ted Robinson, Technique Manufacturing Inc., KS; John Volpe, Volpe Millwork Inc., OH; Charlie Zizumbo, Salina Planing Mill Inc., KS.

About SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA is a vital solution to help close the skills gap. This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 360,000-member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions support SkillsUSA at the national level. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to: www.SkillsUSA.org.

Click here to view a video about the SkillsUSA Championships.

Thanks to Kristine Cox for taking and posting all of the photos used in the slide show, except the podium ceremony. Click here to view all photos and videos from the 2018 SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking.

Related reading: Idaho Cabinetmaking Student Russia Bound for WorldSkills

 

No Rest for the Weary

2018 has been a busy and productive year so far for WCA and it’s only going to get more so as we head to Atlanta next month for the International Woodworking Fair.

For starters, we’ve enrolled 260 new Passport holders into the program and issued 147 new certificates and credentials.

Since our last Pathways, WCA has added nine new EDUcation™ members and two new INDustry™ sponsors.  Please check out list of new members and sponsors in the Welcome section of this edition of Pathways. We are extremely grateful to the machinery and supply companies that have signed on as Gold and Sawblade sponsors. The funds generated by our new sponsorship program help support EDUcation programs and WCA outreach activities. If you haven’t already, I hope you will take a look at the benefits of becoming a WCA sponsor. The $1,000 annual fee for a Gold sponsorship includes having your company’s logo displayed in four quarterly issues of Pathways and on the WCA website.

In May WCA held Accredited Skill Evaluator Training at the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL) in conjunction with the MiLL Academy curriculum training. The $250 fee for the optional third day of training allowed the teachers to receive the WCA ASE training without additional travel and covers their school’s WCA EDUcation membership the 2018-19 school year.  Six high school teachers received the training including five from new schools and one from Peyton High School.  The next MiLL Academy is August 22-24, 2018. Learn more and register at themillco.org/academy. Speaking of the MiLL, be sure to read the feature in this month’s Pathways highlighting the MiLL’s involvement with WCA.

Last month I traveled to Louisville, KY, for the SkillsUSA National Competition in Louisville, KY.  Some 44 high school and 21 postsecondary students competed in the cabinetmaking competition once again organized by SkillsUSA with help from the WCA.  It was truly rewarding to watch students show so much excitement and skill on a very tough cabinet project. If you ever have the chance to attend the national competition you will be amazed at the level of talent that is displayed by the youth of America in approximately 90 occupational competitions. Congrats to all of the SkillsUSA competitors and winners. Kudos also to Ethan Harrison, who will represent the USA in the WorldSkills Cabinetmaking competition next year in Kazan, Russia. Read all about it in Pathways.

IWF 2018 is almost upon us, August 22-25 in Atlanta, GA. I hope you are planning to attend and if you are, please stop by our booth 4154. WCA will hold the Bandsaw Skills Challenge throughout the show with the assistance of Mimbus, developer of the Wood-Ed Table. The Wood-Ed table is an educational virtual reality simulator that will be used in the competition to test contestants’ bandsaw skills. To participate, simply stop by our booth.

Finally, Kent Gilchrist and I will present an educational workshop, “Growing Your Skilled Workforce” 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 22. Come and learn how to implement the WCA Skill Standards on your plant floor and develop your own training program. Click here to learn more and register.

Hope to see you in Atlanta!

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

Idaho Cabinetmaking Student Russia Bound for WorldSkills

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Ethan Harrison, a 2018 graduate of Blackfoot High School of Blackfoot, ID, will represent the United States in the biennial WorldSkills cabinetmaking competition Aug. 22-27, 2019 in Kazan, Russia.

Harrison earned the honor by winning a head-to-head competition at SkillsUSA last month in Louisville, KY. Runner-up, Hunter Thompson, a 2016 graduate of Cedar Ridge High School of Hillsborough, NC, will serve as the alternate if Harrison is unable to compete in WorldSkills 2019.

First held in 1950 in Madrid, WorldSkills aims to “raise the profile and recognition of skilled people and show how important skills are in achieving economic growth and personal success.”

“Both Ethan and Hunter did an excellent job in the run-off,” says Jeff Molzahn, a woodworking instructor at Madison College and newly appointed WorldSkills cabinetmaking advisor for SkillsUSA. In that advisory role, Molzahn will coach Harrison as he prepares for WorldSkills. He says he plans to build Harrison’s training program around the Woodwork Career Alliance’s skill standards.

“One of my goals is that Ethan will earn his WCA Green Credential during his WorldSkills training,” says Molzahn, a WCA accredited skills evaluator. “I think the WCA skill standards and evaluation process will dovetail nicely to get ready for WorldSkills. When you are getting your certification, you have an evaluator watching you work. While you might be really good on a table saw or other equipment, it’s a different experience having someone standing over and judging you. I think that experience will go a long way to help prepare Ethan for the pressure he will face on the big stage in Kazan.”

Both Harrison and Thompson qualified for WorldSkills by virtue of their solid placing in recent SkillsUSA competitions. Thompson won a gold medal in 2016. Harrison won silver in 2017.

Harrison says he only began learning woodworking as a sophomore at Blackfoot High School. His instructor, Peter Golinveaux, quickly realized his potential and encouraged him to compete in the state SkillsUSA competition. “He was my mentor and helped me with any question I had,” Harrison says. “I have really come to love woodworking; it helps me de-stress.”

Harrison says he prepared for WorldSkills using hand tools he purchased with scholarship money established in the honor of Rhett Fields, a Blackhawk High student who died in a motorcycle accident at age 17.  “Rhett was supposed to go to SkillsUSA nationals then he had his accident,” Harrison says. “He really inspired me and I really wanted to win this for him.”

Preparing for WorldSkills will dominate Harrison’s life during the next year. After the competition he plans to do missionary work then attend college. “I plan to build furniture to pay tuition,” Harrison says. “After I graduate I would like to have my own custom furniture shop making rocking chairs, tables and other one-of-a-kind pieces.”

Thompson already has a WCA Green Credential and is working toward his Blue Credential. He studied woodworking for four years under Keith Yow, woodworking instructor at Cedar Ridge High School, a WCA EDUcation member. “The WCA Passport program was a good structure to build my skills on,” Thompson says. “Mr. Yow, my instructor, was very helpful in my development and a great role model throughout my high school years.”

Thompson just completed his associate’s degree at Alamance Community College and will enter North Carolina State University as a junior this fall to pursue a degree in sustainable materials and technology. Upon graduating he wants to get a work for a large woodworking company. His ultimate goal is to run own furniture and cabinet business.

“Just being a finalist for WorldSkills was wonderful,” Thompson says. “It will look great on my resume.”

2018 SkillsUSA Medalists
In addition to the WorldSkills qualification contest, SkillsUSA featured the annual Cabinetmaking competition for postsecondary and high school students from around the country.

Winning medals at the college level were:
Gold — Alex Hamacher, Washburn Tech of Topeka, KS.

Silver — Andrew Dearing, Utah Valley University of Orem, UT.

Bronze – Johnathan Schnyder, Jefferson Community & Technical College of Louisville, KY. Jefferson College is an EDUcation member of the WCA.

Winning medals at the high school level were:
Gold – Bradlee Benjamin, Berks CTC – East Campus of Oley, PA.

Silver – Tyler McLaughlin of Yutan Public Schools, Yutan, NE.

Bronze – Ravindra Dave of Cary High School of Cary, NC.

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

SkillsUSA Shines National Spotlight on Career and Technical Education

Sixty-four students, including 44 state high school winners and 20 state college winners, competed in the 2017 Cabinetmaking competition of the 53rd Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference held June 19-23 in Louisville, KY.

The Cabinetmaking contest was organized by the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) and supported by the Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA). The WCA was represented by students of two postsecondary institutions and six high schools in this year’s competition – all winners of their state competitions. Included were students from Eastern Maine Community College of Bangor ME, and Washburn Tech of Topeka, KS. WCA EDUcation high schools that sent students included Saint Johnsbury Academy of Saint Johnsbury, VT; Dale Jackson Center of Lewisville, TX; Oswego High School of Oswego, IL; West Montgomery High School of Mount Gilead, NC; Macfarland High School of Macfarland, WI; and Peyton High School of Peyton, CO.

In addition, Andrew Dearing a student at Utah Valley University in Orem, UT, and an AWI Education Scholarship recipient, was a top 10 finisher in the postsecondary competition

Cabinetmaking was just one of 98 trades contested during SkillsUSA. Even a small sampling of the staged competitions makes clear the wide range of skills displayed including 3D printing, carpentry, crime scene investigation, nail care, robotics and web design.

Among the more than 15,000 people competing or attending the event were Kristine Cox, president of the AWI, and Kent Gilchrist, past president of AWI and technical chairman of the SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking competition.

Through her affiliation with the Carolinas Chapter of AWI, Cox has been actively involved with SkillsUSA in her home state of North Carolina for nearly 10 years. Other AWI chapters that participate on their state or regional level include Great Lakes, Heart of America, Iowa/Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio Valley, Texas and Wisconsin.

This year’s Cabinetmaking competitors were required to manufacture a nightstand from a supplied design and materials. Students not only had to be able to read the drawings, they had to develop cut lists; cut and fabricate all of the parts using a table saw, laminate trimmer, hand drill, hinge boring machine and various hand tools. The parts also had to be sanded, assembled and adjusted to tolerances specified by the judges.

“The projects that the kids do today are multiple times more complex than what they were five or more years ago,” Gilchrist said. “This year we introduced angled sides and angled dado joinery. This not only increased the complexity of assembly, but also the challenges of preparing the cut list and machining the parts. What’s really great is that we have seen school instructors really step up their games year after year to help prepare their students to meet these challenges.”

Why SkillsUSA Matters
SkillsUSA has grown to include 395,000 members, including students, advisors and industry partners. Putting on the annual national competitions represents about a $36 million industry investment, including about $250,000 for cabinetmaking. In addition to helping elevate the trades through the National Leadership Conference, SkillsUSA is a strong advocate of career and technical education on state and national levels.

“One thing for me, especially on the state level, it that I’ve learned not only to talk from the mountaintop to these kids that we have jobs but that we have good careers in this industry,” said Cox. “Getting involved in SkillsUSA gives us an opportunity to also get in front of parents, teachers and guidance counselors. Hopefully we’ll get the message out and all concerned will know that woodworking is a viable industry for a career and there is good money to be had. Until parents recognize that this is a viable career path, they are going to push their kinds into the path of a four-year college. But what’s good for some is not good for all.”

“I think it’s important for our industry to see that career and technical education is not a dying breed,” Gilchrist said. “It’s important not just from the perspective of cabinetmaking but for CTE as a whole. The SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference shows that there are so many students who are interested in the trades. That’s not to say that many of these kids won’t be going to college, but many may come back to the trades in a management position.”

“I talk up SkillsUSA whenever I can,” Cox added. “My father was deeply involved with Boy Scouts and just like an Eagle Scout there’s a certain expectation of demeanor and character that comes with a student being involved in SkillsUSA. If I have two candidates for a job in my shop and they are equal on everything but one of them has a SkillsUSA involvement, automatically that person goes to the top my list because I know that person not only has the hard skills and craftsmanship I’m looking for, but also has critical thinking and problem solving skills that gets taught through SkillsUSA.”

“I usually bring up SkillsUSA when I’m talking to someone who says that there is no skilled labor,” Gilchrist said. “Then I’ll ask, ‘Do you know about SkillsUSA?’ Like Kristine said, these kids have certain attributes for employment that transcend a specific skill. I encourage them to find and reach out to their state director and not to limit themselves to only looking at cabinetmaking programs. Some schools have architectural technology, carpentry or welding programs where kids learn skills that you can cross train into our industry. This is a good jumping off point to develop a relationship.”

Learn more at SkillsUSA.org.