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
, 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

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.


IWF Memorabilia Auction to Benefit Woodwork Career Alliance

Proceeds from winning bids on sports collectables and other valuable merchandise will support the WCA’s woodworking workforce development activities.


ATLANTA – A batting helmet signed by new Hall of Fame inductee Chipper Jones and a microphone autographed by Grammy Award vocalist Taylor Swift are among the many and diverse collectables that will be auctioned during the International Woodworking Fair.

The silent auction is presented through a partnership of Expo Auctions of Sugar Hill, GA, and IWF. Net proceeds will benefit the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and growing a skilled woodworking workforce.

The silent auction will take place until 3:30 p.m. on each of the first three days of IWF, Wednesday August 22 through Friday August 24. IWF attendees will be able to view most of the auction items on display tables located near the press room B402. These and other auction items also are available for viewing on Expo Auction’s website. Bids will be accepted via text and online. Notifications will be sent to bid winners regarding payment options and pick up. Winning bidders, including those not attending IWF, will be charged for shipping if required.

Visit to view all auction items and learn how to participate in the bidding.

“IWF has been a long-time supporter of the Woodwork Career Alliance,” said Scott Nelson, WCA president. “We greatly appreciate being designated the recipient of this unique and fun fund-raising event. These funds will help us recruit more schools and woodworking companies to our credential Passport program.”

Learn more about the WCA at IWF booth 4154 or visit


About the Woodwork Career Alliance
The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America 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 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 and how to get involved with its programs, including sponsorship opportunities, visit


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

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






Woodwork Career Alliance’s Website Gets a Makeover

The champion of woodworking skill standards recognized throughout North America updates its website to better serve the industry’s need for workforce development.

Nellysford, VA – The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA), celebrating its 10th anniversary as the champion of woodworking skill standards, is pleased to announce the relaunch of The newly redesigned website has been reorganized and updated to make it easier for woodworking professionals, suppliers and educators to access information about the WCA skill standards, allied credential passport program and other valuable employee training tools and resources.

“We’ve added so much information and so many new features to the website since its launch that it was definitely time for a reboot,” said Scott Nelson, president of the WCA. “By freshening the design and tightening up the site map, the website is now much easier to navigate.” features detailed information about the WCA’s Woodworking Skill Standards and credential Passport program that are recognized throughout the North American woodworking industry. Separate pages have been developed for each of the WCA’s core membership groups, including:

EDUcation™ – Learn how secondary and postsecondary woodworking programs can benefit from subscribing to the WCA.
MANufacturing – Learn how woodworking companies can use the WCA Skills Standards and Passport program to train and incentivize employees.
INDustry™ Supporter – This new membership category opens up WCA participation to manufacturers and distributors of woodworking machinery and supplies. The $250 annual subscription goes toward helping defray the cost of the student credentialing process and student passports.
Student – Learn about the WCA credentialing process, the gateway to a rewarding woodworking career.
Employee – Learn how the cloud-based WCA Passport program can help you distinguish yourself and grow your earning potential as you develop new machine skills.

Since it was chartered as a 503c non-profit in 2007, the WCA has developed Skill Standards for more than 240 woodworking machines and operations and issued nearly 1,600 individual skill credential passports. The standards and passports are recognized by educational institutions and woodworking companies operating throughout the United States and Canada. The overarching goal of the WCA is to develop and grow the industry’s workforce by creating pathways for woodworkers to advance their careers and incomes as they learn new skills.
Learn more about Woodwork Career Alliance membership and the WCA Skill Standards and Passport program at the new


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 165 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

President’s Message: Thanks to Our Supporters and How You Can Become One

AWFS 2017 was a very busy and successful show for the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. We signed up four new schools for the 2017-2018 school year, three new MANufacturing™ members and obtained leads for an additional half-dozen MANufacturing members at the show in Las Vegas.

WCA was also presented a check for $751 at the AWFS Fair from Vero Software from the sale of a custom T-shirt. This donation followed $2,740 raised during a silent auction in April at the Woodworking Industry Conference organized by the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association and the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America. Both of these generous donations will benefit our Education Fund.

Whenever possible please support and recognize these outstanding industry supporters of WCA’s educational efforts.

In this edition of Pathways, WCA proudly announces the launch of its redesigned website: This is just our second generation of the website and I think you will find it more pleasing to the eye and easier to navigate. Please visit the site and let us know what you think.

In launching the website, I am also pleased to note that we have revised some of our membership categories. We have changed the name of our INDustry Member to MANufacturing Member and have added the category of INDustry™ Supporter. The INDustry Supporter category provides a way for manufacturers and distributors of woodworking machinery and supplies and other industry stakeholders to support the WCA. We have many schools and students who want to participate in the WCA credentialing program that have financial limitations preventing them from doing so.

Your yearly INDustry Supporter subscription will help defray the program cost for the school of your choice. If you do not have a particular school in mind that you want to help, your $250 annual subscription will go to a general fund to help schools and/or students in need of a helping hand.

INDustry Supporters will also have the opportunity to take advantage of our new sponsorship packages. Each sponsorship package – Bronze, Silver and Gold – comes with a progressively greater number of perks that will help the sponsor stand out in the marketplace as a supporter of the WCA and workforce development. Click here to learn more WCA sponsorship opportunities.

I hope everyone has a great Holiday Season!!!

Scott Nelson
Woodwork Career Alliance of North America

Vero Software Raises $751 for WCA with T-Shirt Promo

Vero Software Marketing Manager Paul Losavio is flanked by Patrick Molzahn and Scott Nelson of the WCA.

Vero Software of Tuscaloosa, AL, presented a $751 check to the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America during the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas.

Vero, whose programs include Cabinet Vision and Alphacam, was joined the Woodworking Network and the Architectural Woodwork Institute in sponsoring a limited edition “I Love Woodworking” T-shirt. The proceeds will help fund WCA programing.

“Education is absolutely vital to the success of the future of wood manufacturing,” said Paul Losavio, marketing manager for Vero. “The WCA is a great organization working to meet the educational needs of the industry and we are ecited to offer our support by raising money through this fun T-shirt fundraiser.”

“Vero Software has been a great supporter of the Woodwork Career Alliance,” said WCA President Scott Nelson. “We are very appreciative of the company’s many financial contributions to the cause of developing a skilled woodworking workforce.”

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

Closing the Skills Gap: A Call to Action

Kent Gilchrist is not an evangelist; he’s a woodworker. Still he is passionate about woodworking education and training and fervent in his belief that all sectors of the industry must come together to meet the long-standing challenge of developing and growing a skilled work force.

Gilchrist, owner of Fremont Interiors of Indianapolis, has been active in woodworking education and workforce development with the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) for more than two decades, including serving as president of the AWI Education Foundation. For the past 10 years he has also served as chairman of AWI’s SkillsUSA Committee and is technical chair of the national SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking competition. In addition to his role as a member of the Woodwork Career Alliance’s (WCA) Board of Directors, Gilchrist recently was appointed director of business and workforce development by the WCA. In this latter capacity, Gilchrist is charged with rallying industry participation in the Skilled Labor and Workforce Development Coalition, a new initiative backed by the WCA.

At the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas, Gilchrist will take to the main stage of the show floor to deliver a special presentation to woodworking executives, “Workforce Crisis – Job One,” 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 19. The free session will explore the root causes of the skilled labor shortage; where to find woodworking candidates; and how to educate, train and retain current employees.

Gilchrist also will discuss the Skilled Labor and Workforce Development Coalition and how industry associations, manufacturers and suppliers can get involved to become part of the solution. These topics will carry over in one-on-one conversations with woodworkers, suppliers and educators throughout the four-day show.

Connecting the Dots
“We all know that we have a skills gap problem. That conversation has been worn out,” Gilchrist said. “What I plan to talk about at the show is our need to discover why we have a problem and realize that it’s different from state by state and region by region. To combat the problem we need to research where the career and technical education schools are, where the employees are and what jobs are available to build a better database of information and build better lines of communication. We haven’t done a very good job of communicating when it comes to discussing the skilled labor shortage with one another. You can talk to two shop owners who have problems finding help but they might be two very different problems. One might need a skilled bench person and the other might be looking for a CNC operator. That makes a significant difference in where you can find that kind of worker.

“We need more members of our industry to be aware, utilize and support their local high school and postsecondary schools, as well as job training and apprenticeship programs,” Gilchrist continued. “We also need to continue to get the word out about the WCA’s Woodworking Skill Standards and how woodworking companies can integrate them into their training programs.”

Gilchrist added that it’s also important for industry to work together to promote woodworking as a viable career opportunity not only to students but their parents. “Our industry has long suffered from a negative image as being backward and dead end. We need to get the word out about the new technologies that we are using on our shop floors and how today’s woodworkers can advance their careers and grow their incomes by increasing their skills.”

Now is the time to work toward enacting positive change, Gilchrist said.

“We need to put the days of moaning about not being able find good help behind us and start addressing the problem head on,” Gilchrist said. “Unless people in this industry step up and get involved it’s not going to change.”