By Rich Christianson

New Look, More Tools, Better Function

Nellysford, VA – The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) announces the release of the 2nd Edition Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards, the most significant update to the industry-accepted skill standards since they debuted in 2011.

Simultaneously, the WCA has released a redesigned Passport, the personal record of a woodworker’s skill standard credential achievements.
WCA developed the skill standards to support the woodworking industry’s ability to train productive woodworkers. The standards include a voluntary assessment program that allows woodworkers to demonstrate their competency in woodworking skills and earn credentials recognized throughout the United States and Canada.

Unveiled in August at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

The new skill standards expand on the original manual. Whereas the 2011 standards debuted with just over 50 machines and tools, the 2016 version covers over 100 machines and tools categorized in 12 sections ranging from layout to finishing. Newly added skill standards include performance criteria for operating vertical panel saws, horizontal spindle moulders, double end tenoners, laminate trimmers, hollow chisel mortises and roll coaters to name a few.

The new skill standards have also been streamlined and enhanced based on improvements suggested by WCA Accredited Skill Evaluators and credential passport holders. Each performance standard includes a pre-operation checklist, an operation checklist and considerations for evaluating an operator’s competency of the task at hand. Most skill standards have two levels – basic and advanced.

Observable, Measurable Skill Evaluations

Many of the machine operations have multiple observable skill standard measurements. For example, under Section 4 Shaping / Router Table, five separate performance standards cover rabbeting, edge shaping, end shaping, automatic feed and shaping curved parts.

The skill standards are used by WCA Accredited Skill Evaluators to observe and document a Passport holder’s competency of a particular skill standard. A woodworker who passes the evaluation has a credit for that skill added to his or her Passport. Each Passport holder’s skill standard accomplishments are stored in a Cloud-based registry and can be accessed at anytime from anywhere.

“The release of the new WCA skill standards is the result of hundreds of hours of writing and editing work,” said Scott Nelson, president of the WCA. “We can’t thank enough the many volunteers who contributed to helping expand and improve all of the skill standards contained in the new edition.”

For more information about the WCA Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards, Passport and Accredited Skill Evaluator programs visit

About the Woodwork Career Alliance
The Woodwork Career Alliance 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 advanced wood manufacturing industry. Since 2011, WCA has developed observable and measurable performance standards and assessments for more than 240 woodworking machine operations. In addition, WCA has issued over 1,000 Passports, a portable, personal permanent record documenting each holder’s record of achievements as a woodworking professional. More than 130 high schools and post-secondary schools throughout North America are WCA EDUcation™ members. To learn more about the WCA and how to get involved with its programs, visit