By Rich Christianson

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a champion of woodworking skills and careers.

The WCA was established in 2007 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity to actively promote and develop a skilled workforce for the woodworking industry in the United States and Canada. Ten years later, the WCA has created skill standards for more than 240 woodworking machines and operations; issued more than 1,300 Passports and signed up more than 165 high school and postsecondary woodworking programs as EDUcation™ members.

As a visible sign of its growing influence and acceptance, four states – California, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin – recognize the WCA’s credentials program for their respective state-sponsored career and technical education programs. In addition, the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association recognized the WCA as its 2016 Educator of the Year.

Other recent WCA milestones include the launch of Pathways, a quarterly e-newsletter that provides regular program updates of accomplishments and activities to WCA partners and stakeholders. 2016 also saw the release of the second edition of the WCA’s Woodworking Skill Standards, widely recognized throughout North America.

Heading into 2017, the WCA looks to build on its momentum. Plans include having a big presence at the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas this July including conducting multiple sessions of Accredited Skill Evaluator training and participating in participating in the fair’s College of Woodworking Knowledge seminar program.  The WCA also plans to roll out recommended training curricula to make it easier for schools and businesses to implement the WCA’s Passport program.

“As the former owner of a custom woodworking business, I know firsthand the challenge of finding qualified workers,” said WCA President Scott Nelson. “We’ve created a sturdy foundation and made a fair amount of progress over the last 10 years. I look forward to engaging more educational institutions and industry companies moving forward. Only by working together can we close the skills gap that plagues our industry.”

The WCA looks forward to continuing its engagement with the industry and ramping up efforts to position woodworking as a meaningful and prosperous career.”