Hofmann Joins WCA Board of Directors

Chris Hofmann, U.S. Lamello product manager for Colonial Saw of Kingston, MA, has been appointed to the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America’s Board of Directors for a three-year term.

Hofmann has been active in woodworking education both on the national and local stages. He is currently chairman of the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association’s Education Committee and is also a technical advisor for the woodworking and carpentry program at Silver Lake Regional High School in Kingston.

Hofmann brings 28 years of wood products experience to the WCA Board, including running a custom woodshop for which he hired graduates of woodworking programs.

“I was trained as a traditional preservation carpenter and woodworker during my undergrad time at the University of New Hampshire in the mid-90s, then worked as a framing foreman in Maryland before starting Hofmann Joinery, which I ran for ten years before having to close it during the Great Recession in 2010,” Hofmann said.

“During the Hofmann Joinery years, though, I hired graduates from the University of Rio Grande (OH) and Thaddeus Stevens Tech (PA) woodworking programs as part of my team doing ultra-high-end work in the Washington DC market.  Now in my current position, I’ve visited over 2,500 woodshops and understand  how badly the next generation of woodworking professionals are needed.”

Hoffmann said he decided to volunteer his time to serve on the WCA Board because, “I’ve always been interested in keeping our trade/craft alive and healthy and I believe that there is merit in the WCA initiatives.”

Presidents Message: Itching to Get Back Out

2021 will hopefully be a better year for all!  How can it be anything but?

We’re starting to see some signs of a return to normalcy. More students are returning to the classroom, if even for only a couple of days a week. The Woodwork Career Alliance enrolled 167 new candidates to the Passport credentialing program since the first of the year.

We’re very excited about our new online program for training accredited skill evaluators. By making this training more convenient for woodworking instructors, we’ll be able to grow the number of WCA EDUcation members able to administer the WCA Sawblade certificate to students. This in turn will help increase the number of students registered as Passport holders. You can read about the ASE online training program in this edition of Pathways.

I’m also very pleased to welcome Chris Hofmann, U.S. Lamello product manager for Colonial Saw, to the WCA Board of Directors. Chris brings a wealth of diverse industry experience, including serving as chair of the Woodworking Machinery Industry’s Education Committee.


With the pandemic lending a whole meaning to cabin fever, I suspect that I’m not the only one who looks forward to getting back to face-to-face networking events. The WCA will be participating at the 2021 AWFS Fair, July 20–23 in Las Vegas. If you attend the show, please be sure to visit us at booth #1979. WCA will also participate in the AWFS Fair’s educational programs. We will present a 2.5-hour workshop, “Building a Training Program for Your Workers” targeted for manufacturing HR managers, plant managers, plant superintendents, woodworking shop owners and other stakeholders. We’ll provide additional details, including the date and time of the presentation, when it becomes available.

Teachers of WCA EDUcation member institutions are invited to apply for one of the five $750 Financial Teacher Assistance Scholarships to defray costs to attend the AWFS Fair. Click this link to learn more and apply.

In closing, I would like to thank our EDUcation Partners:  Franklin International, Quickscrews International, Bessey Tools of America, Rockler, The Taunton Press Inc., Veneer Technologies Inc., Microvellum, CabWriter Software and Stiles Education for their support of the WCA’s EDUcation Essentials Benefit Package.

Scott Nelson
Woodwork Career Alliance of North America


Six Thumbs Up for WCA’s New Online ASE Training Program

Last fall, the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America rolled out an online training program for accredited skill evaluators (ASE).

The initial thrust of the new program is providing more opportunities for high school and postsecondary woodworking instructors to attain ASE status. By doing so, they are able to use the WCA’s Skill Standards to teach and test their students on a wide variety of woodworking operations from reading a tape measure and basic layout through safely setting up and running a table saw or jointer. They are also able to provide students with the chance to earn a WCA Sawblade Certificate.

Pathways reached out to a half dozen instructors who were among the first to take the online ASE training for their feedback. The consensus opinion was overwhelmingly favorable, further validating the WCA’s investment to offer ASE training online.

Following is a summary of each respondent’s online training experience, as well as why he or she chose to become an ASE.

Noah Werner, the technology education teacher at the School District of Greenwood, WI, teaches woodworking to students in grades 7 through 12.

“These are all high and middle school students, both boys and girls, with a wide variety of skill ranges,” Werner said. “A large number of my students come into my classes with little to no experience in woodworking. I have had a few that had done some work outside of school with a family member or friend but typically this is their first experience in the wood’s lab.”

Werner was the first educator to take the WCA’s ASE training course online. He offered a candid critique of the experience.

“The part that I struggled with the most was the (lack of) instant feedback that is given during a traditional in-person setting,” Werner said. “The other item I missed the most was the ability to see a true professional teach me exactly how they do things.”

That said, Werner opined that the positives of the online training program far outweighed any negatives.

“I could not be more impressed with the online training,” Werner said. “Both of my instructors, Patrick Molzahn and Greg Larson, were top notch and made the process quite enjoyable. I loved the flexibility the online training offered. I could do it on my time, which allowed me to slow down and really understand what the training was all about. I think having a reputable online training option for instructors will allow more instructors to become certified.”

Webster noted that becoming an ASE will help him take his woodworking courses to a higher level. “I am always looking to further my program and provide the best possible experience for my students. Being able to evaluate students for the WCA Sawblade Certificate allows me to provide them with a skill set that is both transferable to an industry setting and sets them up to be life-long woodworkers.

“My focus in all of my class is both career and life ready. I want my students to leave my classes with a knowledge base that will help them with their future careers but also provide them with some skills to make their lives more enjoyable.”


Staci Sievert is a technical education teacher at Seymour High School of Seymour, WI. After teaching social studies for 22 years, Sievert transitioned into technical education four years ago after the school district was unable to successfully fill the position. She is currently teaching introduction to woodworking through Woods 3.

Asked why she decided to become an ASE, Sievert said, “The more we can get our students’ learning aligned with industry standards the better it will be both for the students and for industry. All tech ed students can benefit from being certified as it means they have met benchmarks for taking accurate measurements and safely running equipment to industry standards.”

Sievert gave kudos to the online ASE training course. “The online training was excellent. Other than my dislike for videotaping myself, it was great.  I could plan the training at night when it was most convenient and my assessor’s feedback –both written and during our virtual meeting — was exceptionally thorough. Our virtual meeting lasted 30 minutes. It was a valuable conversation. I enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback from an expert in the woodworking field.”


Chris Hedges, was recently hired as program manager of the Cabinetmaking and Architectural Woodworking program that will debut this fall at Hocking College of Nelsonville, OH. He’s been teaching woodworking for 10 years and has also run a custom woodworking business.

Hedges said he decided to take the online ASE training “in order to offer an industry recognized credential to both traditional and non-traditional students.” He added, “I felt it was comprehensive enough to ensure that I have been adequately trained and prepared to qualify potential registrants as skilled users of relevant machinery.”

Hedges said he hopes the new woodworking program will “establish Hocking College as a nationally recognized educational program with a mission that focuses on training both the mind and the hand.”


Three of the WCA’s newest ASEs – Ron Dorn, Roy Ward and Craig Honeysett — are fellow instructors at Webster High School in Webster, WI.

Ron Dorn

Dorn has been teaching woodworking for 20 years. He said he took the training to become an ASE so that he could offer his more advanced students in the introductory woodworking class he teaches an opportunity to earn their Sawblade Certificate. “I see the certificate as a way for students and programs to set themselves apart,” Dorn said. “The training course showed that the WCA takes great care in precision and safety.”

Ward is a technology education teacher who has taught woodworking for 22 years. He is teaching an introductory woodworking class that occasionally includes a student with a more intermediate skill set. “I liked the idea of students earning a Sawblade Certificate as well as our program receiving CTE incentive grant dollars.”

Ward noted training and evaluating students for the Sawblade Certificate will be limited to those demonstrating more advanced skills and commitment. “We don’t plan on cranking out Sawblade Certificates,” he said. “We are excited though, to be able to do so for the students who deserve the recognition.”

Honeysett is a technology education aide. He’s been a woodworking instructor for five years and like Dorn and Ward is teaching woodworking newbies. “I like the idea of a program that provides the students with both a path to follow and rewards for achieving their goal.”

Honeysett and Ward both cited numerous advantages to online training, including: no travel expenses, no need to take time off, the ability to complete the program at his own pace and the advantage of using Webster High’s woodworking  equipment for the testing component of the ASE program.


Asked to point out any downsides to the online training, Ward observed, “We are very competent and comfortable setting up, adjusting and using the equipment. If we were not, it would be very beneficial to have an instructor to show us what to do. When you take a class virtually, you have to find the information versus a teacher presenting it to you. It is also easier to ask in-person versus in an email.”

Learn more about WCA accredited skill evaluators and training.


WCA’s New Online Accredited Skill Evaluator Training Opens Many Doors

As part of their online ASE training, candidates watch several short videos and make observations about what they see as right or wrong.

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America’s online accredited skill evaluator (ASE) training program, which debuted last fall, is a game changer in more ways than one.

For starters, it paves the way for more high school and postsecondary woodworking instructors throughout the United States and Canada to attain ASE status. This in turn opens doors for more students to participate in woodworking programs that incorporate the WCA’s industry-recognized skill standards and credentialing program.

The ultimate beneficiary is the North American woodworking industry. Wood product companies of all sizes and types stand to gain an influx of talented young men and women who have been trained to safely and properly set up and operate equipment based on the WCA’s measurable performance objectives. And while the initial roll-out of the online training program is focused on educators, it will ultimately allow wood products companies to accredit their training personnel as WCA skill evaluators as well.

The Impact of Online Training
Up until now, ASE candidates were greatly limited to when and where the training programs were offered. For example, WCA has traditionally scheduled training at the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas and the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. In recent years, several sessions have also been held at The MiLL in Colorado Springs.

One of the reasons Wisconsin has more schools with ASE instructors than any other state is because of the relative accessibility and frequency of training programs conducted by Patrick Molzahn. Molzahn is a WCA accredited chief evaluator and director of the cabinetmaking and millwork program at Madison Area Technical College.

Most instructors of high school and postsecondary woodworking programs are not as fortunate as their Wisconsin peers to have training classes scheduled within driving distance. In addition to the inconveniences of time and place, many instructors cannot afford the costs associated with traveling to a location to get their training to become an ASE. Without the ASE designation, they are unable to enroll their students into the WCA’s Passport credential program that includes evaluating and testing their students to earn a WCA Sawblade certificate and for more advanced woodworking students to work toward their Green credential.

The barriers that have limited instructors from pursuing their ASE status has also reduced opportunities for the WCA to grow its Passport credential program in schools throughout the United States and Canada. The situation became even more pronounced as the novel coronavirus pandemic largely put a kibosh on face-to-face training.

That Was Then; This Is Now
Greg Larson, vice president of the WCA, said the online ASE training program he was instrumental in helping to develop addresses most concerns.

“We were working on the ASE online training program long before the pandemic hit,” said Larson, who is also owner/director of the New England School of Architectural Woodworking. “We knew that we had to make it easier for more educators to take the training.”

“The biggest benefit for the candidate far and away is the ability to get trained anywhere in the world and at his own pace,” Larson said. “We’ve also added more material to the training session, so it’s more in-depth. Plus, the ASE manual is now the online training program. Anyone who is already an evaluator can get access to the training modules just by asking and use them as a reference or as a refresher whenever they want.”

While there certainly are trade-offs between live and online training, Larson said, “I think by far, the positives outweigh the negatives. I know some people will miss the live interaction with the trainer but on the upside we still get the opportunity to see them in action and have a more personal one-on-one interview with them than we could when we had a live session involving a half-dozen or so instructors at once.”

Staci Sievert, technical education teacher at Seymour High School of Seymour, WI, was among the first educators to take their ASE training online. She rated the training program as “excellent” and looked forward to putting her status as an ASE to use in the classroom. “The more we can get our students’ learning aligned with industry standards the better it will be both for the students and for industry,” she said. “All tech ed students can benefit from being certified as it means they have met benchmarks for taking accurate measurements and safely running equipment to industry standards.”

The ASE Online Training Program in a Nutshell
The process of becoming an ASE begins by an educational institution or woodworking company joining the WCA as an EDUcation or MANufacturing member respectively. Among the many perks of the $250 annual membership fee is a voucher for one free ASE training class.

Next, the candidate fills out and submits the online ASE application along with a current resume and two references who can attest to the candidate’s skill set.

Once qualified, the candidate takes the online ASE training course. It consists of 11 modules ranging from what an evaluator is and how WCA credentialing system works through an overview of the WCA’s Skill Standards and how to conduct an evaluation. After completing the 11th module, the candidate takes a quiz.

After passing the quiz, the candidate is tested on measurement operations, including using a tape measure and caliper. The candidate then video records him or herself performing the five tool operations that make up the Sawblade Certificate, including:

  • Jointer – Edge jointing first edge
  • Table Saw – Ripping
  • Table Saw – Edge rabbet/single blade or dado set
  • Portable Hand Sander – Sand solid lumber
  • Drill Press – Drill holes completely through material

The candidate’s video-recorded operations are reviewed by a WCA training coordinator, who also schedules an online meeting to talk to the candidate about his/her application and test results. In addition, the candidate is shown a series of short sample evaluation videos and asked to point out what’s right or wrong in each.

After being formally accepted as an ASE, the candidate views instructional videos about the WCA’s online registry where Passport holders’ credentialing records are maintained. The new ASE’s first official duty is to enter his or her Sawblade evaluation results in the registry.

Learn more about becoming a WCA accredited skill evaluator.

The Importance of WCA Skill Evaluators
Accredited skill evaluators are at the heart of the WCA’s Passport credentialing program. They evaluate the skills of candidates pursuing their credentials based on the WCA’s Skill Standards, recognized throughout the U.S. and Canada. The skill standards cover a wide range of woodworking equipment and operations from using a tape measure and basic layout to running a table saw and CNC router.

High school students enrolled in WCA EDUcation member woodworking programs are eligible to earn a Sawblade Certificate if their instructor is an ASE. In essence, the instructor evaluates a student on his or her use of a jointer, table saw, portable hand sander and drill press. Once the student has successfully completed those evaluations, the student is required to pass an online test to receive the Sawblade Certificate.

More advanced high school students can build on their Sawblade Certificate by striving for a Green credential, the first rung of the WCA’s credentialing program for woodworking professionals. To achieve Green, the student or professional must complete additional machinery evaluations and amass 800 hours of shop experience. Woodworking professionals can progress from Green to Blue, Red, Gold and Diamond.

The individual Passport holder’s achievements, accumulated as skill points, are recorded in the WCA’s online registry. The record of the Passport holder’s skillsets can come in handy when applying for a job within the woodworking industry.

The WCA’s credentialing program brings a new level of professionalism to the woodworking industry.

Metalworking, welding and automotive are among other trades that have developed credentialing programs to recruit, train and retain qualified candidates into their ranks.




Welcome New Members & Sponsors!

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America is pleased to welcome seven new EDUcation™ member schools, two new MANufacturing™ member, and three new INDustry™ Sponsors. We also welcome back eight sponsors for another year.

Thank you for your membership and support!

New EDUcation™ Members
Coleman High School, Coleman, WI
Columbine High School, Littleton, CO
Hutchinson High School, Hutchinson, MN
Oak Creek High School, Oak Creek, WI
Rosemount High School, Rosemount, MN
Swansboro High School, Swansboro, NC
West Ottawa High School, Holland, MI

Find WCA EDUcation™ woodworking programs in your area.

New MANufacturing™ Members
Allegheny Millwork, Lawrence, PA
Barlow Architectural Woodwork, Hampstead, NH

New INDustry™ Gold Sponsor
Cantek America, Blaine, WA

INDustry™ Gold Sponsor Renewals
AWI Quality Control Program,
Potomoc Falls, VA
Stanley, NC
Roseburg Forest Products,
Roseburg, OR
Cleveland, OH
Mooresville, NC

New INDustry™ Silver Sponsors
Black Bros.,
Mendota, IL
Gemini Coatings, El Reno, OK

INDustry™ Silver Sponsor Renewals
Eagle Mouldings
, Minneapolis, MN
IMA-Schelling, Morrisville, NC
Kerfkore, Brunswick, GA

View all WCA INDustry™ Sponsors & Supporters.

Learn more about the benefits of becoming a WCA sponsor.

Hocking College Cabinetmaking and Architectural Millwork Program to Debut this Fall

By Tracey A. Maine

Hocking College of Hocking, OH, has tabbed Chris Hedges to serve as program manager of the Cabinetmaking and Architectural Millwork program scheduled to launch this fall. The program is an EDUcation member of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. Hedges recently completed training to become a WCA accredited skill evaluator.

Originally from Circleville, OH, Hedges grew up in a home that showcased an assortment of antiques — all of which were hand-crafted by his ancestors. 

Chris Hedges, program manager of Hocking College’s new Cabinetmaking and Architectural Millwork program.

After high school, Hedges went on to earn both a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in sociology from Ohio University. During his second year as a graduate student, Hedges got an opportunity to teach at OU’s Zanesville campus and remained there for four years. 

Shortly before his daughter Aedan was born, Hedges was inspired to create a keepsake piece of furniture for her to pass down to her children and grandchildren one day. The result was a Craftsman-style dresser that ignited his passion for woodworking.  

The experience motivated Hedges to enroll in the University of Rio Grande’s Fine Woodworking program. There, he refined his talent for using both traditional and contemporary woodworking techniques. His efforts led him to win multiple awards at the 2007 Fresh Wood Student Design Competition at the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas.

In 2008, Hedges relocated to Knoxville, TN. There, he set up a cabinet and furniture making shop in the basement of his home. It eventually evolved into a fully operational furniture studio.

In 2014 he returned to Athens, OH. Since then, he’s been a contributing writer for Woodcraft Magazine and opened Aedan Works in Nelsonville, OH. Aedan Works is an independently run furniture store that specializes in bench-crafted, custom design cabinets and furniture.

Although this will be his first experience being a program manager, Hedges has been teaching woodworking classes in one form or another for the past decade.

“Attention to detail, creativity, a willingness to learn and the ability to self-determine” are the qualities Hedges says will allow students to be successful in his classes. He added that prospective students would work with a range of industry-standard machinery like table saws, shapers and moulders, and learn how to work with traditional hand tools such as saws and hand planes.

Students can either earn industry-recognized certificates through a leisure learning pathway or work toward a two-year degree with the possibility of earning a third-year internship/artist-in-residency position.

Overall, Hedges hopes his program will “establish Hocking College as a nationally recognized educational program with a mission that focuses on training both the mind and the hand.”

According to Hocking College’s Dean of Community Outreach and Workforce Development, Sean Terrell, classes for the Cabinetmaking and Architectural Millwork program are scheduled to begin in Autumn 2021. Terrell said that students can begin enrolling in the program once it receives HLC approval. He noted that this process could be completed as early as February 2021.

For more information on Hocking College’s Cabinetmaking and Architectural Millwork program, contact Program Manager Chris Hedges at hedgesc38563@hocking.edu.


WIRC Campaign Videos for Teens and Young Woodworking Pros

The launch of the Wood Industry Resource Collaborative (WIRC) “You Would” campaign includes a pair of videos aimed at promoting woodworking career pathways — one to teens and the other to young professionals.

The WIRC’s industry-wide career awareness campaign is led by AWFS, WMIA and WMMA. WIRC’s goal is to showcase the variety of career opportunities available in today’s woodworking industry to attract new talent.

The video above is geared toward adults in their heir mid-20s to late 30s who are seeking a career change, including military veterans. The video below was created with high school students in mind.

Learn more about the WIRC.

Wood Industry Career Awareness Campaign Now Live

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Wood Industry Resource Collaborative (WIRC) is excited to announce the launch of its industry-wide career awareness campaign, “You Wood.” Developed by several industry trade associations led by AWFS, WMIA, and WMMA, in partnership with Nashville-based INDUSTRIAL Strength Marketing, the WIRC campaign aims to communicate wood industry career pathways and attract new talent.

The “You Wood” campaign features a website with career resource information, including profiles of high-demand positions, career quizzes, links to educational resources like schools and scholarships, industry information, and an events calendar. The site will be continually updated, and features will be added, including industry pro spotlights, additional career pathway information, and custom video content.

“This campaign is the culmination of over three years of communication, research, and hard work,” says WMMA Chief Executive Officer Fred Stringfellow. “Companies in the industry are still struggling to find skilled workers as they grow to meet demand. We are excited to launch this campaign as a way to increase awareness; and to expand the pool of candidates for our future workforce.”

The campaign is geared towards two audiences: high school students and those in their mid-20s to late 30s who are seeking a career change, including military veterans. WIRC conducted a survey of these audiences in early 2020 and found that over 70% of all respondents had no awareness of wood industry careers; however, 23% would consider a career in the wood industry.

“We realize how critical it is to increase awareness of our industry and the career opportunities which exist for both students and those seeking a career change where they can utilize skills they’ve already developed in the workplace,” says WMIA President and CEO Larry Hoffer. “It is our objective that the You Wood website will serve as a portal for those unfamiliar with the wood industry to learn more and begin exploration of their wood industry-related career journey.”

Officially founded in 2018, the charter members of WIRC agreed to the following goals and identified those influencers who can effectively drive interest in the wood industry as a career path (e.g., parents, teachers, social media, and financial resources). WIRC’s goals include:

  • Attract Employees: Increase student and career-seeker awareness of wood industry careers; increase parent awareness of wood industry careers; increase student engagement; and increase High School counselor awareness of wood industry careers.
  • Retain Employees: Increase association memberships; improve association member engagement and satisfaction; and improve work culture at member companies.
  • Improve the Perception of the Industry: Develop and communicate stories about the industry; increase positive media coverage; increase engagement with legislative and educator communities; and involve more associations in WIRC initiatives.

“We hope that members of the wood industry will embrace this website and use it as their own,” says Adria Salvatore, AWFS Assistant Executive Director, Education. “This site is a step towards a sustainable skilled talent pipeline for our industry. We look forward to continuing the work and expanding opportunities and resources for employers and job seekers.”

Find the WIRC You Wood website here: ouwood.com

The campaign media will drive to these targeted landing pages based on audience:


Follow the WIRC campaign on social media:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Wood-Industry-Careers-102616575144662

Instagram: www.instagram.com/woodindustrycareers

LinkedIn: hwww.linkedin.com/company/woodindustrycareers

If a trade association would like to participate in the group, they are represented by its executive-level staff. Among the benefits of membership in the collaborative group: inclusion in the ongoing conversation about industry-wide topics, such as workforce development, and access to resources and information developed or shared by the group. For more information about WIRC and how to get involved, contact Larry Hoffer at lhoffer@wmia.org.

# # #

About the Wood Industry Resource Collaborative (WIRC)
The collaborative group is a consortium of trade associations, all related to the woodworking or the wood products manufacturing industry. The group’s purpose is to provide a collection of tools and solutions for the wood industry to attract and retain employees, while improving the perception of the industry. This group exists to connect industry associations with one another and support and strengthen the woodworking industry and their associations’ members by sharing information and resources.

Conversations that led to the founding of WIRC began in November 2017 with 10 industry associations, many of which are still WIRC members. The main objective of the early meetings of the group was to develop a unified solution to the challenges related to future workforce.

Current WIRC member associations include: AWFS® (Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers); AWI (Architectural Woodwork Institute); AWIEF (Architectural Woodwork Institute Educational Foundation); CPA (Composite Panel Association), International Woodworking Fair (IWF); NBMDA (North American Building Material Distribution Assn.); NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association); WCMA (Wood Component Manufacturers Association); WMA (World Millwork Alliance); WMIA (Woodworking Machinery Industry Association); and WMMA (Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America).

WCA Awards Woodworking Industry’s First Gold Credential

Richard Memory, left, and Chuck Buck pose with Memory’s Gold credential project.

Employee of Jefferson Millwork & Design grows his skills and career through a training program structured around the Woodwork Career Alliance’s skill standards.

NELLYSFORD, VA – Richard Memory has made woodworking history — again.

The trail-blazing employee of Jefferson Millwork & Design recently became the first professional woodworker awarded the Gold credential by the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA). In fall 2019, Memory was the first woodworking pro to earn the WCA’s Red credential.

Greg Heuer, secretary of the WCA, presented Memory his Gold credential certificate, pin and patch during a ceremony held on Jefferson Millwork’s shop floor attended by company managers and fellow employees. “Until 2007, woodworkers like everyone here had no nationally recognized path to demonstrate their progress and achievements,” Heuer said. “The WCA gives all of you that path. We celebrate this day by presenting the world’s first WCA Industry Gold credential to this gentleman.”

Richard Memory’s Gold project features a herring bone top made with scraps from Jefferson Millwork’s shop.

In addition to the Gold credential award recognition, Memory received a bonus check and a pay raise tied to Jefferson Millwork’s training program.

Memory’s quest for the WCA Gold credential was three years in the making. It began in 2017 when Jefferson Millwork signed up as a WCA MANufacturing member and implemented the WCA’s credentialing Passport system as the backbone for training apprentice woodworkers. Memory was one of the company’s first hires to participate in the program. To achieve the WCA’s Gold credential, Memory had to meet the following criteria:

  • Three years and at least 4,800 hours of professional woodworking experience.
  • 180 total tool points attained through a series of evaluations and testing for a variety of woodworking machinery. Among the new or heightened skills documented in Memory’s online registry maintained by the WCA, are spray finishing, and beam saw and edgebander operation.
  • Completion of a Gold Credential project. Memory successfully designed and created an occasional table made with oak and walnut veneered MDF and solid oak and walnut. The tabletop was constructed using 3/4-inch solid walnut arranged in a herring-bone pattern.

“I asked him to make something that he would be proud to have in his home,” said Chuck Buck, shop foreman of Jefferson Millwork and an accredited skill evaluator of the WCA. “He painstakingly made the herring bone top out of scrap materials from the shop. He did a tremendous job. I’m especially proud of the problem-solving skills he displayed, not only showing an understanding of what works but of what works best.”

Michael Corrigan, vice president and general manager of Jeffrerson Millwork, left, presents Memory with a bonus check for earning the WCA’s Gold credential.

Buck is in this eighth year with Jefferson Millwork of Sterling, Va. The company is a member of the Architectural Woodwork Institute’s Quality Certification Program. He said the WCA’s credentialing system provides a solid foundation for the 20-man shop’s training program. “It forces a higher level of training that goes beyond teaching employees on-a-need-to-know basis that is typical of what I’ve seen in my career. Too often I’ve found that an employee only gets trained to do something when you find that he doesn’t know how to do it. Because the day-to-day mindset is getting the product out, time isn’t devoted to teaching what’s necessary for that employee to fully develop his skill sets and make decisions on his own.

“Our training program makes us make time for that interaction,” Buck added. “It makes me feel good to be able to pass along the information I have gained in my career and to see Richard become a better, more-rounded woodworker.”

Memory, who had no previous woodworking experience before joining Jefferson Millwork, said he is humbled by his latest achievement.

“I never expected to be the first one to earn the Gold credential,” Memory said. “It’s very exciting. The WCA’s credentialing program helped me master tools and develop confidence to take on creative projects that I never thought I would be able to do before both here at work and at home.”

Having successfully fulfilled the requirements for WCA’s Green, Blue, Red and Gold credentials, Memory said he has his sights firmly set on Diamond, the pinnacle of the WCA’s five-tiered credentialing program.

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 300 woodworking machine operations. In addition, WCA has issued more than 3,000 credentials, a portable, personal permanent record documenting each holder’s record of woodworking skill achievements. More than 140 high schools and post-secondary schools throughout North America are WCA EDUcation™ members and a growing number of woodworking companies have joined the WCA as MANufacturing™ members. To learn more about the WCA and how to get involved with its programs, including sponsorship opportunities, visit WoodworkCareer.org.

Second Chance IWF Connect Virtual Auction Benefits the Woodwork Career Alliance 

Net proceeds from the virtual auction featuring 130-plus bid items will support the WCA’s ongoing efforts to help develop and grow a skilled woodworking workforce in the United States and Canada.


Jeremy Bulloch signed Star Wars Boba Fett mask is among items available in the WCA fundraising auction.

NELLYSFORD, Va. – The IWF Connect virtual auction supporting the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America has been extended through 9 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 7.

The virtual auction includes more than 130 items, including autographed sports items, framed artwork, jewelry and exclusive destination get-a-way packages. Net proceeds of the fundraiser will benefit the WCA’s ongoing efforts to develop and grow a skilled woodworking workforce.

The not-for-profit WCA’s woodworking skill standards and credentialing Passport system are used by high school and postsecondary woodworking programs throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, a growing number of woodworking companies are joining the WCA to craft their training programs around the WCA’s workforce development tools.

IWF Connect finished its five-day run on Oct. 26. The extended virtual auction is being orchestrated by Expo Auctions of Sugar Hill, GA. It will include:

  • Jimmy Buffett signed guitar.
  • Jeremy Bulloch signed Star Wars Boba Fett Disney collector’s edition mask.
  • 7mm white freshwater pearl necklace (85-inch length).
  • Drive Your Dream Car on a Racetrack, three-night stay at a 4-Star Las Vegas Strip hotel for two.
  • Two-night stay in Albuquerque, NM, with Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride for two.
  • Signed sports items by Rocket Ismail, Notre Dame; Calvin Johnson, Georgia-Tech; Amari Cooper, Alabama; Emmitt Smith,  Florida; DaShaun Watson, Houston Texans; and many more.
  • Framed collages commemorating the Kansas City Chiefs 2020 Super Bowl Champions, Harry Potter book series, 50 years of Masters’ Champions, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and more.
  • Plus, bourbon collections, framed art by Thomas Kinkade and much more.

Jimmy Buffet signed guitar.

In addition to bid items, the virtual auction includes a Donate to the WCA button.

As Easy as 1, 2, 3
To participate in the virtual auction and review all auction items:
1.   Visit the WCA Virtual Auction to view all of the items.
2.   Register your mobile phone number, email and name.
3.   Bidding closes at 9 p.m. EST Nov. 7.
Text notifications will be sent to the winning bidders. Payment will be due upon the close of the auction. Shipping is included in the winning bid price to the lower 48 states.

“IWF has been a tremendous supporter of the Woodwork Career Alliance over the years,” said Scott Nelson, WCA president. “We sincerely appreciate that the WCA has been designated to receive the net proceeds of this fun fundraising program. This will help us enlist more schools and credential more students and professionals.”

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 300 woodworking machine operations. In addition, WCA has issued more than 3,000 credentials, a portable, personal permanent record documenting each holder’s record of woodworking skill achievements. More than 130 high schools and post-secondary schools throughout North America are WCA EDUcation™ members and a growing number of woodworking companies have joined the WCA as MANufacturing™ members. To learn more about the WCA and how to get involved with its programs, including sponsorship opportunities, visit WoodworkCareer.org.