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  • in reply to: EDU Membership #7454

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster
    Seven industry suppliers have renewed their pledge

    They each support Woodwork Career Alliance EDUcation™ by participating in the Essentials™ Donor program for the academic year running through June 30, 2017.

    For those educators still on the fence about re-subscribing or signing up by the October 31 deadline, consider this: The total value of the Essentials donation package EDUcation™ members are eligible to receive far outweighs the $250 annual registration fee.

    The WCA EDUcation™ membership is at 130 U.S. and Canadian institutions and counting. The program is designed to help secondary and postsecondary woodworking training courses enable students to become active participants in the WCA Passport credentialing programs. As important benefits, instructors qualify for free Accredited Skill Evaluator training and students enrolled at EDUcation™ woodworking programs can earn a WCA Sawblade Certificate in their first year.

    Patrick Molzahn, a member of the WCA Board of Directors and instructor at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, WI, rattled off several other EDUcation™ member benefits for woodworking instructors. “Networking with peers and access to regional and national in-service activities, training and financial support to attend IWF and the AFWS trade shows are huge. Plus, the ability to use standards created by the industry for industry ensures that you are teaching relevant subject matter and communicating expectations required to succeed in today’s woodworking industry.”

    “The WCA is grateful for the continued support of our industry partners,” Molzahn added. Many schools operate on extremely tight budgets. Our donors help provide materials and resources students might not otherwise have access to.”

    The following seven companies have each pledged to continue their support of the WCA Essentials donation package for the third consecutive year.

    • Bessey Tools North America of Cambridge, ON, donates a clamp package.
    • Franklin International of Columbus, OH, donates two gallons of Titebond II, a water-resistant adhesive suitable for interior and exterior projects.
    • Quickscrews donates a $100 credit toward the purchase of fasteners
    • Rockler of Medina, MN, donates a product package.
    • Stiles University of Grand Rapids, MI, offers woodworking instructors one free tuition registration annually for any of more than more than 20 basic Stiles University courses. They range from CNC to electrical troubleshooting.
    • Taunton Press of Newtown, CT, donates complimentary digital memberships to FineHomebuilding.com and http://www.FineWoodworking.com.
    • Veneer Technologies of Newport, NC, donates 150 square feet of decorative hardwood veneer.

    Product donations are scheduled to ship at the donor’s expense to EDUcation™ institutions in November.

    Why Companies Donate

    Luke Henry of Franklin International said supporting WCA is in keeping with the family-owned company’s mission to support the community whenever possible. “Investing in the education of young woodworkers is something we have the privilege of being able to do,” Henry said. “We want to continue being a part in the education process of woodworking and have found that we have been able to achieve that through our annual donation of Titebond to EDUcation™ schools.”

    “Stiles University has and will continue to support WCA and EDUcation™ due to our belief that it is the major education/training venue for our industry,” said Duane Griffiths, director of Stiles University. “Its foundation and continued success is driven by far-thinking leaders who understand the importance of education and training. The top woodworking programs throughout the United States and Canada are members.”

    Rick Gentry of Quickscrews noted, “We are firm believers that the woodworking industry is great and rewarding at many levels. The more youths we can get involved, the stronger our industry will be for years to come. We also believe that college is not the only route to a successful career. We are excited to continue our support for EDUcation™ schools.”

    Scott Eckmann, vice president of marketing for Rockler, said, “The WCA mission aligns well with Rockler’s mission, which is to help woodworkers of all skill levels create beautiful furniture, cabinetry and other hand-crafted items. We hope students enjoy using our products in their classrooms and keep using our products as they progress in their woodworking experiences.”

    “Promoting the use of veneer is important to the survival of our industry,” said Alan Hubbard of Veneer Technologies. “There are a lot of materials in our marketplace these days, none of which are as environmentally friendly as wood veneer. We enjoy hearing about student projects made with our donations.”

    Industry suppliers interested in helping schools by participating in the WCA’s Essentials donation package, should contact Greg Heuer, WCA secretary, at gheuer@woodworkcareer.org or phone (434) 298-4650.

    Additional Resources
    WCA EDUcation™ Membership
    WCA EDUcation™ Benefits
    WCA EDUcation™ Checklist [PDF download – 730KB]
    WCA EDUcation™ Institutions
  • in reply to: INDustry™ #7453

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster
    The revolving door is no more at Appalachian Engineered Flooring.

    The North Troy, VT, company has experienced a dramatic decrease in employee turnover since implementing the Wood Career Alliance’s Skill Standards and related Passport program in 2014. Along with workforce stability have come enhanced quality and increased productivity.

    In addition, Jennifer Fraser, General Manager of Appalachian, said embracing the WCA programs helped the flooring maker get its “house in order” and has meshed well with the company’s lean manufacturing initiatives.

    “At one point we were losing up to three employees a month,” Fraser said. ”We lacked structure. Things were chaotic and stressful. People would just up and leave, which added to the stress. We knew we had to do something if we were going to turn things around. Instituting a solid structure based around the WCA Skill Standards really made a big change for the better.”

    Fraser learned about the WCA Skill Standards via the Northern Forest Center in 2013. She said she worked closely with Greg Heuer, WCA Secretary, to develop standards tailored to Appalachian’s operations.

    “The WCA Skill Standards are largely crafted for woodworkers involved in the design and manufacture of cabinets and furniture,” Fraser noted. “Ours is a more mechanized type of operation for laminating and processing sawn wood faces into a final product. Greg and I essentially wrote our own book of skill standards customized to our site. Writing the first skill standard was definitely challenging – a lot of back and forth, a lot of revisions – but once we got that first one done it all rolled very quickly.”

    Appalachian’s skill standards book now covers more than 15 skill sets spanning 90 pages and counting. While it has been customized to better meet the company’s needs as an employee development tool, it follows the WCA’s Skill Standards in terms of goal setting based on achieving higher “levels” of proficiency for any given task. In addition, Appalachian’s skill standards incorporate many of the WCA’s “basic skill” items such as demonstrating the ability to read a tape measure or caliper.

    “Essentially when a new employee comes onboard he is given a copy of the skill standards so that he knows what he will be trained on. Training is always a challenge at any woodworking business, not only because of high turnover, but because when you lose someone with experience you lose the little tricks he has developed that are hard to document. We have added one step prior to the standards. It’s a training checklist that an employee has to go through before he can even press the button of a machine.

    Fraser referred to her copy of Appalachian’s skill standards as a “living-breathing” document. “I write on my working draft whether I messed up on grammar, ideas for revisions or additions to specific processes or the need to add more pictures. It gave us the structure to grow on to standardize our lean processes, including things like how to grease the moulder.

    Skill Standards Dovetail with Lean Objectives

    Appalachian’s skill standards dovetail nicely with its lean manufacturing initiatives implemented with the help of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association, a WCA development partner. The company’s lean program includes a cross-training matrix. Fraser said about 80 percent of Appalachian’s production employees can perform the majority of tasks.

    “It’s amazing how well the standards and matrix fit together,” Fraser said. “We essentially defined each person’s position and tasks and job descriptions. It was the first step into standardization of some of the jobs here and provided structure for us to cross train people on multiple operations. It really has brought everything together. It triggers the training and puts a structure in place for everyone to be on the same page and know what they need to do to advance to new levels of performance.”

    In addition to implementing its skill standards, Appalachian has reaped numerous other benefits since joining the WCA as an INDustry™ member including having access to exclusive WCA training materials and furnishing each of the company’s 20-plus shop floor employees with a WCA Passport. The passport is a portable credential that documents the individual’s skill standard achievements. These achievements are maintained in a database by the WCA.

    Fraser is a passport holder and also is the lead auditor for “stamping” the passports of employees who demonstrate achievement of new skills. She said adoption of the skill standards and passport program have brought focus to production operations and clarity to the opportunities for career advancement.

    The combination of skill standards and passport program is also useful for employee reviews. “We can discuss performance and goals based on the standards and their passport achievements,” Fraser said.

    “We’re a growing company and investing in new equipment,” Fraser added. “The neat part is that we have a working document that we can revise and update and continuously improve just like our lean manufacturing program.”

    “The passport program has motivated our people to see woodworking as a career instead of just a job,” Fraser said. “It is exciting to see them want to grow their skills. They know their passports are transferrable if they go somewhere else and do not have to start at ground zero to prove themselves all over again. Fortunately for us they are happy to be here.”

    Learn more about WCA Industry™ Subscriber Benefits – Click Below.
    http://woodworkcareer.org/wca-industry-membership/

  • in reply to: Skill Standards #7452

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster
    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 WoodworkCareer.org.

    ###
    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 http://www.WoodworkCareer.org.

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  • in reply to: Accredited Skill Evaluator Training #7445

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster
    The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America, in its ongoing efforts to proactively address the woodworking industry’s critical skilled worker shortage, has scheduled a trio of events to train and certify Accredited Skill Evaluators.

    Accredited Skill Evaluators are responsible for assessing and awarding tool points to woodworking students and professionals participating in the WCA’s Passport credential program. Enroll Here.

    Here’s a rundown of the three up-coming training sessions:

    Friday, October 28, 2016
    12:30 p.m. — 4:30 p.m.
    Madison Area Technical College
    Madison, WI

    Note: This program is SOLD OUT; a wait list has been started. Register to get your name on the list.

    Patrick Molzahn, director of the Cabinetmaking and Millwork program at Madison Area Technical College and founding member of the WCA Board of Directors, will instruct this evaluator training session. It represents the seventh ASE training Molzahn has conducted at the college’s state-of-the-art woodworking education center since April 2011.

    “Madison College is pleased to be a partner in the WCA credentialing system,” Molzahn said. “The WCA Skill Standards are integrated into our curriculum and we offer the credential as a voluntary opportunity for our students. Our employers frequently ask students to see their passport when interviewing. The WCA has helped us refine our curriculum and better prepare graduates for employment. Furthermore, it helps define a career path and offers a vehicle for continuous improvement.”

    Pre-registration is required to attend this session. The 16 seats are currently Sold Out, and we’ve started a Wait List. (Two of the “taken” seats are tentative at this writing.)

    Learn more and register.

    8:00 a.m. — Noon
    Doubletree Oceanfront Hotel
    Atlantic Beach, NC

    The North Carolina Trade and Industrial Education Teachers Association recently added a WCA Accredited Skill Evaluator training course to its Professional Growth Workshop. Scott Nelson, president of the WCA, will serve as instructor of the program. Through special arrangement with the NCTIETA, WCA has five guest seats available for out-of-state instructors to participate at the discounted price of $50. Pre-registration is required.

    Learn more and register.

    July 19-22, 2017
    Las Vegas Convention Center
    Las Vegas, NV

    Mark your calendar to attend one of the WCA’s Accredited Skill Evaluator training sessions to be held during the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas. WCA is partnering with the Association of Woodworking and Furnishing Suppliers to organize these classes during North America’s biggest woodworking event of 2017. Additional details and registration is forthcoming.

    Learn more about the AWFS Fair and bookmark this link –> http://www.awfsfair.org

    To participate in a WCA Accredited Skill Evaluator training course, you must:

    1. Enroll in the program and own a Passport;
    2. Apply to be an Evaluator and send your completed application to Greg Heuer; and
    3. Complete, pass and print your certificate from the Skill Evaluator Online Training.

    It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Learn more about these ASE requirements.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Greg Heuer.
  • in reply to: Newsletter #7443

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster


    WCA Pathways Newsletter



    Fall 2016



    President’s Message: Busy Times



    A lot has happened between the release of our first WCA Pathyway’s newsletter in July and this second installment. IWF 2016 was a huge success for the Woodwork Career Alliance and the attendance at our booth was overwhelming at times. The roll out of our new Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards book and Passport were welcomed with great enthusiasm!





    Woodwork Career Alliance Updates Skill Standards, Redesigns Credential Passport



    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.





    Skill Standards Are Flooring Maker’s Passport to Success



    The North Troy, VT, company has experienced a dramatic decrease in employee turnover since implementing the Wood Career Alliance’s Skill Standards and related Passport program in 2014. Along with workforce stability have come enhanced quality and increased productivity.





    WCA Slates Skill Evaluator Training Sessions



    The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America, in its ongoing efforts to proactively address the woodworking industry’s critical skilled worker shortage, has scheduled a trio of events to train and certify Accredited Skill Evaluators.





    Industry Donors Add Value to WCA EDUcation Membership



    They each support Woodwork Career Alliance EDUcation™ by participating in the Essentials™ Donor program for the academic year running through June 30, 2017.


    << SHARE YOUR NEWS & VIEWS >>

    THANKS SPONSORS!

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  • in reply to: General Topics #7008

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    Share Your News & Views

    The Woodwork Career Alliance invites EDUcation, INDustry, Evaluators and Sponsor partners to send us news and press releases about education-related success stories, events and more. We also encourage submission of guest blogs to be featured in the Pathways newsletter. Send items for consideration to http://woodworkcareer.org/forums/contact.

  • in reply to: EDUcation™ #6996

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    SkillsUSA 2016

  • in reply to: EDUcation™ #6991

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    Peyton Training

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
  • in reply to: General Topics #6984

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    President's Message

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
  • in reply to: EDUcation™ #6938

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    Cabinet Vision Sponsors WCA EDUcation Poster

    Cabinet Vision from Vero Software of Tuscaloosa, AL, a leading CAD/CAM solution for the woodworking industry, contributed major financial support for the 2016-17 EDUcation poster developed by the Woodwork Career Alliance.

    The poster, designed to be prominently displayed in the wood shops of WCA EDUcation member high school and postsecondary schools, promotes the WCA Passport program. In addition to being mailed to all WCA EDUcation high school and postsecondary institutions, the poster will be handed out at the WCA’s booth, #4067, during the International Woodworking Fair, Aug. 24-27 in Atlanta.

    Cabinet Vision software is used by cabinet, furniture and other wood product manufacturers to automate and integrate product design through manufacturing, saving time, eliminating costly mistakes and increasing productivity. Learn more at http://www.cabinetvision.com.
    EDU Poster

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
  • in reply to: Accredited Skill Evaluator Training #6934

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    Woodwork Career Alliance to Train Skills Evaluators at IWF

    Nellysford, VA – July 5, 2016 – The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the woodworking industry’s critical skilled worker shortage through the development and assessment of skill standards, will conduct seven sessions to train Accredited Skill Evaluators during the International Woodworking Fair, August 24-27 in Atlanta.

    Accredited Skill Evaluators are responsible for assessing and awarding skill stamps to woodworkers participating in the WCA’s Passport credential program. The WCA Passport is a portable, personal, permanent record of skill achievements by the individual holder as a woodworking professional. The WCA has developed observable and measurable performance standards and assessments for more than 240 woodworking machine operations so far.

    Through cooperation with IWF management, the WCA is offering a “show special” $100 registration fee for the skill evaluator training sessions. The $150 discount is being evenly split by IWF and the WCA.

    Individuals interested in participating in one of the three-hour sessions are encouraged to register in advance. Each session will be limited to four participants. The sessions are scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon on all four days of the show and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday at the Georgia World Congress Center.
    “We are very thankful of IWF’s generous support and willingness to host these training sessions,” said Scott Nelson, president of the WCA. “Accredited Skill Evaluators play a crucial role with the WCA Passport program. IWF is providing us with a great opportunity to add new evaluators to the ranks.”

    For more information about the WCA’s accredited skill evaluator program visit WoodworkCareerAlliance.org. To register for one of the training sessions, contact Scott Nelson, WCA president, at snelsonwca@gmail.com or phone (402) 610-6043.

    In addition to the training sessions, WCA representatives will provide information about the Skill Standards and related Passport program during IWF at booth #4067. Learn more at WoodworkCareer.org.

    #####
    About the Woodwork Career Alliance
    The Woodwork Career Alliance 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 over 1,000 Passports, a portable, personal permanent record documenting each holder’s record of achievements as a woodworking professional. More than 125 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 http://www.WoodworkCareer.org.

    Candidates
    Accredited Skill Evaluators who pass muster through the Woodwork Career Alliance’s training regimen are responsible for assessing and awarding skill stamps to woodworkers participating in the WCA’s Passport credential program.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
  • in reply to: EDUcation™ #6919

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    WCA Pioneer Committed to the Skill Standards Cause
    By Rich Christianson

    If you want to get a better understanding of what makes the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America’s (WCA) woodworking skill standards tick and why they are important, then a conversation with Patrick Molzahn is a good place to start.

    Molzahn is director of the Cabinetmaking and Millwork program at Madison Area Technical College LINK: http://madisoncollege.edu/program-info/cabinetmaking-and-millwork in Madison, WI. He has been actively involved with the WCA and its initiatives to develop and promote industry recognized woodworking skill standards from the get-go. In 2005, he attended the first meeting where ideas for creating skill standards for the North American woodworking industry were hashed out.
    MATC table saw
    When the WCA was formally chartered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2007, Molzahn was invited to serve on the board of directors and still does. He helped develop, write and edit many of the 240 and counting skill standards, each with a set of observable and measurable evaluations. As a WCA board member, he was anointed as one of the program’s first chief evaluators, charged with training other educators to be credentialed as woodworking skills evaluators. Over the past four years he has personally credentialed some 60 evaluators.

    In addition, Madison College was the beta test site where the first students were certified after the initial set of skill standards were released in 2012. “We credentialed the first five students in the nation,” Molzahn said. “We also held the first evaluator training.”

    Molzahn was an early adopter of WCA skill standards by integrating them into the Madison College cabinetmaking and millwork curriculum. He also authored updates for the fifth edition of Modern Cabinetmaking LINK: http://www.g-w.com/modern-cabinetmaking-2016 and incorporated the WCA skill standards in the book’s text. Included is a chapter Molzahn wrote that introduces students to woodworking careers. Three other new chapters written by Molzahn include an overviews of the cabinet industry, CNC machinery and sharpening.

    Why are the WCA woodworking skill standards important?

    Molzahn said the skill standards create a common roadmap that woodworkers can use to chart a course for their personal career growth and that woodworking companies can use to guide training programs to develop a more highly skilled workforce.
    “If you look at the history or our industry, you’ll see that it grew out of a mom and pop industry, especially for architectural woodwork shops that were small family run businesses as many that still are,” Molzahn said. “Everybody had their own quality target. That’s why the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) standards were initiated in the late ‘50s to define what constitutes quality and accuracy. Just like the AWI standards, the WCA skill standards are designed to bring us all together so that we are on the same page for what our expectations are.

    “The skill standards work really nice for woodworking companies because they can link the steps of the standards to a pay scale,” Molzahn continued. “This creates a path of advancement for workers; it gives them goals for continuous education. They know if they reach a higher level of certification they are worth more.

    “The WCA skill standards are also helping to legitimize woodworking as a professional trade. Think of ASE, Automotive Service Excellence. You always see the ASE certificates on the wall and the patches on the mechanics’ uniforms. In a similar way, WCA is helping provide an identity for the woodworking profession.”

    Madison College’s Skills Program

    A “self-taught woodworker,” Molzahn graduated with a BFA and post-baccalaureate from the Art Institute of Chicago and then ran a one-man architectural woodwork shop in Madison. In 2000, He traded in his business to become program director of the Cabinetmaking and Millwork program at Madison College where he had taught part time for a couple of years.

    Today the program Molzahn oversees is housed in a well-equipped facility valued at $1 million and organized around lean principles. His students comprised a “mixed bag” in terms of age, gender and woodworking experience. The average age of the 16 students currently enrolled in the program is 26. Molzahn said he once had a 62-year-old student; upwards of 25% of his students have been female and he has taught four international students.

    The cabinetmaking and millwork classes run 32 hours a week for about nine months. “We start with layout in the fall and every unit starts with manual tools,”Molzahn said. “For example, students will start with hand saws then portable power saws and eventually work up to a sliding table saw. In their final quarter, students get exposure to CNC machining including Alphacam training.”

    Successful students graduate with a one-year technical diploma and a guarantee of landing a woodworking job if they are so inclined. In addition, many graduates earn their Green Certification, the first of the WCA’s five levels of professional certification LINK: http://woodworkcareer.org/credential_landing/wca-credentials-2/. Some students who have had prior professional woodworking experience are able to achieve Blue Certification.

    The popularity of the program is underscored by the perpetual waiting list that has existed since 2001. “We have never had a shortage of students,” Molzahn said.

    WCA Gaining Street Cred

    In case his 11 years of involvement is not enough to confirm his allegiance to the WCA’s cause, Molzahn successfully helped lobby the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to recognize the WCA’s Sawblade Certificate, exclusively reserved for qualifying high school students, under Wisconsin Act 59 LINK: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/acts/59. Signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in 2013, Act 59 awards grants to high school career and technical education programs tied to industry-recognized certifications. As a result, every Wisconsin high school that is a WCA EDUcation member – LINK: http://woodworkcareer.org/wca-education-membership/, can receive up to a $1,000 grant for each student who earns a Sawblade Certificate to invest in improving their programs.

    In the grand scheme of things Wisconsin’s recognition is a small yet significant validation of the WCA skill standards. It illustrates the strides the standards are making to increase awareness and gain acceptance to help address the widespread skills gap that hamstring the day-to-day operations of thousands of wood product manufacturers. Molzahn discussed how Act 59 might benefit not only high school wood shops but also the WCA, postsecondary programs like his and ultimately the woodworking industry at large.

    “A lot of schools are facing a shortage of tech education teachers,” Molzahn said. “This makes it easier for a principal or school board to close a program. Bringing in the Act 59 grant money helps teachers show the worth of their programs and creates an incentive for them to credential more students.
    “Act 59 also creates incentives for more high school woodworking programs to become a WCA EDUcation member. We have 13 in Wisconsin now but I think that number can conceivably double in a year or two.”

    Molzahn has only had the privilege of teaching two Sawblade Certificate holders so far, but knows that more will come as the WCA skill standards continue to gain traction at the high school level.

    “The students who have achieved a Sawblade Certificate have demonstrated their interest in taking the time to go above and beyond their peers to do performance assessments,” he said. “Because they come to me with a little better knowledge of fundamentals I can take them further in my program. That’s a win for our program and a win for industry.”

    Take a Video Tour of Madison Area College Technical Cabinet Program
    Join Patrick Molzahn on a video tour of the lean practices at Madison Area Technical College’s Cabinetmaking & Millwork program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8XIfPfGUis

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
  • in reply to: General Topics #6872

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    WCA Pioneer Committed to the Skill Standards Cause
    By Rich Christianson

    If you want to get a better understanding of what makes the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America’s (WCA) woodworking skill standards tick and why they are important, then a conversation with Patrick Molzahn is a good place to start.

    Molzahn is director of the Cabinetmaking and Millwork program at Madison Area Technical College LINK: http://madisoncollege.edu/program-info/cabinetmaking-and-millwork in Madison, WI. He has been actively involved with the WCA and its initiatives to develop and promote industry recognized woodworking skill standards from the get-go. In 2005, he attended the first meeting where ideas for creating skill standards for the North American woodworking industry were hashed out.
    MATC table saw
    When the WCA was formally chartered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2007, Molzahn was invited to serve on the board of directors and still does. He helped develop, write and edit many of the 240 and counting skill standards, each with a set of observable and measurable evaluations. As a WCA board member, he was anointed as one of the program’s first chief evaluators, charged with training other educators to be credentialed as woodworking skills evaluators. Over the past four years he has personally credentialed some 60 evaluators.

    In addition, Madison College was the beta test site where the first students were certified after the initial set of skill standards were released in 2012. “We credentialed the first five students in the nation,” Molzahn said. “We also held the first evaluator training.”
    Molzahn was an early adopter of WCA skill standards by integrating them into the Madison College cabinetmaking and millwork curriculum. He also authored updates for the fifth edition of Modern Cabinetmaking LINK: http://www.g-w.com/modern-cabinetmaking-2016 and incorporated the WCA skill standards in the book’s text. Included is a chapter Molzahn wrote that introduces students to woodworking careers. Three other new chapters written by Molzahn include an overviews of the cabinet industry, CNC machinery and sharpening.

    Why are the WCA woodworking skill standards important?
    Molzahn said the skill standards create a common roadmap that woodworkers can use to chart a course for their personal career growth and that woodworking companies can use to guide training programs to develop a more highly skilled workforce.
    “If you look at the history or our industry, you’ll see that it grew out of a mom and pop industry, especially for architectural woodwork shops that were small family run businesses as many that still are,” Molzahn said. “Everybody had their own quality target. That’s why the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) standards were initiated in the late ‘50s to define what constitutes quality and accuracy. Just like the AWI standards, the WCA skill standards are designed to bring us all together so that we are on the same page for what our expectations are.

    “The skill standards work really nice for woodworking companies because they can link the steps of the standards to a pay scale,” Molzahn continued. “This creates a path of advancement for workers; it gives them goals for continuous education. They know if they reach a higher level of certification they are worth more.
    “The WCA skill standards are also helping to legitimize woodworking as a professional trade. Think of ASE, Automotive Service Excellence. You always see the ASE certificates on the wall and the patches on the mechanics’ uniforms. In a similar way, WCA is helping provide an identity for the woodworking profession.”

    Madison College’s Skills Program
    A “self-taught woodworker,” Molzahn graduated with a BFA and post-baccalaureate from the Art Institute of Chicago and then ran a one-man architectural woodwork shop in Madison. In 2000, He traded in his business to become program director of the Cabinetmaking and Millwork program at Madison College where he had taught part time for a couple of years.

    Today the program Molzahn oversees is housed in a well-equipped facility valued at $1 million and organized around lean principles. His students comprised a “mixed bag” in terms of age, gender and woodworking experience. The average age of the 16 students currently enrolled in the program is 26. Molzahn said he once had a 62-year-old student; upwards of 25% of his students have been female and he has taught four international students.

    The cabinetmaking and millwork classes run 32 hours a week for about nine months. “We start with layout in the fall and every unit starts with manual tools,”Molzahn said. “For example, students will start with hand saws then portable power saws and eventually work up to a sliding table saw. In their final quarter, students get exposure to CNC machining including Alphacam training.”

    Successful students graduate with a one-year technical diploma and a guarantee of landing a woodworking job if they are so inclined. In addition, many graduates earn their Green Certification, the first of the WCA’s five levels of professional certification LINK: http://woodworkcareer.org/credential_landing/wca-credentials-2/. Some students who have had prior professional woodworking experience are able to achieve Blue Certification.

    The popularity of the program is underscored by the perpetual waiting list that has existed since 2001. “We have never had a shortage of students,” Molzahn said.

    WCA Gaining Street Cred
    In case his 11 years of involvement is not enough to confirm his allegiance to the WCA’s cause, Molzahn successfully helped lobby the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to recognize the WCA’s Sawblade Certificate, exclusively reserved for qualifying high school students, under Wisconsin Act 59 LINK: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/acts/59. Signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in 2013, Act 59 awards grants to high school career and technical education programs tied to industry-recognized certifications. As a result, every Wisconsin high school that is a WCA EDUcation member – LINK: http://woodworkcareer.org/wca-education-membership/, can receive up to a $1,000 grant for each student who earns a Sawblade Certificate to invest in improving their programs.

    In the grand scheme of things Wisconsin’s recognition is a small yet significant validation of the WCA skill standards. It illustrates the strides the standards are making to increase awareness and gain acceptance to help address the widespread skills gap that hamstring the day-to-day operations of thousands of wood product manufacturers.

    Molzahn discussed how Act 59 might benefit not only high school wood shops but also the WCA, postsecondary programs like his and ultimately the woodworking industry at large. “A lot of schools are facing a shortage of tech education teachers,” Molzahn said. “This makes it easier for a principal or school board to close a program. Bringing in the Act 59 grant money helps teachers show the worth of their programs and creates an incentive for them to credential more students.

    “Act 59 also creates incentives for more high school woodworking programs to become a WCA EDUcation member. We have 13 in Wisconsin now but I think that number can conceivably double in a year or two.”

    Molzahn has only had the privilege of teaching two Sawblade Certificate holders so far, but knows that more will come as the WCA skill standards continue to gain traction at the high school level.

    The students who have achieved a Sawblade Certificate have demonstrated their interest in taking the time to go above and beyond their peers to do performance assessments,” he said. “Because they come to me with a little better knowledge of fundamentals I can take them further in my program. That’s a win for our program and a win for industry.

    Take a Video Tour of Madison Area College Technical Cabinet Program
    Join Patrick Molzahn on a video tour of the lean practices at Madison Area Technical College’s Cabinetmaking & Millwork program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8XIfPfGUis

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  Greg Heuer.
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  • in reply to: General Topics #6808

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    Educator of the Year Award
    Scott Nelson, president of the Woodwork Career Alliance, winner of the 2016 WMIA Wooden Globe Educator Award, is flanked by Jason Howell of Michael Weinig Inc., chairman of the WMIA Education Committee, left, and Bill Esler, associate publisher of Woodworking Network.

    Woodwork Career Alliance Named WMIA Educator of the Year

    Nellysford, VA – April 18, 2016 – The Woodworking Machinery Industry Association (WMIA) presented its 2016 Wooden Globe Educator of the Year Award to Scott Nelson, president of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA). The award ceremony was held April 14 during the annual Woodworking Industry Conference at the Marriott Casa Magna Resort in Cancun, Mexico.

    The WMIA Educator of the Year Award recognizes Nelson’s leadership of the WCA, a not-for-profit organization created to address the woodworking industry’s critical skilled worker shortage through the development of industry-recognized skill standards. Under Nelson’s direction, the WCA has developed observable and measurable performance standards and assessments for more than 240 woodworking machine operations. In addition, WCA has enrolled 125 secondary and postsecondary institutions as EDUcation® members, issued over 1,000 WCA passports, and trained more than 180 accredited skill evaluators. Perhaps most importantly, all of these key program metrics are continuing to increase.

    Bill Esler, associate publisher and editorial director of Woodworking Network, nominated Nelson for the prestigious award. In presenting the Wooden Globe, Esler praised Nelson as a “tireless worker” for directing the Woodwork Career Alliance’s advancement. “Scott is one of the treasures of the woodworking industry,” Esler said.
    “Winning the Wooden Globe Educator Award is a great honor for the WCA and the many dedicated professionals working behind the scenes to make this program a success,” Nelson said. “I thank the WMIA and its members for recognizing our efforts and for helping to raise awareness of the WCA’s activities to develop and promote skill standards that can be used to help the industry recruit, retain and reward woodworking professionals for their achievements.”

    The WMIA, based in Alexandria, VA, is a trade association representing importers and distributors of woodworking machinery and ancillary equipment in North America. Nelson and the WCA join nearly 30 other woodworking educators and institutions that the WMIA has recognized for excellence through its Educator of the Year Award since 1988.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  Greg Heuer. Reason: Wednesday; April 20, 2016 - Updated with 2nd version of release
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  • in reply to: INDustry™ #6274

    Greg Heuer
    Keymaster

    The Woodworking Network reported the CNBC survey results for the Top 10 Woodworking States. The results may surprise you, as they did me. Learn more:
    http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/top-10-states-woodworking

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