President’s Message: It Wasn’t Easy, but They Did it!

I hope everyone and their loved ones are staying safe in this very unusual time of America’s history. Since the shutdown of most schools in mid-March the educating and credentialing of students for their Sawblade certificates and Passport credentials has truly been a challenge. However, during this challenging time, Woodwork Career Alliance EDUcation member teachers still were able to use online instruction and testing to issue WCA credentials to 179 students.

I would like to commend these instructors for their dedication to their students and the WCA. Here is the list of the 13 schools that issued WCA credentials, including Sawblade certificates and Green and Blue credentials, during the coronavirus pandemic:

Don Stoneburner, a student at Boyceville High School, proudly displays the WCA Sawblade certificate he earned after successfully completing the online test.

Arrowhead Union High School, Harland, WI
Asheville High School, Ashville, NC
Boyceville High School, Boyceville, WI
Dale Jackson Career Center, Lewisville, TX
Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor ME
Fennimore High School, Fennimore, WI
Green County ATC, Greensburg, KY
Jackson County ATC, McKee, KY
Kettle Moraine High School, Wales, WI
Montgomery County High School, Mt. Gilead, NC
New England School of Architectural Woodworking, Easthampton, MA
Sheboygan Falls High School, Sheboygan Falls, WI
Warren Township High School, Gurnee, IL

Without a doubt this list would have been much longer if the 2019-20 academic year had played out according to plan. Unfortunately, the serious disruptions created by the coronavirus occurred before may WCA EDUcation instructors had the opportunity to evaluate their students on the set-up and operation of basic woodworking machines.

It is also unfortunate that we had to cancel two Accredited Skill Evaluator Trainings that were scheduled for April. The good news is that our totally online ASE training module should be ready to go by Sept. 1. This will allow all new teachers to able to become ASE certified online without having to travel to a face-to-face training session. Stay tuned for details.

This edition of Pathways is dominated by articles related to a COVID-19 survey we conducted of WCA EDUcation members to learn how they coped making the difficult and frantic transition from teaching woodworking in the classroom to online. We received many excellent responses including some of the resources these teachers used in place of hands-on woodworking instruction. We also received some great feedback about some of the resources WCA offers to EDU members as well as some of the types of tools and information teachers would like to see added to our online training library. In addition, several of the instructors offered to share some of the materials they created for their curricula.

We’re all hopeful that we will get kids back in school this fall, doing woodworking projects and earning their credentials.

Please stay safe.

Scott Nelson
Woodwork Career Alliance of North America