WCA to present workforce development solutions at AWFS
Woodwork Career Alliance

LINCOLN, Neb. — Representatives of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) will tackle the woodworking industry’s skilled worker shortage from two different vantage points in conference sessions at the AWFS Fair, July 25-28 in Las Vegas.

Bruce Spitz, member of the WCA Board of Directors, and Scott Nelson, president of the WCA, will discuss how woodworking companies can establish an in-house training program or improve an existing one. Greg Larson, vice president of the WCA Board, will explain the multiple benefits school woodworking programs and professional wood products companies can reap by becoming an EDUcation or MANufacturing member of the WCA.

Woodwork Career Alliance

“Building a Training Program for Your Workers,” is the title of Spitz’s and Nelson’s workshop scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25.

During the workshop, attendees will receive guidance for creating a first-year training template for new hires based on their production shop’s unique needs and incorporating the WCA Skill Standards.

Attendees will also learn how to:

  • Develop a pre-hire test required for job candidates before employment;
  • Identify the knowledge base skills and machine skills required in the first two years of a hire’s employment;
  • Develop a method of training that is best suited for their company and create standard operating procedures to facilitate their training program; and
  • Access quality training resources from the WCA’s extensive library of instructional videos, skill activities, and tests.

Attendees of this program qualify to join the WCA as a MANufacturing member for $100, a 60% savings on a one-year membership.

Larson’s presentation, “Teaching and Evaluating the Wood Industry’s Skill Standards,” is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Thursday, July 27, as part of the Teacher Track.

A long-time instructor of cabinetmaking at the postsecondary level, Larson will discuss how to implement the WCA’s credentialing system to create and manage a training program in a school or business.

Larson, a WCA chief evaluator, has successfully used the WCA Skill Standards to shape his curriculum and credential students. He will also address WCA EDUcation and MANufacturing membership benefits including gaining access to the WCA’s extensive online library of instructional videos, educational materials, and other training resources to help trainers accomplish their goals faster and better.

Larson’s presentations is one of five sessions on the Teacher Track that will be led by WCA members.

Others include:

  • “How to Keep Your Keester Out of Court (and Other Tips from a Veteran Educator)” presented by Patrick Molzahn, long-time former director of the Madison College Cabinetmaking & Millwork program, and founding member of the WCA Board of Directors, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25;
  • “Marketing Your Program — Are You Getting Anyone’s Attention?” presented by Mark Smith, woodworking instructor of Reed-Custer High School, 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25;
  • “Shop Safety in Education” presented by Reuben Foat of the Cerritos College Wood Manufacturing Department, 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 26; and
  • “Building Trades into Education: Bridging the Skills Gap Through Collaboration” presented by Molly Turner and Peter Lutz, woodworking instructors that are part of the Southwest Colorado Education Collaborative 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Thursday, July 27.

For more information and register at awfsfair.org.


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About the author
Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).