Cabinet association launches apprenticeship program

The KCMA is developing a series of apprenticeship programs. They are starting with finishing.

Photo By KCMA

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association has launched a new workforce development tool for members of the Association — the KCMA Apprenticeship Program. 

KCMA has partnered with Jobs for the Future (JFF) to develop model apprenticeship standards. The first to launch is the Cabinet Finisher apprenticeship, and several other programs are in development and will be released in the coming months. JFF will work with any company interested in launching a registered apprenticeship program to finalize its program and complete the registration process, as well as take advantage of state and federal resources.

“It’s hard to find workers who have a great attitude, are willing to learn, and have some technical knowhow,” said KCMA CEO Betsy Natz. “Getting them to stay for a career in cabinetmaking is even harder.” 

The KCMA Apprenticeship Program is designed to change that by giving KCMA members control over the most important part of their business—the people who run the equipment, maintain the machines, and ensure a quality product for customers.

JFF says by 2033, 75 million people facing systemic barriers to advancement will work in quality jobs. "To eliminate barriers to economic advancement, we must fix our education and workforce systems to make them more equitable, better connected, and easier to navigate."

The finishers apprenticeship is a 1-year program. The program's description is: "Sets up, operates, or tends spraying machines to coat or paint wood cabinetry and components. Applies solvents and stains to indicated orders, follows demonstrated instructions, inspects own work process carefully, maintains the work area and equipment in a clean and orderly condition that follows prescribed safety regulations, and uses appropriate handling methods for the disposal of hazardous materials and wastes."

According to Natz, “Workforce development is a significant concern for our members. We are confident that the Apprenticeship Program will give members an important tool in overcoming this challenge.”

More information about the KCMA Apprenticeship Program is available online at


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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).