California woodworking students compete in SkillsUSA contest
April 17, 2020 | 11:27 am CDT

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- SkillsUSA California put students’ woodworking skills to the test at six regional competitions throughout the state.

A national nonprofit organization, Skills USA is serves middle school, high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

AWFS and Society of Wood Manufacturing members sponsored and volunteered at three of these events.

The SkillsUSA California Region 3 Conference was held on January 25 at Pasadena City College. Students from Los Angeles and Ventura counties competed in the cabinetmaking and introductory woodworking contest among other skilled trade contests. Each student had three hours to build a wood project from a set of plans to be judged by woodworking professionals.

The cabinetmaking contestants prepared a bill of materials and built a portable cabinet with a drawer and chest handles. The Introductory Woodworking contestants built a wood shelf with coat hooks. Plywood and solid lumber for each contest were donated by Royal Plywood in Cerritos, California. Students used machinery like the table saw, crosscut saw, and jig saw; and tools like an air pinner from Grex, the Kreg pocket hole jig, and the Lamello Zeta P2 biscuit joiner to assemble their cabinet.

Volunteers from Cerritos College, Colonial Saw, local woodworking professionals, members of the Inland Woodworkers Association, and members of Society of Wood Manufacturing volunteered as contest coordinators, saw safety monitors, and judges. The top student finalists in the Introductory Woodworking contest came from Mark Keppel, San Gabriel, Alhambra, and Temple City High School. The Cabinetmaking contest had finalists from Los Angeles Trade Tech College, Temple City High School, and Mark Keppel High School.


The SkillsUSA CA Region 6 Conference was held on February 1st at Riverside City College. Students from seven southern California counties including San Diego, Riverside, and Orange county competed in this event. Plywood and solid lumber for the woodworking contests were generously donated by Reborn Cabinets of Anaheim, California. Reborn Cabinets management team volunteered to judge the cabinetmaking competition.

Members of the Inland Woodworkers Association judged the Introductory Woodworking Competition. Society of Wood Manufacturing members acted as contest coordinators and saw safety monitors throughout the competitions. Lunch for all the students and volunteers was provided by the Stiles Machinery showroom in Rancho Cucamonga. The top finalists from the Introductory Woodworking Competition were from San Marcos, Serrano, and Fontana High School. The top students in the Cabinetmaking competition came from San Marcos and Norco High School. This was the first year that SWM and AWFS officially organized and managed the Region 6 event.

In addition, for the first time, SWM president Saúl Martín provided significant donations of material and supplies and volunteered as coordinator for both woodworking contests at the SkillsUSA CA Region 2 event in the Bakersfield area.

“We are incredibly grateful to Saúl Martín and the AWFS and SWM team for their involvement in SkillsUSA California”, says SkillsUSA California executive director Clay Mitchell. “We have seen the quality of the contests elevated under their care and look forward to a continued relationship between our organization and theirs.”

Due to COVID-19 concerns, both the 2020 SkillsUSA California State and 2020 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference were cancelled. They will begin developing the 2021 SkillsUSA CA woodworking contests in August 2020. See or

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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected]