National Woods Board and Woodwork Career Alliance forge strategic partnership

By aligning training programs and skill standards with industry needs, NWB and WCA will empower students with the knowledge and skills necessary to launch successful woodworking careers.

Photo By National Wood Board

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., and LINCOLN, Neb. — The National Woods Board (NWB) and the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) have entered into a "transformative strategic partnership" aimed at advancing the next generation of professional woodworkers in North America. 

Central to the reciprocal agreement, the NWB will incorporate the WCA’s skill standards and credentialing program in the woodworking curriculum it is preparing for use by high school and post-secondary woodworking programs. The NWB is reformatting the The MiLL Method curriculum successfully implemented at The MiLL (Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab) in Colorado Springs, Colo. The NWB’s curriculum is scalable, meaning educational woodworking programs of any size and scope can adapt it based on their wood shop’s resources and unique needs.

The five-year agreement also calls for the NWB and WCA to promote each other’s programs to raise awareness among schools and industry.

By aligning training programs and skill standards with industry needs, NWB and WCA say it will empower students with the knowledge and skills necessary to launch successful woodworking careers. This collaboration will also support the recruitment, training, and retention of a skilled workforce, ensuring the long-term vitality of the woodworking industry.

“I am excited to officially launch our partnership with Woodwork Career Alliance,” said Thomas Allott, chairman of the NWB. “Our education system needs a structured education and credentialling system that is built by industry to give students the opportunity to make a career in wood product manufacturing, and this partnership helps fill that need. Workforce development and finding skilled employees is the number one challenge that wood product manufacturers face daily and currently there isn’t a pipeline of skilled employees ready to step into these positions. This partnership will empower suppliers, manufacturers, and educators to help build the next generation of educated, competent, and confident employees. The WCA has helped lead the industry in industry-vetted skill standards. The National Woods Board feels grateful to be a part of the accomplishments to come.”

"This collaboration not only strengthens our commitment to excellence but also underscores the value we place on industry alignment and accreditation,” commented Amanda Conger, executive director of the NWB. “By integrating the WCA's esteemed credentialing program into our curriculum, we are not just raising standards, we're opening doors of opportunity for aspiring professionals in the woodworking industry. Together, we are shaping a future where skill, knowledge, and credibility intersect to drive innovation and success."
 
"Our partnership with the National Woods Board represents a significant milestone in our efforts to strengthen the woodworking workforce and elevate industry standards,” said Scott Nelson, president of the WCA. “Together, we will provide the next generation of woodworkers with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. By pooling our expertise and resources, we can address the challenges facing our industry and unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation."

To kick off the partnership, the two groups are laying the groundwork for a pilot program. High school woodworking instructors throughout the country are being invited to try out the NWB’s Foundations in Woods Manufacturing 1 curriculum that incorporates the WCA skill standards and credentialing system, in their programs this fall. The objective of the pilot program is to receive instructors' feedback that can be used to help further refine the curriculum and make it even more scalable. Instructors interested in learning more about potentially participating in the trial should contact Amanda Conger, executive director of the NWB, [email protected].

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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).