ATLANTA – The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America is trying to broaden its reach with woodworking companies, and spoke to Woodworking Network editors during the recent IWF exhibition about its efforts.

The skills certification organization has registered about 1,150 passport holders, according to WCA’s Scott Nelson. Passport holders have a record of the skills they possess and have been tested for. Seventy-four machine types are currently included in the program. The machine-based certification is objective.

But the organization must increase its reach in the industry, and its progress has not been rapid enough so far.

“We need more companies to see the value of it,” Nelson said.

“Employers need to get the message across that technical training benefits the employee – it doesn’t replace them.”

Finding and retaining skilled people continues to be a major problem for the woodworking industry.

Duane Griffiths. Director of Stiles University, said that the industry is having trouble moving people from saying there is a problem to how to solve that problem. Stiles has been a supporter of the WCA program.

The program has been approved for training in a number of states, which will help development.

California, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin have approved the program.

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