NELLYSFORD, Va. - For 10 years, the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) has worked to develop and administer a unified set of skill standards for the wood products industry.
Established in 2007 as a non-profit charity, Tthe WCA has created skill standards for more than 240 woodworking machines and operations, issued more than 1,300 passports, and signed up more than 165 high school and postsecondary woodworking programs as EDUcation members.
As the latest sign of its growing influence and acceptance, four states – California, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin – now recognize the WCA’s Passport credential program for their respective state-sponsored woodworking programs. In addition, the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association (WMIA) recognized the WCA as its 2016 Educator of the Year.
The WCA looks to build on its momentum. The Alliance says it is planning a big presence at the upcoming AWFS Fair in Las Vegas this July - including conducting multiple sessions of Accredited Skill Evaluator training and participating in the fair’s College of Woodworking Knowledge seminar program. The WCA also plans to provide training materials to make it easier for schools and businesses to implement the WCA’s Passport program.
In an effort to build a larger base of EDUcators, INDustry partners, Passport holders and Accredited Skill Evaluators, the WCA is rolling out its 10th Anniversary Sponsorship program. Sponsors will gain visibility for supporting the WCA and workforce development plus be able to use the WCA logo on their website and promotions to demonstrate their commitment to helping resolve one of the wood product industry’s most longstanding and vexing challenges: recruiting and retaining skilled employees.
“As the former owner of a custom woodworking business, I know firsthand the challenge of finding qualified workers,” said WCA President Scott Nelson. “We’ve created a sturdy foundation and made a significant amount of progress over the last 10 years. I look forward to engaging more educational institutions, businesses, and industry members moving forward. Only by working together can we promote the tremendous career opportunities that exist in today’s woodworking industry and close the skills gap that plagues our industry.”