The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announced that the Woodwork Career Alliance Passport Sawblade Credential is officially adopted as a recognized credential for secondary education in the state.

On behalf of the WCA and the high school teachers who petitioned the state to be included, Patrick Molzahn, Cabinetmaking & Millwork Program Director, Madison Area Technical College, thanked everyone who wrote letters of support.

According to Molzahn, Governor Walker signed ACT 59 in 2013. The intent of this legislation was to support and strengthen the quality of Career and Technical Education programming which results in industry-recognized certifications that help to reduce workforce shortages. This grant awards up to $1,000 per student to school districts for high school graduates that earn industry-recognized certifications.

When the legislation was written, the Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) credential was not included on the list of recognized credentials. At that time, the WCA credentialing system was in its infancy. Since then, the organization has grown to over 1,000 Passport holders. This past November, the DWD allowed credentialing organizations to petition to be included. The application required a variety of items and supporting data.


Virtual tour of Madison College Woodworking Program

Patrick Molzahn, Program Director in Cabinetmaking & Millwork at Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin,
gives a virtual tour of the school's cabinetmaking shop.

Molzahn said that if this victory is to prove itself worthwhile, educators and industry need to be proactive and embrace the WCA credential.

He recommends that teachers now have the ability to get up to $1,000/student/credential issued, so they need to make this a priority. He advises that if a teacher is not a WCA EDUcation member, he should join and get trained as a WCA Accredited Skill Evaluator. Visit for more info on  how to show students that a rewarding career exists for them in the wood industry.

For industry members, Molzahn recommends betting to know the schools and teachers who are offering this credential to their students. List the WCA credential as a preference when advertising jobs. Consider using the WCA credentialing system in house to train and provide a path for advancement.

Molzahn said that Wisconsin has one of the largest groups of WCA Accredited Evaluators and WCA EDUcation members in the country. “To quote our state motto, let’s continue to move forward and set an example for the rest of the country by embracing the WCA credential and using it to improve our Wood Manufacturing workforce.”

For more information on Madison Area Technical College, go to, or call 608-246-6842.

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