Those who have read my column over the years will not be surprised by this week’s topic. Every year in October the woodshop teachers in Oregon and Washington participate in State-wide In-Service Day. This will be the third year that I have reported on that day’s activity.

The idea of setting a day each fall for teacher training across the curriculum goes way back. I remember having a day off each year as a child when teachers were involved in some type of fall activity. As an older public school student, I participated in several of those activities as part of a demo group. As a teacher, I attended 20 such events. Today, such gatherings continue and, even as times have changed and budgets have grown smaller, the good that comes from gatherings such as I am reporting about is still easy for me to see.

This past Friday was the third occasion during which I took part as a support person. I was there just to lend a helping hand. Out of the last two events have come articles describing the activities of that day and encouragement on my part for industry to get involved with helping and supporting high school and junior high/middle school) woodshop programs. This year will be no different. In addition, there have been at least two articles written by me that strongly encouraging professionals in the cabinet making/woodworking industries to get involved with an organization called WoodLinks. WoodLinks was an organization that existed specifically to bring U.S. and Canadian shop teachers and industry together.

If you have read the offerings of Woodworking Network, you may know that WoodLinksUSA is no more. This link will lead you to that specific article as well as other related articles on the subject.

To misuse a phrase that is nonetheless apropos, The King is dead. Long live the King! Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) is now the organization of note that is working to bring shop teachers and industry together.

It is my pleasure to announce that in Oregon and Washington, great strides are being made and that the biggest ever group of teachers came together on Friday, the 11th to share ideas, to learn, and to support each other as well as receive industry support. As I said, it was more than has gathered before in my experience. It is my great pleasure to report that the flame burns hot in the Northwest amongst the woodshop teachers!

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.