The wood industry worker supply chain is tightly linked. Woodworkers in furniture and cabinetry factories often move to custom woodshops or remodelers, and back. If furniture maker Lee Industries’ Hickory, NC plant says it would hire more workers, but can’t find them, it’s relevant to us all.
Likewise, the fact the construction industry added 48,000 jobs last month as housing permits rose 38 percent. Home completions, with all that flooring and cabinetry, are held back by labor shortages, say builders.
This was already a problem as woodworkers age and replacements are scare. The upturn is just making it tougher.
I propose we work together to address labor supply and education, supporting the Woodwork Career Alliance, which certifies woodworking skill competencies.
In an expanded role in education and training since taking responsibility for WoodLINKS USA - the wood industry education advocates - the Woodwork Career Alliance moves into an new territory: not just verifying skill levels, but helping in training, too.
You’ll be hearing more about this. But let’s all plan now to work together to develop the next generation of woodworkers that our businesses already need.
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