The Product Design & Development (PD&D) WoodLINKS program at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, VA, creates a 2+2+2 educational pathway beginning with high school dual enrollment courses and continuing to an Associates’ degree that articulates to Virginia Tech.

Students in PD&D learn how to marry design, engineering and advanced manufacturing as they take an idea from a concept on a page to a marketable product. This “art-to-part-to-mart,” process has resulted in a number of big successes for this small program that began in 2008.

To date, PD&D students have earned two first place category finishes at the AWFS Fresh Wood Student Competition (2009, 2011), been accepted to the IWF-Ready-to-Assemble competition (2010), and designed and manufactured the trophy clock for Martinsville Speedway’s March 2010 NASCAR race (won by Denny Hamlin). Most recently, second-year college students have worked with the SVHEC’s R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency to build an amenity wall for an energy-efficient, affordable disaster-relief housing unit slated for initial use in Haiti in 2012.

Also, high school and community college level WoodLINKS students have collaborated with international furniture manufacturer Lloyd Buxton to use advanced manufacturing techniques to test the concept of on-shoring Lloyd Buxton’s furniture production from the Philippines to the United States.

The mission of the SVHEC’s WoodLINKS program is to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and foundational concepts necessary to design, engineer, and produce a product using wood as the design medium and incorporating CAD/CAM/CNC technology. We believe advanced manufacturing, streamlined processes, and continuous improvement hold the key to bringing manufacturing back to the US. To that end, the Product Design & Development WoodLINKS program uses industry-standard principles and techniques to educate the students of today to fill the industry needs of tomorrow.

About Southern Virginia Higher Education Center

Learn more about educational opportunites at SVHEC.

About WoodLINKS USA

WoodLINKS USA is an industry driven, secondary and post-secondary woodworking partnership program, helping to build and maintain a strong, skilled workforce so that U.S. manufacturers can remain competitive in today’s challenging economic environment.

WoodLINKS USA helps provide the wood manufacturing industry with the necessary skilled workers to remain competitive at the entry and middle management levels. WoodLINKS USA helps woodworking industry businesses foster development and expansion of wood production education programs within local and regional secondary and post-secondary educational systems.

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