Wood industry members, teachers, principals, and even students across the nation gathered to build industry/education partnerships, educate teachers, and promote the wood industry as a career of choice at local WoodLINKS USA teacher in-service events over the past few months.

WoodLINKS USA sponsored nine local teacher in-service events in Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Kansas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio. Michigan and Illinois in-services will be held in the spring and one in Texas during the summer of 2012.

To promote these events, an invitation was sent to every high school in each of the nine states. The in-service events were held in a variety of locations: Mesa Community College-Arizona, Madison College-Wisconsin, Theodore Roosevelt High School-Ohio, Tiger Stop-Washington, Pittsburg State University- Kansas, and the Virginia Higher Education Center-Virginia.

Topics at the in-service events covered a wide range of industry related skills and concerns including public perception of the wood industry, veneering, inexpensive project ideas for the classroom/lab, CNC equipment, LEAF-Forestry Education Curriculum, Woodwork Career Alliance of North America Skill Standards, the impact of the wood industries “carbon footprint”, trends in adhesives, economic impact of the wood industry, software programs, spray finishing, cutting tools, applied math, and project management were some of the topics covered at the various locations.

Adjunct Professor Pat Connelly shared his reason for attending the Ohio inservice, “I wanted to learn more about teaching CNC concepts with my program and I know WoodLINKS is a big proponent of that.” Several hundred teachers, administrators, principals, and students descended on the in-service events over the past couple of months. Troy Spear’s students at Theodore Roosevelt High School gave a demonstration of Cabinet Vision driving their Omni Tech CNC router.

During the Wisconsin in-service, Patrick Molzahn hosted a WCA Skill Standards Evaluator Training session. Attendees also toured Wisconsin Built, a leading manufacturer of fixtures, casegoods, and specialty products.

Doug Hague of Pittsburg State University (PSU) exposed attendees to high tech wood manufacturing equipment used in the PSU program. One of the key ingredients to hosting a relevant teacher in-service event is industry partners. Industry partners bring expertise and business understanding to the table.

The in-service at Pittsburg State University dealt with the problem of skilled worker shortage in their, “Industry’s Perception/Demand” session. Industry partners can also help change the public’s misconception of the wood industry. Mark Roberts in Arizona said, “Our goal is to change the perception of the woodworking industry by focusing on those things that hit the parent’s pocketbook, showcase highly motivated and productive students, and the relationship with our industry partners”.

The teachers need to see and hear about the latest equipment, products and processes. At the Ohio inservice, attendees were also treated to a live video conference with Travis Allen, an instructor at Northcentral Technical College in Antigo, Wisconsin. “Video conferencing with Travis was a spectacular opportunity that I wanted to share with the attendees,” stated Theodore Roosevelt instructor Troy Spear.

“While I know there are other schools out there, NTC’s facility is a great example of industry education partnerships, as it (the NTC program) was funded in part by industry. Many of my industry partners made the comment how nice it would be if there were a program was like NTC,” Spear added.

The following is a list of some of the industry in-service partners:

Bennett Supply-Cleveland Tool & Cutter

Bernie Bottens-Wurth Louis Company

Carl Paasche-Woodcrafters Portland

Carl Pasch-Woodcrafters

Dave and Jeremy Snook-Snook Saw Service

Dave Anderson-Anderson Design Woodcrafting

Dean Mattson-North Salem High School

Doll Lumber

Don Bigelow, Mike Littlejohn, and Sally Perrin-Planit Solutions

Doug Hogue and Jim Snyder-Pittsburg State University

Glenn Wirgau-Meyer and Lundahl

Greg Heur-Woodwork Career Alliance of North America

Jack Little-Woodcraft

Jack Regan-Tiger Stop

Jeff Hilber-Jeff Hilber Furniture

Jeff Norris-Top Solid/Grandview Technologies

Joel Simpson-Allies Millwork

John G. Weber Company

Jonathan Thompson-Synergy Custom Woodworking

Josh Bartlett-National Casein

Josh Emerson-TopDrawer

Ken Morgan-Morgan Lumber Company

Largare Fisher-Lange Brothers Manufacturing

Leiden Cabinetry

Mirka Abrasives

AWI Oregon Chapter

AWI Wisconsin Chapter

Paul Winistorfer-Virginia Tech

Russ Carlson-S&S Industrial Marketing

Terry Mace and Steve Hubbard-Wisconsin DNR

Tony Slaven-Stiles Machinery

Travis Allen-Northcentral Technical College

The following companies donated to the in-service events:

Tiger Stop donated a Saw Gear

AWI Oregon presented checks to both WCA, WoodLINKS USA and Dean Mattson

of North Salem High School

Saw Blades by Snook Tooling

FastCap gave tape measures and Flex Tool Bag

Kreg Tool Company-Kreg Jig K4 Master System

Robert Bosch Tool Corporation-Sander

Franklin International donated adhesives

Stiles Machinery supplied pads of paper and pens

Veneer Tech gave veneer samples

Woodcrafters donated a variety of items

Planit Solutions gave out an I-Pad

Mark Smith is The National Director of WoodLINKS® USA, an organization that works with industry and education to produce skilled entry level employees for the wood industry and post-secondary students for wood related fields. Previous to WoodLINKS USA, Mark Smith was an industrial technology instructor at Shiloh High School where he ran a computer integrated manufacturing facility teaching design, manufacturing and production using CAD/CAM programs, CNC equipment, and the eco-friendly material, wood. His production class ran a School-Based-Enterprise designing, manufacturing and installing kitchen cabinets for home owners, contracting CNC work with local industry, and wooden sunglasses for iWood Ecodesign. He used and taught various CAD/CAM programs over the last 12 years. Email: educoordinator@woodlinksusa.org

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