MONTPELIER, VT – The Northern Forest Center partnered with the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA), which developed the Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards, to help eight Vermont teachers earn a certification to award industry-recognized credentials to students in woodworking and building trade programs.

Accredited Skill Evaluators in Northern New England States GrowThe secondary and post-secondary school teachers participated in a day-long training session to earn accreditation so that their programs can use the Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards as an evaluation tool in their classrooms.

The Center and WCA are working to deliver the program to businesses and educational institutions across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association is partnering with the Center and other organizations to offer the program in Vermont. WCA offers the program nationwide and in Canada.

Schools and businesses that participate in the skills program will train students and employees to meet standards that WCA has established for more than 50 woodworking machines and tools. Once a candidate passes an evaluation, he or she receives a “tool stamp” to indicate proficiency with the tool.

“Participating students and industry employees collect the tool stamps in a Woodwork Passport — a portable, permanent record of their achievements that will help them gain employment in the sector and grow professionally over time,” said Collin Miller, director of wood products initiatives for the Center.

Accredited skill evaluators award tool stamps as participants demonstrate competency at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels for each tool. All eight Vermont teachers are now qualified to evaluate students and award tool stamps.

A grant from the Canaday Family Foundation covered the cost of certifying the teachers as Accredited Skill Evaluators and will, for a limited time, cover the participation costs for Vermont students who enroll in the passport program at their schools.

The state of Vermont recently approved the WCA system as a third-party, industry-recognized certification program. Miller said more than 50 skill evaluators are present nationwide and Canada. This is the first major initiative to implement the program in the northern New England states.

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