There are Passport holders 30 States and 2 Provinces. Wisconsin leads the States with 37; 2 have earned their Green Credential, and 1 of them has gone on to earn his Blue Credential.
There are 69 Accredited Skill Evaluators in 20 States and Provinces in North America.
The Adams Group in Florida, Fremont Interiors in Indiana, Jefferson Millwork & Design in Virginia, DeLeers in Wisconsin, Burger Boat in Wisconsin, and Fetzers in Utah are manufacturing companies working to implement the Passport and Credential program in their plants for employee evaluation and reward programs. They each have in-house Accredited Skill Evaluators in place or in training.
30 secondary and post-secondary schools teaching advanced wood manufacturing have adopted the Passport and Credential Program as the State Certificate. Kentucky schools lead with 29 Passport holders.
2011 has been a banner year for the Woodwork Career Alliance Passport and Credential program. Over 20 Skill Evaluators and Chief Evaluators have been accredited to issue Tool Stamps in woodworker’s Passports. The momentum is increasing as more and more woodwork operations and schools of woodworking adopt the Passport as their Award and Recognition message.
Glenn Wirgau, WCA Treasurer and Project Manager at Meyer & Lundahl Manufacturing, brings you this news from the front lines of rolling out the WCA Skill Standards, performance-based assessments and WCA Passport.
I had an interesting exchange with a business owner at our AWI Chapter meeting regarding woodwork certifications and his perception of WCA’s work. This is not an exact quote, but very similar; “I’m not in favor of any more regulations. I’m not so sure I want to support creating any woodwork skill certifications that will make me pay more money for my employees.”
I explained to this colleague that WCA’s tool stamps and certifications were being developed for voluntary participation. There will not be a mandatory set of standards for a company, and thus no policing or regulation placed on business. I added that once he saw that having these certified employees increased his productivity, that maybe he’d pay them a premium to retain them, but that this was his choice. I continued, that as a business owner he may see the benefit in hiring people that have these tool stamps or certifications, and that he very well may choose to make it a policy to place these individuals on a preferred list for employment.
Another business man (his competition) offered that maybe it would be a possible to gain customers by being able to purport a certified workforce. I ended by reiterating that this stuff was all voluntary, and that for some business, it may be their choice not to seek certified employees, but that sooner or later they would get them anyway. Not because they sought them out, but because the employees themselves sought to better themselves, or because educational institutions choose to educate to them and certify them.
There were a group of 11 business men with me in this meeting. After the discussion came the unanimous vote to support WCA. Who wouldn’t?
The advanced woodworkers of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the Architectural Woodwork Institute donated $2,500 to the Matching Fund of the Woodwork Career Alliance at a recent Chapter meeting. These tax-deductible donations help the Alliance obtain and maintain Federal grants for the development of the Skill Standards for all the woodworking industry. Indeed, any plant, factory, or shop which makes sawdust can benefit from these carefully vetted industry performance standards. Our thanks goes out to all who contribute, either by funding or by working on the Skill Standards writing teams. Contact any WCA Board member to learn how YOU can benefit and contribute.
The lack of skilled workers could be one of the greatest hindrances to pushing U.S. manufacturers ahead of foreign competitors in the advanced-manufacturing race.â€ Years ago, I used to copy this sentence when it would appear in stories and publications and forward it to my colleagues to reinforce what I knew all too well. Today, this common fact is driving our industry to rethink the way we operate to remain globally competitive.
IndustryWeek’s September 22nd e-newsletter is a great read and highlights Corningâ€™s â€œrediscoveryâ€ of Gorilla Glass as an example of using a combination of technologies, processes and education to promote a new era of U.S. manufacturing that can’t be easily replicated by competitors. This article provides a few advanced definitions of advanced manufacturing:
- “Operations that create advanced products, use innovative techniques in their manufacturing, and are inventing new processes and technologies for future manufacturingâ€ â€“ The Anderson Economic Group
- “Technologies that we’ve developed that others don’t have, including automation; it even can be areas where the education level is such that it can’t be readily duplicated in Third World countries.â€ â€“ Rusty Patterson, CEO of the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing
- “Low-skilled manufacturing jobs have moved offshore and probably aren’t coming back. But positions requiring advanced manufacturing skills are in demand and will continue to grow. The trick for American manufacturing is to identify what needs to be here and raise the bar on how we do it and how we train our workforce. If we don’t, we’re a nation without manufacturing, and we’re in for a long economic decline.” â€“ Steven Dwyer, CEO of advanced-manufacturing consortium Conexus Indiana
I still talk to woodworkers on daily bases that do not know what skill standards are and how they are to be used. I am concerned that we who worked with skill standards from their inception are getting ahead of the rest of the industry on our terminology and concepts.
Skill standards, simply put, establish a common language about what an individual is expected to know and be able to do. When you are working with a tool or machine, how do you know if you are using it correctly and efficiently, and if the item you are producing is â€œrightâ€? Without industry accepted standards that define â€œcorrectâ€ and â€œrightâ€, the answer to these questions becomes subjective and based on different opinions and expectations.
Skill standards are tool operations that can be seen and measured. They set the bar so that determinations about performance and results are consistent across shops and training programs. There are many uses for skill standards. Skill standards define an occupation and describe a profession in terms of levels of knowledge and achievement. They help create career paths to advance and grow within the woodwork industry and to recruit professionals into our industry. Skill standards are used to develop training programs, to define the requirements for a job, to measure job performance, to identify training needs, and to highlight an individualâ€™s strengths. Overall, skill standards professionalize an industry.