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.
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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.