Free evaluator training offered to educators May 17

MONTPELIER. VT – A new program—available free to Vermont schools—offers skills certification in advanced wood products manufacturing to secondary and post-secondary students. Through a grant from the Canaday Family Charitable Trust, and with support from other funders, the program is free to enrolled schools, to students seeking credentialing and to instructors who become skill evaluators.

The Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA) is partnering with the Northern Forest Center and other organizations to deliver the program in Vermont. Program partners are offering a free session to secondary and post-secondary instructors of woodworking and building trades who would like to be trained as skill evaluators for the program.

The session will introduce the program and explain how educators can integrate it into their curriculum. Through hands-on simulation, the six-hour session will train educators to assess student progress on industry-approved performance standards. The event will be held on May 17, 2014 from 9am to 2pm at U32 High School in Montpelier, and qualifies for 6 hours of continuing-education for Vermont teachers.

The Woodwork Manufacturing Skills Standards have been developed by an industry-education partnership called the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) and are being delivered to businesses and educational programs across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont through collaboration with the Northern Forest Center. The program is also offered nationally. WCA has developed more than 150 operational standards for over 50 commonly used machines and tools in the advanced woodworking industry. As a person gets certified on different woodworking operations, he or she is awarded stamps in a Woodwork Passport. The passport serves as a permanent and portable record of their skills that they can continue building throughout their career.

The Vermont Agency of Education recently approved the standards and the Woodwork Passport as an industry-recognized certification program. The partnership is now working with high school and technical education programs and at the college-level to help develop the skills required in the region’s woodworking industry.

“A career in modern woodworking requires skills as basic as reading a tape measure and as advanced as programming automated CNC (computer-numerically-controlled) routers, and everything in between,” said Collin Miller, director of wood products initiatives at the Northern Forest Center. Referring to a recent report from the North East State Foresters Association, Miller estimated that over 36,000 people are employed in value-added wood products manufacturing including furniture and related manufacturing in the Northern Forest states.

“Many U.S. manufacturing sectors, including wood products, are projecting a skills gap in the coming years,” he said. “They expect to have more openings than qualified workers ready to fill them. This program follows similar trade-certification efforts in other industries designed to retain and expand a skilled workforce to compete in the 21st century.”

For more information on this training, visit the event page at or contact Collin Miller, at 603-229-0679 ext 110.


Contact: Kelly Short, Communications Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 603-229-0679, ext. 105