skills gap

Medalist Now Advances to National Championships with Local Focus

SkillsUSA California Woodworking Students Compete Remotely

Industry professionals from AWFS® (Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers®) member companies and the Society of Wood Manufacturing (SWM) supported students from high schools across the state competing in the first ever remote SkillsUSA California Cabinetmaking and Introductory Woodworking contests. The contests were designed to be completed entirely at home, and students submitted videos and participated in virtual interviews with the judges. Virtual Competitions a New Experience for All The virtual woodworking skill contests consisted of four components: a written test, which included safety, mathematical, and woodworking knowledge questions; a woodworking project that could be built at home; a brief video presentation[...]

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Industry Professional Speaks to High School Students about Wood Careers

by Adria Salvatore, AWFS In March 2021, Saúl Martín was invited to speak virtually to the woodworking classes at Redwood High School in Visalia, Calif. Martín is vice president of operations at Architectural Woodworking Company (AWC) in Southern California, a company that produces high end woodwork and furniture for commercial clients in Downtown Los Angeles. He is also a strong supporter of woodworking education programs: he is lead volunteer for the SkillsUSA California woodworking contests, he has hosted student internships and teacher externships, he serves on local school advisory committees and has hosted MFG Day (Manufacturing Day) events. In the fall[...]

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Learn how one woman launched a Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program

SHARED FROM WOODWORKING NETWORK Kelly Victor-Burke, owner of Burke Architectural Woodwork, shared how she launched the nation's first woodwork manufacturing specialist apprenticeship in her Southeastern Michigan shop in a Woodworking Network webinar. Titled, "Grow your own: Training your future skilled woodworkers," the webinar was held in December 2020 and was aimed at showing how others can set up a Department of Labor-registered woodworking apprenticeship program. Victor-Burke drafted the initial framework of the program to address the employment gap in the wood products industry through cross-training and upskilling new and existing employees in a combination of CAD, mechatronics, wood processing, coatings, estimating and[...]

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Blum’s Brian Joyce Looks to the Future, Even in the Uncertain Present

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE Brian Joyce, Vice President of Sales at Blum Inc., entered our industry in the early 1980s, building cabinets for a small, custom cabinet shop in Southern California as a way to support himself through college.  Little did he know then that this "odd job" would lead to a rewarding career. Over the last three decades, he has worked for three industry leaders. Five years ago, he moved from California to North Carolina where Blum's U.S. corporate office is to take on more national responsibilities within the Sales Department before becoming VP of Sales almost three years ago. We[...]

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Press Release: AWFS® Backs PARTNERS Act

AWFS® is in support of the Promoting Apprenticeships through Regional Training Networks for Employers’ Required Skills (PARTNERS) Act, recently introduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) and Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA-3). The PARTNERS Act would help small business by creating a grant program to develop industry partnerships, work-based learning programs, and mentoring and support services for workers. Read more…[...]

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Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Release Updated 2018 Skills Gap Report

You may have already seen that last week the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte published the highly anticipated 2018 update to their oft-referenced Manufacturing Skills Gap study. The need is even more intense than the last report in 2015. You can download the full report and the synopsis, and see infographics here: And this article is a good summary: Some highlights from the article/report: “The (skills gap) problem is only expected to worsen. As many as 2.4 million jobs may go unfilled over the next 10 years, according to the study. That could put at risk $454 billion in manufacturing value — or 17% of forecasted[...]

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Wood Industry Resource Collaborative to Spark Workforce Growth

Eleven wood industry associations are pleased to announce the formation of a coalition aimed primarily at perpetuating the long-term growth of the industry by sustaining an engaged workforce. Since its formative two-day brainstorming meeting in November 2017, the group has chosen to organize under the name Wood Industry Resource Collaborative (WIRC). Pronounced “Work,” the name does a great job maintaining the group’s mission and goals. The collaborative group is a consortium of trade associations, all related to the woodworking or the wood products manufacturing industry. The group’s purpose is to provide a collection of tools and solutions for the wood industry[...]

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Webinar: Join the Movement, Host a MFG Day Event!

WATCH THE RECORDING from the AWFS webinar Join The Movement, Host a MFG Day Event! held on Jun 7, 2018 10:00 AM PDT Looking for a way to attract skilled workers? Would you like to connect students interested in woodworking-related careers? Have you considered hosting a company tour or open house? 64% of students who attend a company tour or open house are "more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing"! MFG Day - a national campaign to increase student awareness of manufacturing careers - provides resources to help you plan your company event. AWFS hosted a webinar on Thursday, June 7, 2018 about how to get involved in[...]

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Running Theme: Shortage of Skilled Workers

Have you noticed lately how the "shortage of skilled workers" is becoming a critical and urgent theme? Rightly so, manufacturing is expected to grow, but many industries are concerned that they will not have enough skilled workers to maintain it. This supplier is doubling it's plant, and will soon need 200+ more workers. This well-known manufacturer can't find skilled workers fast enough. This teacher is concerned that not enough students are available for opportunities from industry. And this article states that as many as 2 million may go unfilled in the next decade due to the skills gap! What is causing this problem? What can[...]

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