Here are some updates on activities from the AWFS Education Department:
In 2016, AWFS launched a “Wood CTE” group with several other industry associations including WMMA, WMIA, CPMA, WCMA, AWI, and CMA to share information with each other about their current activities and interest related to CTE and skilled trades education for the purpose of collaboration on industry-wide projects. The group met at IWF in 2016 and again at the AWFS Fair last month, along with regular phone meetings. The current objective is to develop a unified marketing campaign to increase awareness and improve the perception of industry careers. This will be shared on association websites via resource pages for career seekers. Stay tuned for exciting updates to the AWFS.org website education section!
In June, AWFS Education Director Adria Torrez attended the NAM Manufacturing Summit in Washington DC with members of the WMMA Public Policy Committee. The group visited dozens of legislators and staffers with focus on support of CTE and reauthorization of the Perkins bill, the primary funding mechanism for school CTE programs. The day after their hill visits, the House passed their version of the Perkins bill but it has not yet passed in the Senate. Highlights of the visit include meeting with staffers for Senators Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), both of whom are influential forces on CTE and the Perkins bill. Multiple staffers shared with us the significant value of our member companies writing letters to legislators expressing the critical importance of CTE programs and how the programs (or their absence) affect companies and workforce development. Be on the lookout for letter templates from AWFS that you can sign and send to your legislators! If you would like to join the AWFS Public Policy Committee and/or participate in future fly-in events, please contact Adria Torrez at email@example.com or (323) 215-0311
Two new education-focused show features were introduced at the 2017 AWFS®Fair that led to increased networking and problem-solving opportunities. The Education Town Hall was a 90 minute session on Saturday, July 22 at the AWFS®Fair Stage wherein representatives from 13 different post-secondary woodworking programs from across the country had 5 minutes each to talk about their schools accompanied by slides and images. Attendees learned about each school’s program focus, certifications, facilities, students, faculty, and other helpful information. High school teachers and students attended the event to learn more about advanced educational opportunities. You can see the presentation here.
The Education Pavilion, another new show feature, was a dedicated area on the show floor for post-secondary school programs and products and services for teachers and students. Fifteen exhibitors were showcased in the pavilion and attendees enjoyed making skateboards at the CreateAskate booth, a STEM curriculum that teaches students science and math principles through skateboard building.
Returning to the show from 2015, the Industry-Education Networking Luncheon was a productive workshop session wherein the roughly thirty attendees discussed their challenges and how to work together to solve them. The group developed a contact list and learned new ways to connect with one another.
The AWFS educational resource website WoodIndustryEd.org has been updated with a new look, graphics and images. This website includes a searchable database of over 1,100 education and training programs related to woodworking throughout North America. Users can search by program type, certificate type, zip code, state, city, program name, or other filters. The site also includes listings of trade associations; contests, awards and scholarships; trade press; major industry events and more. Coming soon: the career resources section will be enhanced and regular blog posts and more video content will be added. If you would like to add your organization’s training program or other resources to the website, please contact Adria Torrez firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 215-0311
There are so many ways you can get involved and support industry education, these are just a few of the projects AWFS staff and volunteers are working on now! If you would like to become a volunteer or support education efforts, please contact AWFS Education Director Adria Torrez email@example.com or (323) 215-0311.