The Association of Woodworking & Furniture Suppliers rolled out a new marketing campaign called “Meet the New Face of Manufacturing,” designed to improve the image of jobs in manufacturing and attract more young people to the wood industry.
The trade group has created a poster featuring young professionals currently employed in woodworking careers. The piece is intended to capture the attention students and teachers as well as career counselors, parents and others who are in a position to influence career choices. More than 1,000 posters have been distributed.
“The purpose is to basically inform primarily parents, educators, counselors, administrators and legislators that there is a future and career opportunities within the woodworking industry and within manufacturing as a whole,” AWFS assistant education director Adria Torrez says.
“We are trying to give a new image to those industries by giving them a more fun angle and show them there are young professionals that are working in the industry and that there are a variety of different job opportunities, not just what they would typically think of or a traditional shop. There are lots of different avenues and needs for young professionals.”
Initial supporters of the campaign include Blum, Casadei-Busellato, Planit and Woodworking Career Alliance.
Casadei-Busellato product manager Thomas Tuck got his foot in the door as a high school competitor in the 2001 AWFS Fresh Wood student woodworking competition. He majored in furniture studies at Appalachian State University, interned with AWFS and began his career as marketing coordinator for the SCM Group.
“Young people should be looking at the wood industry as a career choice. There is a lot of opportunity to grow professionally as many boomers are retiring from the industry,” Tuck says.
Other AWFS efforts aimed at closing the gap between industry and education are a series of guidelines developed to help companies reach out to students and schools on their own.
The guidelines are designed to assist companies in setting up an internship program in their company; inviting a teacher into one’s company for a short course on industry practices which the teacher can take back and incorporate into the curriculum; how to prepare and deliver a presentation in the classroom, and offering a school tour of their companies.
Torrez adds that AWFS intends to create additional images and general interest stories in the ongoing campaign, as well as create a photo shoot of the 2015 AWFS fair. Any company in the wood industry can submit photos for potential use in the campaign.
For information, visit www.awfs.org.
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue.