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WCA updates skill standards

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America released the 2016 Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards, calling it the most significant update to the industry-accepted skill standards since they debuted in 2011.

The WCA also released a redesigned “passport,” the personal record of a woodworker’s skill standard credential achievements.

“The release of the new WCA skill standards cumulates hundreds of man hours of writing and editing work,” WCA president Scott Nelson said in a statement. “We can’t thank enough the many volunteers who contributed to helping expand and improve all of the skill standards contained in the new edition.”

WCA developed the skill standards to support the woodworking industry’s ability to train productive woodworkers. The standards include a voluntary assessment program that allows woodworkers to demonstrate their competency in woodworking skills and earn credentials recognized throughout the United States and Canada.

The new skill standards expand upon the original manual. Whereas the 2011 standards debuted with a little more than 50 machines and tools, the 2016 version covers nearly 100 machines and tools categorized in 12 sections ranging from layout to finishing. Newly added skill standards include performance criteria for operating vertical panel saws, horizontal spindle molders, double end tenoners, laminate trimmers, hollow chisel mortises, roll coaters and more.

The skill standards are used by WCA accredited skill evaluators to observe and document a passport holder’s competency of a particular skill standard. A woodworker who passes the evaluation has a credit for that skill added to his or her passport. Each passport holder’s skill standard accomplishments are stored in a cloud-based registry and can be accessed at anytime from anywhere.

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