In name only, WoodLINKS USA will be no more. The industry-supported educational organization is merging with the Woodwork Career Alliance, which basically has the same goal of preparing the next generation of woodworkers to join the work force.
“We licensed the name out of Canada and we decided that we are going to end that agreement as of June 30 of this year. We will now come under the umbrella of the Woodwork Career Alliance,” WoodLINKS USA president Patrick Molzahn says.
The February announcement follows months of discussions, according to Molzahn. The agreement allows WoodLINKS USA to use the WCA’s credentialing system created in 2010.
“We believe that one organization having one goal with one mission will work best to accomplish our goals,” says Molzahn. “So really, it’s about building synergy and the momentum that everybody’s doing in different areas. The WCA has a great credentialing system and we’ve been using that with WoodLINKS and it’s just kind of been a natural evolution.”
The next step is to form a committee that will serve as an educational arm of the WCA, according to Molzahn. This will help the WCA do what WoodLINKS USA has done best: market its skill evaluation program to students and teachers at high schools and colleges across the country. Both groups have been trying to establish a curriculum to prepare students to meet industry skill standards, of which some are still in development.
The merger is also about consolidating financial resources.
“The nice thing with the WCA is that there is a revenue stream through the sales of evaluation credits and printed media, so the WCA has a business plan and a better revenue source. Hopefully that will alleviate some of the funding challenges we’ve had in the past. We also won’t be sending [any more] site fees to Canada,” says Molzahn.
For information, visit www.woodworkcareer.org.
— Jennifer Hicks