NTC is good example of wood industry, education partnership

May 15, 2012

From woodworkingnetwork.com: “Wood Industry Careers, Partnerships Promoted at WoodLINKs” —  Wood industry members, teachers, principals, and even students across the nation gathered to build industry/education partnerships, educate teachers, and promote the wood industry as a career of choice at local WoodLINKS USA teacher in-service events over the past few months.

WoodLINKS USA sponsored nine local teacher in-service events in Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Kansas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio. Michigan and Illinois in-services will be held in the spring and one in Texas during the summer of 2012.

To promote these events, an invitation was sent to every high school in each of the nine states. The in-service events were held in a variety of locations: Mesa Community College-Arizona, Madison College-Wisconsin, Theodore Roosevelt High School-Ohio, Tiger Stop-Washington, Pittsburg State University- Kansas, and the Virginia Higher Education Center-Virginia.

Topics at the in-service events covered a wide range of industry related skills and concerns including public perception of the wood industry, veneering, inexpensive project ideas for the classroom/lab, CNC equipment, LEAF-Forestry Education Curriculum, Woodwork Career Alliance of North America Skill Standards, the impact of the wood industries “carbon footprint”, trends in adhesives, economic impact of the wood industry, software programs, spray finishing, cutting tools, applied math, and project management were some of the topics covered at the various locations.

Adjunct Professor Pat Connelly shared his reason for attending the Ohio inservice, “I wanted to learn more about teaching CNC concepts with my program and I know WoodLINKS is a big proponent of that.” Several hundred teachers, administrators, principals, and students descended on the in-service events over the past couple of months. Troy Spear’s students at Theodore Roosevelt High School gave a demonstration of Cabinet Vision driving their Omni Tech CNC router.

During the Wisconsin in-service, Patrick Molzahn hosted a WCA Skill Standards Evaluator Training session. Attendees also toured Wisconsin Built, a leading manufacturer of fixtures, casegoods, and specialty products.

Doug Hague of Pittsburg State University (PSU) exposed attendees to high tech wood manufacturing equipment used in the PSU program. One of the key ingredients to hosting a relevant teacher in-service event is industry partners. Industry partners bring expertise and business understanding to the table.

The in-service at Pittsburg State University dealt with the problem of skilled worker shortage in their, “Industry’s Perception/Demand” session. Industry partners can also help change the public’s misconception of the wood industry. Mark Roberts in Arizona said, “Our goal is to change the perception of the woodworking industry by focusing on those things that hit the parent’s pocketbook, showcase highly motivated and productive students, and the relationship with our industry partners”.

The teachers need to see and hear about the latest equipment, products and processes. At the Ohio inservice, attendees were also treated to a live video conference with Travis Allen, an instructor at Northcentral Technical College in Antigo, Wisconsin. “Video conferencing with Travis was a spectacular opportunity that I wanted to share with the attendees,” stated Theodore Roosevelt instructor Troy Spear.

“While I know there are other schools out there, NTC’s facility is a great example of industry education partnerships, as it (the NTC program) was funded in part by industry. Many of my industry partners made the comment how nice it would be if there were a program was like NTC,” Spear added.

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