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WoodLINKS® Wisconsin is affiliated with WoodLINKS® USA, a nationally renowned organization that offers forestry/wood products training and certificate programs to high school students and wood technology instructors.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Critical training opportunities are offered for both students and woodworking instructors. Specialized curriculum is made available for purchase by schools, and free teacher training is offered in coordination with industry leaders. Students compete in woodworking project design competitions.
WoodLINKS® Wisconsin promotes the national certificate program provided by WoodLINKS® USA. This program certifies students to a National Industry Standard for the wood industry. Passage of the test certifies high school graduates for work in the forestry/wood products industry across the nation.
EDUCATION AND OPORTUNITIES
WoodLINKS® Wisconsin assists students in exploring careers in the forestry/wood products field, and works with local forestry/wood products industry leaders to help further the practical education of its students by giving them access to mentoring opportunities, plant tours and mock interviews.
HISTORY OF THE PROGRAM
- WoodLINKS®USA started in 1996 with three pilot states: Michigan, Washington, and Wisconsin.
- 1996-2004: WoodLINKS® Wisconsin was run by Jerry Finch, Wood Technics Program Director at Fox Valley Technical College in Oshkosh.
- WoodLINKS® Wisconsin was run as a program of Fox Valley Technical College.
- In 1996, the program started with two schools located in the Fox Valley and increased to seven schools by 2004.
- In 2004, the State of Wisconsin put $100,000.00 into the WoodLINKS® program through the Wisconsin Forestry Mill Tax Fund. This funding supported the program into 2006.
- Steve Ehle was hired in 2004 to be the WoodLINKS® Wisconsin Coordinator to work with schools already in the program and to recruit new schools.
- In February 2006, Glacierland RC&D was working with the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC) to submit a grant to the WDNR for a Wood Utilization grant that was targeted at planning commissions. In looking through the Request for Proposals information, workforce development and high school curriculum that focused on forest industry were a major component of the grant. WoodLINKS® was a natural fit for this project and Steve Ehle was then contacted and agreed to be part of the project with Glacierland and ECWRPC.
- In May 2006, ECWRPC was awarded the WDNR Wood Utilization Grant and Glacierland RC&D committed to overseeing several aspects of the project. One of those aspects was to contract with Steve Ehle to continue recruiting schools and doing WoodLINKS® High School Programs. Additionally, Glacierland hired a lawyer to apply for 501(c)3 non-profit status in Wisconsin for WoodLINKS®. That application was submitted in June 2007.
- In May 2007, a second WDNR Wood Utilization Grant was awarded to ECWRPC for 7/1/2007-6/30/2009. Part of the funding will be used to support the program aspect of WoodLINKS®. Additionally, it is proposed that some funding ($6,000 over two years) be used for Glacierland RC&D to provide WoodLINKS® with the following services: program administration, applying for grants, and establishing an endowment fund.
- Since May 2006, the number of Wisconsin high schools involved in the WoodLINKS® program has increased from 15 to 31.
WoodLINKS® Wisconsin HIGH SCHOOLS & TECHNICAL COLLEGES
- New London
- Central High School Westosha
- East High School
- Fox Valley Technical College
- Hartford Union HS Oshkosh West
- La Follette High School
- Lady Smith High School
- Laona High School
- Little Chute High School
- Jefferson Peshtigo
- Madison Area Technical College
- Mellen School District
- Memorial High School
- Milwaukee Hamilton High School
- Monona Grove High School
- Monroe High School
- Oshkosh West High School
- Somerset High School
- Two Rivers High School
- West High School
- Wilson Jr. High School