The mission of the National Woods Board (NWB) is to replicate and proliferate the successful model implemented by the Colorado Springs-based Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab, known as The MiLL, on a national level. The organization was founded to make the industry-supported education that was built for The MiLL accessible and scalable to students regardless of the location or population of their district.
At the MiLL, highly-qualified instructors provide high school students with hands-on experience and training on the latest tools and manufacturing equipment, including CNC technology. These instructors use a curriculum that ensures students are learning skills and concepts that can be directly applied to modern wood manufacturing companies. Upon completion of the coursework and training, students will have the skills and industry-recognized credentials needed to obtain internships or employment.
The effective strategy of the MiLL, and one NWB seeks to expand, is to establish a mutually-beneficial relationship between industry and education. The MiLL is owned and operated by Widefield School District No. 3 (WSD3), and the program’s materials and supplies are provided by industry partners, at no cost to the school district or the students. The work that has been done already at the MiLL has opened opportunities for students in the Colorado education system for years to come. In continued cooperation with WSD3, the NWB will benefit future CTE students nationwide based on further collaboration between industry and education.
The majority of the NWB’s board of directors are individuals who helped get The MiLL to where it is today. Serving on the board are: chairman Thomas Allott (supplier), Brian Donahue (supplier), Dean Mattson (educator), Jason Howell (supplier), John LeTourneau (executive coach), Kelly Victor-Burke (manufacturer), Molly Turner (educator), Rob Roszell (media), Scott Robinson (manufacturer), Shane Skalla (educator), Tim Fixmer (media), Tim Kistler (educator), and Amanda Conger (executive director).
Though a great deal of work has been done to date, the effort has just begun. The success of this endeavor will depend largely on the commitment and involvement of industry executives and concerned corporate citizens. Help build the bridge to guarantee a successful future for the woodworking industry!
In order to fulfill our mission, we need your participation. There are a few ways you can assist in making this vision a reality: