NESAW/Employer Job Program

The Situation
The trades are in crisis: for every 5 retirements, just 1 new person embarks on a trade.

Thousands of good-paying woodworking jobs go unfulfilled each year because employers can’t find qualified applicants in their communities and many people (especially graduating high school seniors) have no idea that these jobs even exist.

Our enrollment is about 8-10 students a year historically, but the odds of any given student wanting to move to your particular town is pretty low.  Because demand is so high, it also means we quickly run out of candidates to place.
We previously ran a 5 month program, which consisted of 2 months of intense basic training in woodworking and cabinetmaking fundamentals, followed by three months of building a custom kitchen for someone in our community. It was a great program, but expensive and time-consuming.
So, we’ve made the decision to make the transition to a 2 month program, which would be the same as the first two months of our old program: heavy on wood theory, safety, basic woodworking skills, milling, cabinetmaking, and other more advanced tool experience.  This makes it easier for us to work with employers to get local candidates trained and back to you in a timely, more affordable manner. We would still be able to insure that they have the basic skills, aptitude, attitude, attendance, and enough training that they could be immediately useful to you, which means you could continue the more advanced training.
If demand is good, we can run more than one program a year.

Possible Solutions 

New workers that come from your area are more apt to stay there after graduation, whereas someone who moves there from another state may be less likely. Potential candidates might come from the local schools or maybe from the people who apply to you but don’t have any experience.

High school guidance counselors are highly motivated to help their students find a “home,” whether that’s in college, the military, or a career. They also know which students are motivated and have a strong work ethic.

Of course, the counselors don’t know which students have an aptitude for woodworking. That’s where you come in:

Promising Applicants

Develop a paid internship program in which you can bring on one or two high school seniors to work in your shop with the goal of full-time employment upon graduation. Then contact the guidance counselors at your local high school(s). Feel free to use our custom flyer in your meeting to explain the program. We suggest you use the back of the flyer to describe your shop, the internship program, and average full-time wages, benefits, and career paths.

The internship allows you to pre-determine if an applicant fits in to your shop’s culture, demonstrates desired work ethic and problem-solving skills, and expresses an interest in woodworking as a career. This helps alleviate the problem of hiring unexperienced people, only to find out that they just can’t cut it in your shop.

How NESAW Can Help 

Although you can certainly train your new, unskilled employees on the job, employers tell us that it can be much more efficient to turn the training over to us. We provide an intensive, 5-month training program that includes instruction in wood movement, the safe use of common power tools, joinery, cabinet construction, and basic spray finishing.

We’ve started a program specifically targeted to employers who are struggling to find qualified applicants in their geographic areas. We can’t guarantee that any of our students would be willing to relocate to you, so we’ve come up with a program to meet your needs. Here’s how it works:

  1. You identify a potential employee and bring him or her in for a short paid internship, using the process outlined above. You can also identify an existing employee who needs intensive training.
  2. You draw up a contract agreeing to allow your employee to attend NESAW and return to full-time employment upon successful completion of the program. You can even agree to pay partial tuition at NESAW in return for continued employment at your shop. NESAW offers reduced tuition to any student/employer enrolled in this program.
  3. You send that employee to NESAW for five months for training. At the end of the program, he or she returns to you with the skills, independence, and work habits you need to grow your business.

As an employer, you might consider adding the following parameters to the contract:

  • The student must work for you upon graduation or be on the hook for the employer-paid portion of the tuition. This could be prorated for a minimum period of employment, such as two years.
  • The student must perform to a particular standard in school.

Sound intriguing? If so, please call or email our director, Greg Larson, for more information and to work out a plan specific to your needs.

Inquire about our jobs program!