When I was in High School, I knew that a formal College Education wasn’t right for me. I had been surrounded by Woodworking most of my life, so I chose a career path that matched my experience. I enrolled in a local Vocational School and took up Cabinetmaking with the intention of making it my profession.

I’ve been in the Cabinet Industry for over two decades and genuinely appreciate the experience I gained in my High School Cabinetmaking Class. It allowed me to get my foot in the door at a local Architectural Millwork Shop, and it was critical when I made the transition into the Engineering side of the business.

Unfortunately, many people don’t have that same opportunity these days. We’ve seen a dramatic shift in the Building Trades, and, at least here in Pennsylvania, many High School Cabinetmaking programs have been dissolved and blended into the Carpentry curriculum.

This shift has made it virtually impossible for Architectural Millwork and Custom Cabinet Shops to find help with any experience in the Shop (Production / Manufacturing) or the Office (Engineering / Drafting). I suspect this situation will worsen as the current workforce retires, leaving a skills gap that will be difficult to fill.

Millwork Shop Drawing Training

Filling the Skills Gap

A few months ago, we received an email from a Commercial Millwork Shop that caught us a little off guard. The shop wasn’t looking for Shop Drawings; instead, they inquired if we would help train a new employee as a draftsman. They explained that this individual had taken an AutoCAD Class but needed help specific to the Millwork Industry. Would we be able to assist?

Steve and I discussed this request at great length and were on the fence about it. We were concerned that we would fumble through the process since we didn’t have any formal training outlined. Without a plan in place, it would be off-the-cuff and potentially disorganized. Despite that, we wanted to step in and lend a hand however we could, so we went for it. We suggested that we start slow and test the waters. This way, if things didn’t work out for either side, we could politely shake hands and part ways with minimal time or financial risk.

We’ve been providing Millwork Shop Drawing Training to this company for approximately three months and it has been a great experience. It has been a lot of fun to teach the skills we’ve learned over the past twenty years and help guide someone new in the industry.

This experience has made us realize that we want to take the next step and offer Shop Drawing Training in a more formal way. We have a rough outline of what we’re trying to accomplish but need a little help shaping the program to suit your needs. What better way to understand what you’re looking for than to simple come right out and ask?

If you are in the market for Shop Drawing Training – what is it that you would like to see in a program? It would help us a great deal if you could take a moment of your time and fill out the survey below. It applies to both Employers and Employees seeking education.

Shop Drawing Training Survey

Walt White