The National Woods Board: Creating a New Wave of Skilled Woodworkers

Addressing the Need for Skilled Trade Laborers in Woodworking

As more and more woodworkers in the field are retiring and switching careers, companies are struggling to find skilled trade laborers to fill those jobs. The National Woods Board was created to help face the challenge of labor shortages head-on—by making trade education accessible within high schools around the United States, creating career opportunities, and addressing the industry’s workforce needs.

How the Manufacturing industry Learning Lab is Helping a New Generation of Woodworkers

Inspired by The Manufacturing industry Learning Lab, also known as The MiLL, located in Colorado Springs, The National Woods Board sets out to model a similar strategy to the MiLL on a national scale. The organization was founded with the idea of making the industry-supported education designed for the MiLL accessible to students across the U.S.—regardless of their location or the size of their district’s population.

The MiLL’s program provides high schoolers hands-on training on the latest tools and manufacturing equipment, including CNC technology, from qualified instructors with industry experience. The curriculum implemented by The MiLL teaches skills and concepts that can be applied to jobs within modern wood manufacturing companies. Students complete the program with the skills and industry-recognized credentials to obtain internships and employment in the field.

Nationwide Woodworking Education and Training from the National Woods Board

The National Woods Board seeks to expand on The MiLL’s mission, establishing that connection between industry and education at a much larger scale and benefitting students graduating into the workforce nationwide.

“Our industry currently has a massive skills gap. We have a lot of older generations ready to retire and move on and not a huge backlog of skilled employees waiting to jump in,” said Thomas Allott, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Woods Board and Manager of Stiles University at Stiles Machinery.

“Many of our high schools no longer focus on building strong curriculum that supports wood manufacturing industry standards. The National Woods Board comes in to bridge the gap between education and industry to make sure these students are receiving industry-standard curriculum, so they come out of school prepared to work,” Allott added.

The National Woods Board was at AWFS Fair in Las Vegas July 25-28. There, Thomas Allott held an introductory presentation about the National Woods Board, its mission, and how people can help.

The National Woods Board is currently looking for support and funding to update the curriculum to make it scalable for all school sizes, as well as to provide a means of distribution for it. Anyone interested in supporting the organization can reach out to the National Woods Board at: or by visiting their website: