No matter who you are, there’s a place for you in the wood industry. That’s the message the Wood Industry Resource Collaborative is trying to send with “You Wood,” a new career awareness campaign designed to draw fresh talent into the field. Developed by a group of industry trade associations in partnership with Nashville-based Industrial Strength Marketing, the campaign offers career resource information, quizzes, links to educational resources and a calendar of events.
“Why Wood? Wood is responsible for 4% of the world economy,” the website states. “Wood is vital to the global economy in ways we don’t often notice. From utility poles to anti-tumor treatments extracted from trees, manufactured wood products and processes contribute to reduced fossil fuel dependency and create healthier, safer and more sustainable communities. The wood industry is vibrant and growing, driven by a desire for renewable sources and higher quality products. Tools and automation have helped make many new careers possible in engineering, manufacturing, design and education.”
Inviting visitors to get to know the wood industry, the website lays out career possibilities in a variety of areas, including flooring, cabinetry, architectural millwork and technology & machinery. Though the campaign focuses mostly on various types of woodworking and crafting, the lumber and forestry industries are a natural extension. It’s mainly geared towards high school students and young people in their 20s and 30s seeking a career change, including military veterans.
A 2020 study by the Wood Industry Resource Collaborative found that over 70 percent of all respondents had no awareness of wood industry careers, but 23 percent would consider choosing one.
“We realize how critical it is to increase awareness of our industry and the career opportunities which exist for both students and those seeking a career change where they can utilize skills they’ve already developed in the workplace,” said WMIA president and CEO Larry Hoffer. “It is our objective that the You Wood website will serve as a portal for those unfamiliar with the wood industry to learn more and begin exploration of their wood industry-related career journey.”