KYN: Northwood Tech Takes Gold and Silver in Carpentry Competition

RICE LAKE, Wis. – “I think anybody right now knows that there is a shortage of people in the trades and an apprenticeship is a great way to get that kind of training in accomplished workforce development,” said President of Northwood Technical College, John Will.

Northwood Technical College in Rice Lake, Wisconsin had two of their apprentices through the ABC Carpentry program take gold and silver at the National Craft Championship that took place in San Antonio, Texas.

“Well the last few years that we competed we’ve taken first, second, and third, pretty much a clean sweep which is pretty neat. So that says a lot about the students, it boils down to them being able to compete and how they perform on that given day,” Northwood Technical College Instructor, Scott Theilig says.

Preparation for the competition entails learning how to read prints, understanding different roof systems, wall systems, how to build different styles of rafters, and using what ever experience is picked up on the job site.

“It’s a great accomplishment to win it, but just getting to get to go do the competition and really seeing and talking to everybody else and seeing where they’ve come from and knowing that you’re doing something that you’ll probably not be able to do every again and that a lot of people don’t get to experience. It’s a lot of fun,” said ABC Carpentry Apprenticeship Program at Northwood Tech Apprentice, Drew Hawkins.

Drew Hawkins took first place at the competition in the category of carpentry and also won a safety award. He says the competition can be stressful as expectations are unknown.

“Extremely stressful, we didn’t know what we were going to build until the morning of the competition, you don’t know how good anybody else is going to perform. You don’t know how good you’re going to perform, you just have to rely on everything you’ve been taught over the years,” said Hawkins.

“Really good being apart of it, it teaches you a lot of things and it was definitely stressful the day of,” said ABC Carpentry Apprenticeship Program at Northwood Tech Apprentice, Tony Ehrike.

Tony Ehrike was the silver medalist in the competition and says the apprenticeship program has been a great way to prepare for competition.

“What they teach you in the apprenticeship you get to work out and you get more opportunity to figure it out to where when you’re on the job site you pretty much only get one shot at it,” Ehrike says.

If you’re interested in joining the apprenticeship program at Northwood Tech, you can go to their website, for more information.

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