In my research for today’s article, I came across the Annual Woodworking Show, Sale and Raffle held in Green Bay, Wis. over the weekend. The event is another way to expose consumers to woodworking and get people interested in the industry. Jane Alesh, event chairperson from the Northeast Wisconsin Woodworkers Guild, was quoted in the news article that the industry needs more young professionals.
A few years ago, I reported on the woodland owners industry. This is another industry with an aging population that is striving to get younger professionals into the industry. And in college, I worked at the Experimental Aircraft Association – an association that is afflicted by the same problem: members were getting older, and how did they get the younger generations more involved. This seems to be a challenge for many industries. One way to find solutions to this challenge is to see what others are doing to combat it and take a note from the practices that work.
During my time in the woodland industry, the association redesigned its website for better usability, added PayPal to the website, and launched a Facebook page. These few things made access to the industry easier, becoming a member or attending events easier, and seeing what was going on daily with Facebook updates. These may be little things, but sometimes, it’s the simple things that work the best.
Younger generations want to accomplish tasks with as few barriers as possible. So for the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, enabling Paypal on its website was key. People could sign up for membership or an event with only a few keystrokes – instead of filling out a paper form, mailing it or faxing into the main office.
For the Northeast Wisconsin Woodworkers Guild, it’s putting on an annual show that showcases latest products and technology. As a woodworker, what are you doing to bring the next generation to the woodworking industry? Are you engaging in woodworking workshops, speaking at educational programs, displaying at shows, or participating in associations to help brainstorm new ways to bring younger members?
How are you a proponent for your industry? Share your thoughts.