Approaches to, and Perceived Benefits of, Training in the Secondary Wood Industry


  • Matthew S. Bumgardner
  • Urs Buehlmann
  • Albert T. Schuler
  • Brooke Baldwin Wisdom


Training, competitiveness, secondary wood industry, furniture, cabinets, millwork


Practitioners and researchers alike have noted that a well-trained workforce is an important component of the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers in the global economy. This study compares four secondary wood industry sectors on their approaches to, and perceived benefits of, training production employees. The study was based on an Internet survey in the autumn of 2003 of subscribers to a major wood industry publication. A sample of 197 firms was split into four type categories (cabinets, household furniture, contract furniture, and millwork) and two size categories (fewer than 50 employees and 50 or more employees) and compared on several questions related to training of production employees. Some differences were found among the firm types and between the firm sizes. However, the firms were similar in a number of respects. The majority indicated that the return on training was positive, and firms agreed on average that training was critical to their future competitiveness. Implications for domestic competitiveness are noted based on the findings.


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