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Articles by Lisa Wells

Warwick Area Career and Technical School

As a kid, Michael wasn’t known as a strong student. He got into trouble a lot, or maybe trouble found him. “My parents weren’t saving for college,” Michael says, “they were saving for bail.”

Michael Haynes grew up on a family farm in a blue-collar rural area of Warwick, Rhode Island. His parents worked hard to make ends meet. Both his father and uncle built their own houses from the ground up. Michael learned how to work hard and how to work with his hands.

When Haynes entered high school, he decided to combine traditional learning with technical studies in construction by attending West Bay Vocational School (WBVS) in Coventry, Rhode Island. Like a lot of tradespeople, Michael discovered he wasn’t a poor student, he simply learned better with his hands than with a chalkboard. In fact, at WBVS, Haynes excelled at learning and soon found a trade that could support his future. Read the full article…

The Krenov School of Fine Woodworking

For over twenty years, hundreds of passionate, fine woodworkers enjoyed the unique experience of learning directly from James Krenov, founder of what was then known as the College of the Redwoods, Fine Furniture Program in Fort Bragg, California.

James Krenov trained under Swedish furniture designer, Carl Malmstem. Like Malmstem, Krenov reached out to people through his furniture. He loved the functionality of fine furniture, he marveled at the process of furniture making, and he deeply appreciated how each piece tells a story. As a recognized furniture maker and popular lecturer, Krenov moved from Sweden to Northern California in 1981, where he was invited to develop and direct the Fine Furniture program. Read the full article…

Madison Area Technical College

A premier cabinet-making and millwork program

Patrick Molzahn, the program director of the Cabinet Making and Millwork Program at Madison Area Technical College (MATC) in Wisconsin, is no stranger to hard work. Hired in 1998, and taking on the lead teaching position by 2000, Molzahn recognized one of those magical moments in life few people are prepared for and fewer are offered—a moment where Patrick could effect a tremendous creative change in an education program, in the students who attend the program, and in his own life, too. Due to his passion and determination, and his interest in “lean” practices, Molzahn turned a bare-bones, one-year program into a much sought-after educational opportunity for students interested in fine woodworking, as a career and a craft. Read the full article…


“As I live my life, I will view every challenge as an opportunity to: Set goals, Build character, Gain knowledge, Maintain balance, Demonstrate perseverance, Broaden my perspective, and Invest in my community. Through this process, I am being transformed into a Self sufficient, contributing member of society! When I say “Youth”, you say “Build”, YOUTH BUILD! YOUTH BUILD! YOUTH BUILD!”

-YouthBuild Pledge

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Dirt to Doorknobs: Carpentry Technology at Green River Community College

We live in a society that undervalues blue-collar work. In the late 80s and early 90s, when computer technology grew by leaps and bounds, industrial arts classrooms were turned into computer labs; students were taught that a four-year degree was the only accepted path after high school. Today, we see a huge increase in the number of college graduates that cannot find a job in their field because a flood of new graduates—in addition to the existing workforce—are competing for the same job. Read the full article…