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Stiles Education: ten years and 5,000-plus students later, quality training remains a hallmark.

Editor's note: Stiles Machinery Inc. will host a rededication ceremony for the newly refurbished headquarters of Stiles Education on Nov. 4, commemorating 10 years of commitment to education for the woodworking industry.

In the late 1980s, Stiles Machinery Inc. recognized an increasing need for training within the panel processing industry. Advances in technology and automation meant personnel needed more complete sets of skills. Ironically, just as the wood industry was embracing higher technology, many secondary schools were closing the doors on their wood programs. Not only were employers lacking people skilled in using advanced equipment, they were now searching for trainable entry-level employees who could learn how to run this advanced equipment.

Taking the leadership, Stiles Machinery launched the Stiles Education Center in 1990, now known as Stiles Education, with L. Duane Griffiths as manager of educational services. As the former director of the National Wood Technology Center at Pittsburg State University, Griffiths brought with him many years of experience in the field of woodworking.

From the start, Stiles Education classes focused on basic panel processing concepts, machinery operation and machine maintenance. In 1983, increased use of CNC machinery spurred the demand for programming training. Today more than half of the training that Stiles provides is in the area of CNC programming and other computer based education. During its first year, Stiles Education had 88 students pass through its doors. Ten years and more than 5,000 students later, Stiles Education measures its success by its growing reputation for quality training.

The Stiles Education staff has grown steadily over the past 10 years, and now consists of a dedicated team of six learning facilitators and three support personnel. The majority of students who attend Stiles Education classes are employed by panel processing manufacturers. Companies sponsor attendance to increase their employees' knowledge in programming, operation, maintenance and troubleshooting. Classes are carefully balanced to include classroom and hands-on training using the latest panel processing equipment. Students who work directly on the equipment in addition to receiving classroom training are three times more likely to retain what they have learned.

Stiles Education facilities contain stationary processing centers, edgebanders, CNC routers, point-to-point boring machines and much more. Accredited in 1996 by the International Association of Continuing Education & Training, Stiles Education must meet high standards set for each training program and is the only school in our industry to achieve this distinction. Continuing Education Units are awarded for successful completion of each class offered at Stiles Education. The CEU is an internationally recognized unit of educational measure, and in certain cases is exchangeable for college credit. Stiles Education maintains student records for a period of 10 years, and transcripts are available upon request.

As Stiles Education celebrates its loth anniversary in the year 2000, it looks forward to expanding to serve the future needs of the industry. The woodworking business must embrace the education and training of personnel as an investment which will allow it to make the most of its capital equipment purchases. Companies only make money when their machines are running. They make more when they are run right.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:516
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