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The National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, held a graduation ceremony at the Venango Technology Center in Oil City on Friday, August 8, 2008. The ceremony honored the 156th graduating class of the association’s Inspector Training School and the first class to complete the program offsite in the school’s sixty-year history. Thirteen students from throughout Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan graduated.

For the past five years, NHLA has partnered with Clarion University–Venango Campus to offer college credit for the NHLA program, awarding credits toward an associate degree through the university’s Department of Applied Technology. Clarion University is the only university in the country to offer college credit for the NHLA program.

Because of the success of that partnership, NHLA brought the technical component of the program to the region for ten weeks this summer, in cooperation with Clarion University–Venango Campus, Keystone Community Education Council (KCEC), and the Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group (AHUG). Students from out of the area lived in the Venango Campus student apartment complex during the program.

The world’s largest and oldest hardwood industry association, NHLA represents 1,600 companies and individuals that produce, use and sell North American hardwood lumber, or provide equipment, supplies or services to the hardwood industry. It was founded in 1898 to establish a uniform system of grading rules for the measurement and inspection of hardwood lumber. Since 1980, its headquarters have been in Memphis.

The high value of hardwood lumber dictates that boards are graded each time that they are bought or sold within the hardwood industry on the way from the sawmill to their final use in furniture, flooring, or paneling. Hardwood lumber inspectors are responsible for determining the species, grade, and volume of each piece of lumber, and are employed by sawmills, dry kiln operators, wholesale lumber distributors, manufacturing plants, exporters, importers, and other types of firms that utilize hardwood lumber.

More than a century after origination, the NHLA standards and rules that were once developed to ease regional trade are now employed worldwide for the same reason. To this day, the NHLA Lumber Inspector Training School in Memphis is the only school of its kind in the world and has attracted students from Canada, Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. More than 6,700 students have graduated from the Inspector Program, many of whom are now in management or ownership positions. From Inspector Training School, where a career in the hardwood industry takes root, to Leadership Development Classes for managers who seek to further their careers, to Technical Short Course Training, NHLA educational offerings reach all levels of careers and all sizes of companies. To learn more about NHLA and the educational opportunities please visit

Clarion University−Venango Campus, located in Oil City, is the oldest regional campus in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The campus provides high-quality educational programs and personalized services to help students succeed. Students can begin any of Clarion University’s 90+ bachelor’s degrees at the Venango Campus, earn an associate degree, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in select areas, obtain a one-year certificate or participate in a variety of professional development and personal enrichment courses. The campus is home to Clarion University’s School of Nursing and Allied Health and its Department of Applied Technology. Clarion University−Venango Campus is committed to serving the needs of the community.

8/20/2008 11:06 AM

National Hardwood Lumber Association to hold graduation in Oil City