Attending the SkillsUSA NLSC allowed me to witness the SkillsUSA TECHSPO Trade Show and Career Fair. The TECHSPO technical exposition is known as the largest trade and technical education exposition in the U.S.
The lively Opening Ceremony and ceremonial SkillsUSA Championships Ribbon-cutting included keynote speaker, Chris Fischer, a well-known personality in television and conservancy circles and founder and CEO of Fischer Productions. He is a life-long adventurer, and during the past four years has led teams of scientists and anglers on unprecedented missions for great whites and other sharks, filmed and produced for the National Geographic Channel. “What is the largest room in the world?” – Ask any SkillsUSA member in attendance that evening for the answer.
Isabel Soto, former SkillsUSA National Officer, escorted me to watch more than more than 6,000 competitors in 99 hands-on skill and leadership contests. SkillsUSA-affiliated instructional programs represent 130 different occupational areas. This is Isabel’s 7th consecutive year attending the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. She participates each year to see the nation’s most skilled students rewarded for excellence, experience one of the single biggest days in corporate volunteerism, and witness the great level of cooperation between students, teachers, and industry at NLSC.
The SkillsUSA Championships is a national-level competition for public high school and college/postsecondary students enrolled in career and technical education programs. SkillsUSA organizes this event, and it is considered the single greatest day of industry volunteerism in America annually at an estimated cost of more than $35 million. Each SkillsUSA Championship contestant is a state-level gold medalist. It was breathtaking to see these competitors so focused and fully engaged in the difficult tasks at hand and exhibiting those academic and technical skills learned in their Career and Technical Education programs.
Tim Lawrence, SkillsUSA Executive Director, is right—SkillsUSA changes lives. I left the SkillsUSA NLSC, feeling inspired and confident in the future of our nation’s workforce.
Visit: www.skillsusa.org for frequent updates for conference photo and video coverage.
Robin Utz leads the College and Careers Transitions Branch in the Division of Academic and Technical Education in OCTAE.