SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, Kansas City, MO

SkillsUSA returned to Kansas City June 23-27, 2014 for its 50th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, a showcase of career and technical education students. More than 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from more than 1,100 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated in the event.

A special highlighted event is the annual SkillsUSA Championships. The SkillsUSA Championships is the national-level competition for public high school and college/postsecondary technical 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 contestant is a state-level gold medalist. Begun in 1967, the SkillsUSA Championships has grown from 54 competitors in three contests to more than 6,000 competitors in 99 hands-on skill and leadership contests this year. SkillsUSA adds contests to the SkillsUSA Championships to meet the demands of new and expanding occupations. SkillsUSA affiliated instructional programs represent 130 different occupational areas. The Championships require a massive amount of equipment and materials, including more than 1,000 computers, 50 trucks, 9,500 bricks and 1,500 blocks, 60 stoves, and complete laboratories for machining, welding, auto repair and painting.

The Arizona Association of SkillsUSA received an impressive number of awards at this year’s NLSC. Arizona students earned top honors in Architectural Drafting, Career Pathways Showcase, Video Game Development, Masonry, Mobile Robotics Technology, T-Shirt Design, Welding, and Welding Fabrication. Top student winners received gold, silver and bronze medallions.  Many also received prizes such as tools of their trade and/or scholarships to further their careers and education.  Additionally, individuals from River Valley High School qualified to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national honor recognizing sustained service. Alex Bruin (Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology) was elected to the position of Post-Secondary National Officer.

A complete list of winners is available online. Go to

SkillsUSA helps students discover and grow their career passions. As a nationwide partnership of students, instructors and industry working together, SkillsUSA works to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It helps every student excel. The nationwide career and technical education (CTE) student organization serves more than 300,000 high school, college and postsecondary students—and their instructors—in technical, skilled, and service occupation instructional programs. CTE is learning that works for America. SkillsUSA has the active support of more than 600 corporations, trade associations, business and labor unions at the national level. Over 11.6 million people have been annual members of SkillsUSA since its founding as The Vocational Industrial Clubs of America in 1965. SkillsUSA programs teach leadership, citizenship and character development to complement technical skill training. The organization emphasizes respect for the dignity of work, ethics, workmanship, scholarship and safety.