2015 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, Louisville, KY

Submitted by: Ryan Hamilton, ADE CTSO Team Leader

SkillsUSA members from across the country traveled to Louisville, June 22-26, 2015 for its 51st annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, a showcase of career and technical education students. Quality career and technical education was the centerpiece of the conference. More than 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from more than 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated in the event.

A special highlight of the event is the annual SkillsUSA Championships June 24 and 25 with 100 hands-on skill and leadership competitions. 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 $36 million. Each contestant is a state-level gold medalist. Originated in 1967, the SkillsUSA Championships has grown from 54 competitors in three contests to more than 5,900 competitors in 98 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 Arizona Association of SkillsUSA received an impressive number of awards at this year’s NLSC. Arizona students earned top honors in a variety of contests and national leadership positions. 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.  In addition, Arizona contestants also had the opportunity to receive Skill Point Certificates.  The Skill Point Certificate was awarded in 86 occupational and leadership areas to students who achieved a high score defined by industry. A complete listing of medalists can be found at http://skillsusa-register.org/rpts/EventMedalists.aspx

SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA chapters help students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations to excel. SkillsUSA has more than 300,000 students and instructors as members.