LYNDON CENTER -- The 50th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference and Championships were held in Kansas City, Mo. June 23-27. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.
The annual SkillsUSA Championship brings together more than 6,000 career and technical education students participating in events representing 100 different trades. The SkillsUSA gold medal winners from each state are invited to compete each year.
Students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations like electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, welding, medical assisting, automotive technologies and culinary arts. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations, and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry.
This year, Lyndon Institute sent six students to the national competition. They were, from the Class of 2014, Devon Bedor, Christopher Hasting, Andrew Hershey, Keith LaPlant, Miranda Martin and, from the Class of 2015, Jake Daniels. Also joining the team were SkillsUSA advisors and instructors Melissa Tyler, Jerry Leonard and Chad Simpson.
The students placed in the following categories: Miranda Martin, sixth place in LNA; Andrew Hershey, ninth in Welding Sculpture; Jake Daniels, 16th in Welding; and Devon Bedor, Keith Laplant and Chris Hasting, 16th in Automated Manufacturing Technologies. Miranda, Jake and Andrew also received a Workforce Ready System Skill-point which is an industry recognized credential regarding workplace readiness.
Assistant Headmaster for Career and Technical Education, Twiladawn Perry shared her gratitude for the commitment shared by students and faculty. "I would like to thank Melissa, Jerry, Chad and Audra for the time they have devoted to their students. Without their willingness to work after school, evenings and weekends the students would not have the opportunity to compete. I would also like to recognize the dedication of the students in agreeing to participate in the LI SkillsUSA Club. It requires a tremendous commitment of time and dedication to their chosen field for them to compete at both the state and national level. Our LI community and alumni were also very supportive throughout the school year. The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" is certainly true when it comes to preparing students for their future."
More than 300,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA annually, organized into more than 17,000 sections and 53 state and territorial associations. Combining alumni and lifetime membership, the total number served this year is more than 350,000. SkillsUSA has served more than 11.6 million members since its founding in 1965.
In addition to their competitive work, the students were also greeted by a celebrity guest. Mike Rowe, the actor from the Discovery Channel's program Dirty Jobs was a guest speaker and filmed a section of the ceremonies which will soon air on CNN. Rowe is working with SkillsUSA to bring more awareness of the need for skilled workers to support the infrastructure of the United States. For more information, visit www.skillsusa.org.