CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol. 45, No. 84

Sept. 23, 2011

Columbia Career Center Graduate to Contend in World Culinary Contest

Rachel Koppelman, Columbia, Mo., native and Columbia Area Career Center graduate, will compete in the area of cooking at the 41st WorldSkills Competition in London, October 5-8. Dubbed the Olympics of skilled labor, the WorldSkills Competition brings young people, age 23 and under, from across the globe to compete for the title of best in their skill area.

Koppelman is a member of the 2011 SkillsUSA WorldTeam, comprised of 17 students from across the United States. She began competing in SkillsUSA as a junior in high school, and last year as a senior placed first in the state of Missouri, as well as first at the national SkillsUSA Championship. Koppelman is currently a student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

“The need for a skilled workforce is greater than ever, and SkillsUSA fosters the development of these careers through hands-on experience and training,” said Sharon Hoge, assistant commissioner for the Office of College and Career Readiness with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We are very proud and excited for Rachel as she prepares for this phenomenal opportunity as a member of ‘TeamUSA’.”

Nearly 1,000 competitors from 46 different skill areas will represent more than 50 countries at the WorldSkills Competition. Students deemed best in their chosen skill area compete at the national conference for the opportunity to become part of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam, which competes at the international level bi-annually.

SkillsUSA competition begins at the local level, and then progresses to the district, state, national and international levels. Skill categories include: transportation and logistics (e.g., auto body repair, car painting), construction and building technology (e.g. carpentry, bricklaying), manufacturing and engineering technology (e.g. electronics, welding), information and communication technology (e.g. IT network systems administration, web design), creative arts and fashion (e.g. graphic design technology, floristry), and social and personal services (e.g. cooking, restaurant service).

Missouri SkillsUSA consists of nine districts with over 85 local chapters and a membership of nearly 10,000 students.