More than 200 Missouri high school and college students traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, June 19-24 for SkillsUSA’s 53rd annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, the world’s largest showcase of skilled trades. In total, Missouri students brought back 33 first, second, and third-place medallions, and 89 students placed in the top 10 against competitors from all 50 states and two U.S. territories.
“These talented students are showing the world what can be accomplished through hard work and commitment,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “They are great examples of Missouri’s dedication to preparing every student for success.”
More than 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated in the event. The highlight was the annual SkillsUSA Championships held June 21 and 22 with 100 hands-on skill and leadership competitions.
This event, by invitation only, was for first-place state medalists in 100 competition areas for career and technical students. It is the largest skill competition in the world. Students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations like electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. In addition, leadership contestants demonstrated their skills, which included extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.
“Missouri’s success at the national level is a testament to our educators’ passion for ensuring our students are job-ready on day one after graduation,” said Joey Baker, SkillsUSA Missouri’s state executive director. “Our students graduate with the workplace, personal and technical skills necessary to be successful in college or their chosen careers.”
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry that ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 335,000 member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations.