Tennessee’s future workforce will be showcased this week during the 50th Annual SkillsUSA Tennessee State Conference held at the Chattanooga Convention Center April 20-22. The SkillsUSA competition theme for this year is SkillsUSA: 50 Years of Champions at Work. The topic to be addressed by contestants in the Chapter Display, Prepared Speech and Promotional Bulletin Board contests.
More than 1,200 career and technical education students from high schools and colleges across the state will compete in over 90 contests demonstrating their skills in career areas including manufacturing, transportation, construction, hospitality and human services.
“There is a solution to the current and future demand for a skilled workforce. Jobs are available right here in our state; these positions are waiting for people with the right skills. These highly skilled workers are the people graduating from career and technical education (CTE) programs.” -Chelle Travis, SkillsUSA Postsecondary State Director
During the competition, students will work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, welding, automotive service, medical assisting and culinary arts. All contests are run with the help of industry experts, trade associations, and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by professional industry standards. The winners will go on to compete in the National Championships this June in Louisville, Kentucky
“The students competing in this championship are demonstrating more than just their skills; they are proving that our workforce is prepared to lead the way in every technical area our country needs to maintain a strong global economic presence,” said James King, Vice Chancellor of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. “CTE is learning that works for America and we are very proud of this talented group of students who are true champions dedicated to excellence in their trades.”
There’s even an app for the conference!
SkillsUSA is a nationwide partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA annually serves over 300,000 high school and college/postsecondary students, and their instructors in technical, skilled and service occupation instructional programs. SkillsUSA chapters are in career and technical high schools, and two- and four-year colleges. Formerly known as the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America Inc. (VICA), SkillsUSA was founded in 1965 as a way to teach students leadership skills to complement their chosen careers. The organization emphasizes respect for the dignity of work, ethics, workmanship, scholarship and safety.