On April 4 and 5, SkillsUSA Missouri’s State Leadership & Skills Conference was held on the campus of the State Technical College of Missouri.
According to Joey Baker, executive director for SkillsUSA Missouri, “The conference was an amazing success with more than 3,000 participants---students, teachers and industry partners. The event is a showcase of Career & Technical Education in Missouri. Students participated in more than 130 hands-on and leadership competitions, including our automotive refinishing technology, collision repair technology, and collision estimating competitions.
“There is a solution to the current and future demand for a skilled workforce. Jobs are available right here in our state; they are waiting for people with the right skills. Those people are graduating from career and technical education programs all over the state. Above the technical competencies being tested, SkillsUSA prides itself in ensuring our students graduate proficient in the workplace, personal, AND technical skills to be successful in their workplace and beyond.”
Each contest was run with the assistance of industry experts, trade associations and labor organizations with competencies set according to professional industry standards. Energetic students excitedly competed against one another and within a set amount of time to demonstrate their expertise in their chosen category, showing their confidence, passion and dedication to their chosen fields.
Baker stated, “These students demonstrated more than just their skills; they proved that our workforce is prepared to lead the way in every technical area our country needs to maintain a strong global economic presence. Our students aren’t just known for their technical skills though; they graduate job-ready day one through the integration of workplace and personal skill development into their classroom curriculum. We are very proud of this talented group of students who are true champions dedicated to excellence in their trades.”
The 2019 winners in the automotive refinishing technology category, post-secondary division, were Devin Gieselman (Ozarks Technical Community College), Wayde Parman (Northwest Technical School), and Michael Pettit (Ozarks Technical Community College). In the secondary school division, the winners were Tyler Hemmelgren (South Technical High School), Judd Donaldson (Franklin Technology Center), and Chandler Crawford (Moberly Area Technical Center).
In the collision damage appraisal category (secondary only), the winners were Breana Miller (Franklin Technology Center), Brooklynn Robertson (Franklin Technology Center), and David Ley (Four Rivers Career Center).
In the collision repair technology category, post-secondary, the 2019 winners were Isaac Deeken (State Technical College of Missouri), Jonathan Kippes (State Technical College of Missouri), and Abel Cojocaru (Ozarks Technical Community College). In the secondary division, the winners were Isaac Branson (Poplar Bluff Technical Career Center), Garret Tuggle (Franklin Technology Center), and Kaleb Harris (Ozarks Technical Community College).
The SkillsUSA Missouri State Leadership & Skills Conference also featured a business and industry panel focused on workforce climate, the needs of the workforce related to workplace and personal skills, what is lacking from the current applicant pool, and how students can meet or exceed expectations. The panel was composed of Mardy Leathers, director, Missouri Division of Workforce Development; Sarah Morrow, vice president of HR, Capital Regional Medical Center; Leo Breaux, director of engineering, CBRE; and Shelly Jones, president of Women in Automotive & Collision (WAC).
Baker shared, “SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. This event is essential on many levels. SkillsUSA events showcase the importance of the skilled trades, and they connect business and industry to students who are proficient with the workplace, personal, and technical skills needed to be employable and promotable. SkillsUSA events also provide students an opportunity to showcase their skills as well as opportunity to earn prizes and scholarships to continue their education (more than $3 million awarded at this event alone).”
The winners from the SkillUSA Missouri State Leadership & Skills Conference will go on to compete in the national SkillsUSA Championships in June 2019, held in Louisville, KY.
For more information on SkillsUSA Missouri and its competition categories, visit skillsusamo.org.