Video: SkillsUSA Supports Career and Technical Education

This organization helps students excel by providing educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education in the nation’s classrooms.

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Whenever I visit a machine shop, one topic inevitably comes up: the challenges associated with recruiting young students into manufacturing. One thing shops can do is support SkillsUSA, which is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. The organization helps students excel by providing educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education in the nation’s classrooms.

As part of this mission, SkillsUSA—with support from The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)—will be in Louisville, Kentucky, Monday through Friday, June 20-24, for the 52nd annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC). More than 16,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners, are expected to participate in the event.

Delegate sessions for middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students are conducted by the national officers. The sessions provide a platform to conduct the organization’s official business, elect student leaders and recognize state association voting delegates.

SkillsUSA University is a program of educational seminars available to all participants Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The SkillsUSA Championships will be held on Wednesday and Thursday. More than 6,000 outstanding career and technical education students—all state contest winners—will compete hands on in 100 trade, technical and leadership fields. Students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting and precision machining. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry. The competitions are open to the public and free of charge.

The CNC mill, CNC lathe and CNC technician contests evaluate each contestant’s preparation for employment in CNC programming while assessing the ability to write CNC programs, interpret prints, and measure/gage parts. Participants will also demonstrate theoretical knowledge of CNC machine configuration, setup and operations. CGTech technical support engineers will use Vericut software to evaluate the accuracy of the NC programs created, while also ensuring the programs will run without violating safety standards or damaging machines. After each student’s NC program has been simulated, the virtual workpiece is compared with the design model.

OEMs and machine shops are increasing their involvement in supporting efforts by local high schools, community colleges, technical schools, and universities and organizations such as SkillsUSA (learn more here) to introducing young students to manufacturing as a solid career choice.