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SkillsUSA State Officers Attend WLTI

image1 A delegation of Career and Technical Education (CTE) students and instructors from Missouri met with Representative Graves, Representative Clever, Senator Blunt, and Senator McCaskillon September 20, 2016. Congressional visits are an important part of SkillsUSA’s Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI). The delegation also paid respects at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Pentagon 9-11 Memorial. The five-day Washington Leadership Training Institute is sponsored each year by SkillsUSA to provide students an opportunity to learn about Washington and the democratic process. This year’s delegations discussed the value of their education; the value of public career and technical education to their respective states; the quality of their education and training; their occupational plans; and, the benefits of their participation in SkillsUSA. They explained that today’s workplace requires people with leadership, teamwork and communication skills to participate in high-quality systems. SkillsUSA has been successful in developing these skills in students of all ages and backgrounds. The Washington Leadership Training Institute is a “capstone” leadership and citizenship training event to which students must apply for admission. WLTI concentrates on advanced communications skills, including sharing their personal stories with the media and elected officials. This year, 426 students and instructors from 29 states attended the workforce development conference. SkillsUSA is an integral part of public career and technical education (CTE) and CTE is learning that works for America. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18% compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80%. CTE is also about jobs — good middle-class jobs — that are essential for the American economy and global competitiveness. Experts project 47 million job openings in the decade ending 2018. One-third will require an associate’s degree or certificate and nearly all will require real-world skills that can be mastered through CTE. Sydney Rothbard from PLTC said, “The experience going to Washington, D.C is amazing on its own but, to also be able to meet Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill made it exceptional!”  For students to be able to go and speak directly with people on Capitol Hill is a once in a life time opportunity, and one that was definitely appreciated by the young Diesel student. “It provides for me, the basis on how to effectively communicate. How Career and Technical Education has affected me and how it can help other students become the best they can be in their own fields.”  This year, Sydney is State Parliamentarian for SkillUSA, and has every intention of continuing to lead her peers and further inspire success.   About SkillsUSA SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry 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 300,000 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, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to: www.SkillsUSA.org.

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