A delegation of students and instructors from West Virginia recently met with their elected officials in Washington, D.C. to talk about how their career and technical education (CTE) programs have prepared them to be college-and career-ready.
The four-day SkillsUSA Washington Leadership Training Institute conference provided students an opportunity to grow in their professionalism, communication and leadership skills, which they apply during their visits to Congress.
Delegations talked to elected officials or their staff members about their education paths and CTE training programs, the value of career and technical education and the benefits of their SkillsUSA participation. They explained how today’s workplace requires employees with career readiness skills, and that SkillsUSA develops these skills in students of all ages and backgrounds.
The conference focused on advanced communications skills including development of a SkillsUSA Framework story to share during their visits with elected officials. This year’s conference included training for students and advisors on personal and workplace skills; a panel discussion about effective legislative visits with experts from the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate; a tour of Washington, D.C., monuments and museums; and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
SkillsUSA is one of the nation’s largest individual membership organizations for career and technical students and its programs are integrated into the CTE curriculum. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 94 percent compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 86 percent. CTE also helps create a trained pipeline of future workers to support a strong American economy and global competitiveness.
Following is a list of those who attended in the delegation from West Virginia:
• Melissa Wilkinson, SkillsUSA WV State Director
• Tonia Fry, SkillsUSA WV State Officer Trainer
• Amie Hawkins, Fred W. Eberle Technical Center Health Occupations Instructor
• Bailey Baker, SkillsUSA WV President
• Brittany Pridemore, SkillsUSA WV Vice President Region 1
• Morgan Thomas, SkillsUSA WV Vice President Region 2
• Johnelle Goss, SkillsUSA WV Secretary
• Samuel Ryan, SkillsUSA WV Treasurer
• Cassie Adkins, SkillsUSA WV Reporter
• Brandy Rhodes, SkillsUSA WV Parliamentarian
• Mackenzie Carr, SkillsUSA WV Historian
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal and workplace skills along with technical skills grounded in academics. This SkillsUSA Framework empowers every student to succeed at work and in life, while helping to close the “skills gap” in which millions of positions go unfilled. Through SkillsUSA’s championships program and curricula, employers have long ensured schools are teaching relevant technical skills, and with SkillsUSA’s new credentialing process, they can now assess how ready potential employees are for the job. SkillsUSA has more than 360,000 annual members nationwide in high schools, colleges and middle schools, covering over 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education. For more information: skillsusa.org