We defined SkillsUSA as a partnership of
students, teachers, and industries, and we all work together to assure America has
a skilled workforce. We need young people that are engaged in the trades, excited
about the trades, have passion about the trades, and SkillsUSA provides
that talent pipeline. I think the 21st century manufacturing
sector is like nothing that people have any idea. You’re more likely to have an
iPad than you are a wrench in the 21st century manufacturing world, and we need
men and women with the skills necessary to move our economy forward. The next
generation of workers are coming out of SkillsUSA. When you come to SkillsUSA,
you see every job that you would walk into a small town or a city functioning
on the competition floor below. If we’re gonna make that small town or city come
to light, then we gotta train and develop people to make that town function. Trade
jobs are not desirable anymore. Parents think, hey, we need people to go do those,
but not my kid. We really need to let the kids themselves decide what they want to
do and that’s one of the great things about SkillsUSA, is they get to choose
something they’re passionate about which makes them a better employee, because
they’re doing what they love to do. I was at Georgia Northwestern my first
semester and I was going for the four-year degree, and I started seeing the top of classes and it really interests me. I wanted to do something
hands-on. One of my buddies he actually competed here at SkillUSA in Teamworks, so I looked into the two-year degree in the trade school and found
something that I thought I would actually want to do for the rest of my life.
My name is Logan Thomas. I’m 20 years old, and I’m from Calhoun, Georgia. The Teamworks
competition consists of four students: a carpenter, plumber, electrician, and mason.
Those four students work together to do a project that we change up every year.
They have to choose a leader, but the rest of them have to actually
participate in order for that leader to be successful. The Teamworks competition really
complements what we do in a classroom by teaching, first and foremost, work ethic.
When it comes to the competition, they’re kind of on their own, so that really
brings in the leadership skills. Today was the first day of competition. I was
feeling a little bit of a pressure. There were a few minor mistakes, but we fixed them on
the fly, and got everything right. Being at the national level for the first time,
I think we did well. The Teamworks competition is mostly about working
together. It really looks good on your resume and it pushes you to do better.
Once the competition ended, we all just looked at each other and smiled
just to be glad that we finished because that was the main goal. Competing in Skills really gives you a confidence boost because it makes you go through
all the stages that you would in the workforce: being interviewed and having
to build a resume, and turn those things in and being judged on those outside of
the actual competition. The youngest student was 13. The oldest student was 73. We’re
talking about inserting young people into the talent pipeline but we’re also
talking about workers that are re-emerging and looking for new
opportunities. Doing construction before my education, you know, I thought I knew
it all. But then I started going to school for it and I realized I didn’t
know half as much as I thought I did. I am actually glad that I waited till later in my life to start school, but, to me getting older means you get better. My name is Marvin
James Pointer and I’m from Cedartown, Georgia. Being twice the age of my
teammates, you know, I kind of feel like a father figure to them. I just try to be a
leader to them and show them the best way I know how to do something. The
biggest thing I would take away from his competition is just the brotherhood of it.
They’re good students, hard workers. I mean, I’m blessed to have them on my team.
I think a student competing at SkillsUSA is sharpening their skills but also
really learning kind of how to be an adult. You’re out on your own for a week,
you’re in a different city, you’re navigating a new place, and I think it’s
kind of a first step into becoming a bit more mature. It’s life changing for them.
We really get to see quite a huge change in the way students present themselves
and carry themselves after being involved in competitions such as this. I am very
proud of this team. They work together more than any other team I’ve ever had.
It gives me a satisfaction to be able to see these students graduate and get put
into a great career. My hope for my future is hopefully one day having my own
business like my dad. What motivates me is my family
They wan’t me to do better in my life then they did in theirs. My hope for my future
is to be like my dad, just pass on the trade, teach what I’ve learned, and even
add to that. We have a job to do with parents. We have a job to do with
counselors. We have a job to do with the general public and even the news media
to inform people that these jobs exist. They’re well-paying, they’ll support your
family in your community, and their technical. All jobs are noble. All jobs
are needed. All jobs help a city run. So we need to get into our high schools, our
homes, and talk to the moms and dads and say, “let me show you how many jobs are
out there and how all these jobs work together.” It’s not an industry only issue.
It’s not an education only issue. It’s not a government only issue. It’s an us issue.
We come together because this is how life works. And if we don’t come together,
who else will?