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There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be Skilled!

Employers in the U.S. and around the globe are looking for workers who are qualified to fill skilled positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 10 million new skilled workers will be needed by the year 2020. ManpowerGroup’s 2012 Talent Shortage Survey listed Skilled Trades, Mechanics, Machinists and Machine Operators positions among the top ten hardest jobs to fill. Career and Technical Education, in conjunction with SkillsUSA, prepares students for these hard to fill jobs, while in high school.

SkillsUSA provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes and communication skills. It emphasizes total quality at work: high ethical standards, superior work skills, lifelong education, and pride in the dignity of work.

SkillsUSA is an applied method of instruction for preparing America’s high performance workers in public career and technical programs. Wendy Venturini, SkillsUSA Alumnus and NASCAR Reporter, said, “I’ve covered racings greatest champions, but if I hadn’t joined another organization of champions in high school I might not have discovered my full potential. That organization is SkillsUSA.”

More than 1,100 corporations, trade associations, businesses, and labor sponsors actively support SkillsUSA at the national level through financial aid, in-kind contributions, and involvement of their people in SkillsUSA activities. Many more work directly with state associations and local chapters.

In 2010, SkillsUSA created the SkillsUSA CEO Champion of the Year Award to recognize the leadership of the chief executive of an organization doing exemplary work in the creation and support of America’s highly skilled workforce. John McGlade, Chairman, President, and CEO of Air Products and was named the SkillsUSA 2010 CEO Champion of the Year. McGlade is a former Career and Technical Education student and is a great advocate of CTE. “I can testify first hand to how CTE can help equip students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers,” he said. In his acceptance speak at the SkillsUSA 2010 CEO Champions of the Year Award banquet McGlade said, “. . .this country must expand this program more. Business desperately needs a workforce of these students.”

McGlade recently wrote a blog for the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium Friends of CTE Blog Series. In his blog he emphasized the importance of CTE and the urgent need for skilled workers. He said, “There is a mismatch between the demand and supply of skilled workers. Work opportunities exist, but sometimes it is difficult to find people to fill those jobs. Air Products has openings, but we can’t always find people with the right skills in the right locations.  This situation contributes to the national unemployment rate of over 8 percent. . . I believe that CTE can be a source of competitive advantage for the United States, by rebuilding a skilled workforce better trained than ever to compete in the global marketplace.”

In November 2011, Jim Lentz, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., was the recipient of the SkillsUSA 2011 CEO Champion of the Year award. At the awards ceremony Lentz told SkillsUSA members “. . .Toyota supports a wide variety of worthwhile organizations and events throughout the country, but few are as dear to our hearts as SkillsUSA. Yes we have specific needs for technicians, but more important we understand that for America to have a thriving economy, and compete globally, we need to do a better job to educate the young people of today for the complex and connected jobs of the future. That’s why I’m so proud that Toyota has been a key supporter of SkillsUSA for over a quarter of a century. . .The work [SkillsUSA] does is incredibly important. You are truly a beacon of hope in America.”

Over 10.5 million people have become members of SkillsUSA since its founding. Utah has over 13,000 SkillsUSA members in 74 chapters. Together CTE and SkillsUSA are working to prepare students to develop the skills necessary to successfully compete in a global economy.

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