Ask Tim

Competitive Advantage

Executive Director Tim Lawrence has known SkillsUSA as a student member, instructor, industry partner and state director. Got a question? He can help.

Q: How can I prepare for the changes and downsizing work force in the current economic crisis?

Tim: The work force is suddenly more competitive than ever before. Students will need an extra edge to get (and keep) the best jobs. You’ll also need it to get into the best college and postsecondary training programs. Whatever your career path, SkillsUSA’s competitive events can help you get that edge.

This is one of the most exciting times of the SkillsUSA year as students prepare for competitions at the local, district and state levels. By now, many of you are halfway through your training program for this year. Your chapter advisor, who has likely been a strong mentor for you, knows the next step in your development will be enhanced by another group of mentors: those who manage and run our contests.

When you go into a technical or leadership development competition, you’ll find a network of professionals standing behind you. Through these partners, SkillsUSA provides national standards developed by business and industry — in tandem with leadership and character development skills that are so important to the 21st-century work force. And by competing in SkillsUSA events, you can network with some of the finest role models anywhere.

In this issue of SkillsUSA Champions, many of our industry leaders advise how to make yourself competitive in our championships and tell how this preparation can help later in your career. They and other role models, such as Kelly Bever from State Farm Insurance, also explain why they became involved in SkillsUSA.

Working with our national partners over the past several years, I’ve noticed one thing they all have in common. They’ve worked hard throughout their lives to become the best at their craft. Now, they’re looking to pass on what they’ve learned to the next generation. They’re looking to you to carry on the mantle of leadership and pay it forward as the next wave of mentors.

In the current environment, the best career opportunities will go to those who are prepared with excellent technical, professional and academic skills. SkillsUSA can help you hone all three.

In time, you’ll find that life is a continuous competition, and I hope your SkillsUSA experience will help mold and prepare you for the challenges and opportunities you’ll face along the way. End of story

Got questions about SkillsUSA or other topics? E-mail or send a letter to SkillsUSA / P.O. Box 3000 / Leesburg, VA 20177. Put “Ask Tim” in the subject line or mail address.

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SkillsUSA Champions | Winter 2009 | Volume 43, No. 2
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