SkillsUSA WorldSkills USA Team Heads to International Competition for Young Skilled Workers

Published: August 06, 2019
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Highlights Importance of a Competitive, Highly Skilled Workforce

Leesburg, Va., Aug. 6, 2019 — SkillsUSA, the organization that represents the United States in the WorldSkills Competition, is sending 22 career and technical education competitors to Kazan, Russia, to compete in 20 skill categories during the 45th biennial event Aug. 22-27. The WorldSkills Competition will showcase trade skills from construction and building technology, creative arts and fashion, information and communication technology, manufacturing and engineering, social and personal services, and transportation and logistics.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Its selected team members, with an average age of 19, are masters in their craft. Their dedication to training and perfecting their skills will be on display as they compete against peers from across the globe in a variety of intense skills challenges.

“They come from all corners of the country, they compete for different reasons, but they are all focused on one goal: standing atop the WorldSkills podium, a gold medal hanging around their neck, and honoring the American flag as ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ fills the conference center loudspeakers,” said SkillsUSA’s executive director, Tim Lawrence. “From mechanical engineering to hairdressing to aircraft maintenance, we’ve watched these competitors gain expertise and create purpose behind their passions. We’re thrilled the WorldSkills USA team will get the chance to represent their country while excelling at a skill they love.”

3M is the lead sponsor of the 2019 WorldSkills USA team. “3M and WorldSkills USA share a commitment to addressing the shortage of qualified skilled workers across many industries,” said Mojdeh Poul, executive vice president, 3M Safety and Graphics Business Group. “As a global science-based company, we recognize that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are the foundation for many trades. This sponsorship is about inspiring the next generation of skilled workers and supporting their efforts in Kazan.”

Other proud team sponsors include Ferguson and Lowe’s.

Representing the United States at the WorldSkills competition in Kazan are:

  • Automobile Technology: Paul Danenberg, 21, Boise, Idaho
  • Auto Body Repair: David “D.J.” Fors, 19, Lunenburg, Mass.
  • Aircraft Maintenance: Alex Millikan, 22, Trinity, N.C.
  • Baking: Daylan Torres, 20, Fall River, Mass.
  • Bricklaying: Kelby Thornton, 19, Midland, N.C.
  • Cabinetmaking: Ethan Harrison, 18, Blackfoot, Idaho
  • Car Painting: Dylan Wertz, 19, Tiffin, Ohio
  • CNC Milling: Scott May, 19, Port Huron, Mich.
  • Cooking: Julia Spondike, 19, Lorain, Ohio
  • Cyber Security: Mawadda Abuhamda, 17, Chandler, Ariz.
  • Cyber Security: Jason McGee, 18, San Tan Valley, Ariz.
  • Graphic Design Technology: Anthony Moore, 19, Adrian, Mich.
  • Hairdressing: Rebekah Hagberg, 18, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Heavy Vehicle Maintenance: Ryan Meppelink, 20, Zeeland, Mich.
  • Mechanical Engineering: Benjamin Campbell, 19, Nampa, Idaho
  • Mechatronics: Ryan Hittepole, 20, Albemarle, N.C.
  • Mechatronics: Curt Love, 20, Oakboro, N.C.
  • Plumbing and Heating: Timothy Girouard, 19, Southampton, Mass.
  • Print Media: Brittany Whitestone, 20, Westminster, Md.
  • Restaurant Service: Robert “Colt” Schultz, 17, League City, Texas
  • Web Design: Matthew Vreman, 20, Parrish, Fla.
  • Welding: Ryan Fincher, 21, Cedartown, Ga.

The WorldSkills USA team is the largest SkillsUSA has ever fielded, and the team has the most experience, training and dedication of any team that has competed for the United States. Follow the team on their road to Kazan @WorldSkillsUSA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and interact with them using the hashtags #WorldSkillsUSA and #RoadtoKazan.

SkillsUSA works year-round to instill positive attitudes, build self-esteem and empower over 360,000 students nationwide to excel in the career path of their choice. The organization has 600-plus national partners and is integral to the training in more than 19,000 classrooms. SkillsUSA inspires students to follow their passion in skills that are valuable to them and our country. Years of hard work supported by SkillsUSA has led these 22 competitors to the experience of a lifetime: the WorldSkills 2019 competition.

The first WorldSkills competition was held in 1950 in Madrid, Spain. In 1973, SkillsUSA (then called the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) was recognized as the official U.S. representative to WorldSkills. Hundreds of thousands of spectators, public policymakers, employers, teachers, trainers, technical experts and government officials from around the world will attend the biennial competition and watch the WorldSkills USA team make the United States proud.

About SkillsUSA

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 365,000 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: www.skillsusa.org. For additional information on the WorldSkills USA team or to donate or provide in-kind support, please visit: www.worldskillsusa.org.

About WorldSkills

Since 1950, WorldSkills has come to symbolize the pinnacle of excellence in vocational training. It provides a unique means of exchange and comparison of world-class competency standards in the industrial trades and service sectors of the global economy. The continued growth of WorldSkills attests to the fact that traditional trade and craft skills, along with newer technology’s multi-skilled occupations, make an essential contribution to the economic and social well-being of people everywhere. For more information, go to: www.worldskills.org.

About 3M

3M applies science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, 3M’s 91,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at www.3M.com or on Twitter @3M or @3MNews.

SkillsUSA Contacts

Jane A. DeShong Short, Program Manager Public Relations/Communications Phone: 703-737-0612 jshort@skillsusa.org

Karen Kitzel, Associate Director Public Relations/Communications Phone: 703-737-0607 kkitzel@skillsusa.org

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Media Contacts

For more information about SkillsUSA, contact:

Jane A. DeShong Short

Senior Manager, Public Relations/Communications
703-737-0612

Karen Kitzel

Associate Director, Communications
703-737-0607

Helpful Links

SkillsUSA Advocacy Site

The SkillsUSA Advocacy Site is a free service for SkillsUSA members to reach the news media or contact policymakers with your message.

Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe for SkillsUSA

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