SkillsUSA WorldTeam Celebrated at Send-Off Event Prior to International Competition

Published: September 15, 2017

Visits to UAE Embassy, U.S. Department of Education and Partner Reception

Leesburg, Va. — The SkillsUSA WorldTeam traveled to our nation’s capital Sept. 12 for an official briefing at the U.S. Department of Education. While in Washington, the team visited the embassy of the United Arab Emirates, host of the upcoming WorldSkills Competition, to better understand its commerce and culture. SkillsUSA’s industry partners later celebrated the team with a send-off reception. The SkillsUSA WorldTeam went to the Department of Education for a private briefing in the Secretary of Education’s conference room. Leading the meeting was James Manning, acting undersecretary of education. Also participating were Israel Hernandez, acting undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce; Kim R. Ford, acting assistant secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education; Sharon Miller, director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education; and Robin Utz, branch chief in the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. At the briefing, Tim Lawrence, SkillsUSA’s executive director, provided an overview of the WorldTeam and the selection process. The organization’s board president, Chris Arvin of Caterpillar Inc., talked about why more than 600 industry partners support the mission and vision of SkillsUSA. Representing the team, competitor Chandler Vincent shared how SkillsUSA and the opportunity to compete changed his perspective on the value of academics, and provided a connection between the classroom and career that ignited a passion for welding. National parliamentarian Laila Mizra, a student at Worcester Technical High School in Newark, Md., explained how SkillsUSA’s framework helps students develop personal skills, workplace skills and technical skills grounded in academics. After hearing from SkillsUSA, Manning responded, “The Secretary of Education and I are delighted to hear that you young men and women are working to not just find a career path, but also a passion. Most of you have chosen professions that are not going to be sent overseas. That helps you, and that helps America.” Added Hernandez, “I am thrilled to learn about SkillsUSA and this team headed to WorldSkills. I work on international trade, and I can tell you that no matter where you go in the world, people will always know that the United States is best in class. You are an extension of this. Please remember that your journey to WorldSkills is just as important as the final results.” Later, on a rooftop adjacent to the White House, SkillsUSA held the partner reception at a Koch Industries facility in the Hamilton Square office building. While in the Washington area, the WorldTeam met for two days for SkillsUSA training, project reviews with their technical experts and competition updates from the team leaders. The WorldSkills Competition’s 44th biennial event will be held Oct. 14-19 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Representing the United States in 10 skill categories are: Automobile Technology: Jonathan Robertson, Blue Springs, Mo. Bakery: Jordyn Baker, Anchorage, Alaska Bricklaying: Luke Dutton, Salisbury, N.C. Hairdressing: Kylie Burkey, Bristol, Tenn. Mechatronics (team): Joshua Whittington, Hogansville, Ga., and Corey Cleghorn, Tifton, Ga. Plumbing and Heating: Asher Chicoine, East Hampton, Mass. Print Media Technology: Chandler Kerr, Severn, Md. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning: Krzysztof (Chris) Zamajtys, Bohemia, N.Y. Web Design: Riley Johnson, Carrboro, N.C. Welding: Chandler Vincent, Price, Utah Every two years, hundreds of young people from more than 77 countries and regions compete in the prestigious WorldSkills Competition. In October, more than 1,300 competitors will test their skills. Contestants will compete for four days in 51 occupational skill areas. Members of the WorldTeam won the right to compete by earning a national medal in the SkillsUSA Championships and completing other prerequisites prior to being chosen. “The SkillsUSA WorldTeam will compete in Abu Dhabi with young workers from all around the globe, and I know our team will represent the United States very well,” explained Lawrence. “Nations rise on the success of their workforce. Skilled, capable and flexible workers are the backbone of any nation’s economy, and this international competition allows us to measure our SkillsUSA students and training programs against the best in the world.” International experts, delegates and judges will gather from around the world, including an estimated 100,000 spectators at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. For additional information on the SkillsUSA WorldTeam: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/worldskills/ Here are some photos taken at the Department of Education event.

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