"What's it Like in 'Skills'?"

by Nick Neupauer, O & G junior

Some ask, “What is it like to compete in SkillsUSA?” As a second-year competitor in “Skills”, as so many of us fondly call it, I can say that it is a very prestigious, honorable, and professional organization.  

There’s a lot to be learned -- more than just competing, though I must admit that the competition is a lot of fun!

A new member to SkillsUSA, Alyssa Wilson is competing in Opening and Closing, a speech team. She says. “My competition is challenging to prepare for because of the proper, professional, and smooth ability one has to have.”  Though this is the first time competing in a team like this, she is steadily gaining confidence. “I’m pretty sure that my team members have a lot more confidence in me than what I actually have,” she says, “but that makes it easier.” Through the challenge of competition, SkillsUSA can help its members develop usable skills.

The honor one takes away from being chosen for SkillsUSA is irreplaceable; it’s students are proud to participate in an organization like this. Many will buy merchandise from SkillsUSA to show others that they have competed. When I see other members, even outside of our school, wearing affiliated clothing, it’s as if we automatically have a connection.  This year, my goal is to win my competition at Hershey; I really want to wear the national t-shirts I have seen others sport.

Honor is also brought to the competitive side of the events offered -- be it a leadership or skill event. Both judges and leaders in business leaders, alike, are impressed with student competitors who conduct themselves demonstrating good sportsmanship during both the  preparation and the actual presentation of their demonstration or skill. The message: THESE are the types of workers that would make a great addition to my business!

Lastly, the manner of the event is very prestigious. Every meal and event is attended in business attire, giving weight to the professionalism the organization encourages. Moreover, the competitors are very well-respected by adults in attendance; even the  judges are impressed by the level of skill and professionalism from the student members.

Additionally, the SkillsUSA organization is supported by many businesses including John Deere, 3M, GE, and Lowes! Even Mike Rowe, star of “Dirty Jobs,” encourages kids to fill the skills gap and is a champion for SkillsUSA! To see his message, please click here: Mike Rowe for SkillsUSA.

SkillsUSA is an incredible organization, renowned for its ability to produce members who demonstrate confidence, skill, and professionalism, and every ounce of time that goes into preparing to become an active member — especially through competition — is worth it’s weight in blood, sweat, and tears.

Carolyn McVickerNeup, SkillsUSA