Skills USA

Last week, I attended a competition/conference known as Skills USA. If you know nothing about the organization, you should really go to their website and check them out. Skills USA events are annual and begin with state level championships in a multitude of vocational studies – from machining to cosmetology; masonry to crime scene investigation; welding to culinary. The state champions move on to compete in the national championship, which was held last week in Kansas City, MO.It was, quite literally, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The competition floor was upstairs in the conference hall and was pretty much just a three block long area of uninterrupted space – filled to the brim with vocational study after vocational study.

Photos of the event:

The convention hall is to the right. The competition took place on the top floor of that entire building.

A Diesel engine with the truck it came from in the background. Shit was huge.

Masonry competition. I stood and watched this kid for a good 20 minutes. I thought it was pretty amazing.


Culinary competition. I think this one gives you the best idea just how big each competition space was.

Welding.
Collision Repair. Next to the this was Finishing – they had like 6 or 7 cars lined up. I couldn’t get close enough to take a good picture, whatever they were using to finish the cars smelled too potent to get too close.
Machining. My machinists. Okay – well they aren’t mine, per say, but most of them will be using the book I published next fall. Because of my relationship with the people running this competition, I was actually allowed inside this one. I have about a million pictures of these kids programming and of the CNC machines on the floor.
Next up: Pheonix for the HTEC conference. I’m a little nervous about this one because I won’t know as many people as I did at Skills USA and I won’t have anyone else from Cengage with me either. Also – it will be about 120 degrees and, apparently, if I forget eye drops my contacts are screwed.
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