This week, from June 20th-24th, students from across the United States are gathering at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta for SkillsUSA’s 58th annual National Leadership & Skills Conference (NLSC).

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national education association which serves middle and high school and college/postsecondary students, preparing them for careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations.

The event is the world’s largest showcase of career and technical education students. SkillsUSA hosts the event at an estimated cost of more than $36 million. More than 12,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from 650 national corporations, trade associations, businesses, and labor unions are participating in the event, according to SkillsUSA.

To kick off the event, attendees were addressed by the United States Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona.

The highlight of the conference is the SkillsUSA Championships being held on Wednesday and Thursday, where more than 6,500 outstanding career and technical education students – all state contest winners – will compete hands-on in 108 different trade, technical, and leadership fields. Students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting, and culinary arts.

The SkillsUSA Championships comprise the nation’s largest hands-on workforce development event for middle school, high school, and college/postsecondary students enrolled in career and technical education programs.

The event concludes on Friday evening with an awards ceremony.

According to the organization, the SkillsUSA Championships event requires an immense amount of equipment and materials: 2,000 computers, 12,500 bricks, 1,500 blocks, 60-plus stoves and ovens, 25-plus refrigerators, 100-plus welders, 50-plus manufacturing machines, and more, while complete laboratories are built onsite for machining, welding, auto repair, and painting. In addition, nearly 10,000 bag lunches are served to competitors and judges at the conference.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and The Star News Network.
Photo “Students” by SkillsUSA