(LOUISVILLE, KY) — For the fifth year in a row, the world’s largest hands-on skills competition is returning to Louisville. The 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) will be held Monday, June 24, through Friday, June 28, showcasing the very best in career and technical education for the skilled trades.
SkillsUSA is the third largest convention for the city, with an estimated economic impact of $26.7 million. Louisville Tourism estimates total hotel room nights for the week at more than 36,987. More than 19,000 students, teachers and education leaders are expected to attend.
The cornerstone of NLSC is the SkillsUSA Championships, when more than 6,400 students will compete in 103 hands-on skill and leadership competitions, including additive manufacturing, CNC machining, robotics, engineering technology, auto service, smart home technology, construction, welding, graphic design, photography, cosmetology, esthetics and the medical sciences. Each contestant is a first-place winner in his or her state’s SkillsUSA competition. In Kentucky and Indiana, contests were held in April.
Other conference highlights include:
- An expanded “Makerspace” area focusing on manufacturing and sponsored by GE Appliances.
- The “Build Skills – Do Good – Complete the Cycle” community service project, where an expected 400 SkillsUSA students will assemble bicycles on-site at the conference and present them to Louisville youth.
- Official introduction of the WorldSkills USA team, 22 young competitors who will represent the United States at the largest international showcase of the skilled trades in Kazan, Russia, in August.
- The SkillsUSA TECHSPO trade show, one of the largest technical trade shows in America with 150 exhibits.
The conference officially kicks off on Tuesday, June 25, at 7 p.m. in Freedom Hall with a keynote speech by Team Rubicon COO Art delaCruz. Team Rubicon is a nonprofit disaster response organization that uses the skills of military veterans to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.
The majority of SkillsUSA Championships events will be held on the 1.4 million-square-foot contest floor at the Kentucky exposition Center. Some contests also will take place at the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport, and the firefighting championships will be held at the Kentucky Regional Fire Training Academy. The competitions are free and open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27.
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry 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 360,000 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