About 2,000 high-school and college students from throughout the state are in Mid Missouri for the Skills USA competition.

Skills USA champs The opening ceremonies kicked off at Linn State Technical College Thursday with Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder as the keynoter speaker.

Kristan Hassler with academic support at Linn State says the students interested in a technical education compete in various categories, including avionics, audio production, commercial baking, firefighting, advertising design and many, many others.

Some categories are “things they do with their hands,” she says, while others are more “presentation and leadership style.”

Hassler says the participants really get into the competitive nature of the annual event and that today’s youth are very driven by competition.

Between competitions, students will have the opporturtunity to join in some fun contests put on by branches of the military, and attend a dance Friday night sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

About 150 students will move onto the national competition in Kansas City this June. Hassler says that’s a hotspot for headhunters. She’s heard some students are offered three and four jobs as soon as they walk off the stage after winning, she says.

This is the sixth consecutive year the state contest has been held at Linn State Technical College.

There were 14 Team Works teams and Lowe’s donated $500 for each team. Many businesses and industries contribute prizes for the winning contestants each year.

Skills USA returns to Kansas City June 21 through 26 for the 45th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), “a showcase of career and technical education students.”

Click here to visit the Skills USA Web site .


Jessica Machetta reports [Download/listen MP3]