LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Albany Technical College students Khalif Collier Sr. and Sarah Braziel each took home medals from the national SkillsUSA competition recently in Louisville, Kentucky.

This convention, the 55th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, is the world’s largest showcase of skilled trades. More than 6,500 career and technical education students competed in 103 different trade, technical and leadership fields. All of the students must compete and win at local and state levels before entering the national competition.

Collier won the silver medal in masonry, and Braziel won the bronze medal in dental assisting at the competition.

The SkillsUSA Championships feature the best career and technical education students in the nation. Roots of this competition begin locally and continue through state and national levels. The idea of the championships is to reward students for quality, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.

More than 19,000 students, teachers, education leaders and representatives from 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated in the activities. The concluding focus was the annual SkillsUSA Championships on June 26-27 with hands-on skill and leadership competitions.

SkillsUSA is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as a verified talent pipeline and skills-gap solution provider. With more than 360,000 members in 4,000 schools in all 50 states, SkillsUSA graduates more than 100,000 students each year who are job-ready on Day 1, prepared for employment or higher education.

In 1973, President Nixon recognized SkillsUSA (then known as VICA) as the official U.S. representative to WorldSkills. The United States first entered the WorldSkills Competition in 1975, represented by the SkillsUSA organization.

WorldSkills USA will be held in Kazan, Russia, from Aug. 22-27. WorldSkills has increased awareness and appreciation of skilled people and shows how essential skills are important in achieving economic growth. WorldSkills International was founded in 1950.

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