This year’s SkillsUSA concluded yesterday afternoon after a fulfilling, week-long competition across all aspects of trade and education. Central Indiana IEC executives, Sherri Puckett and Devin Machowiak, hit the road bright and early to make their way to the Louisville Kentucky Exposition Center, where nationals was to be hosted. If you’ve never been there, the Kentucky Exposition Center is a monstrous, sprawling building that had four massive expo halls and a stadium, every inch of which was packed with arenas for the different competitions taking place, and the halls were littered with vendors providing food and beverages for spectators. It was definitely a place to wear your walking shoes: to get from one hall to another was about a ten minute walk.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the organization,SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry members working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.SkillsUSA’s mission is to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.SkillsUSA improves the qualityof America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training. They enhance the lives and careers of students, instructors and industry representatives as they strive to be champions at work.

SkillsUSA serves more than 335,000 students and instructors annually. This includes 19,500 instructors who join as professional members. Including alumni, SkillsUSA membership totals over 395,000. SkillsUSA has served more than 12.5 million annual members cumulatively since 1965.

One of the largest events that SkillsUSA conducts is their annual Championships.The SkillsUSA Championships are competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels.

So… what does that have to do with IEC?

The Central Indiana Chapter of IEC, and IEC as a national organization, believes in the power of education, especially in regards to learning a meaningful trade. That’s why our Apprenticeship Program is integral to our programming. The fact that Skills facilitates this love of learning and competition reflects our values, making us great partners. This made us eager to help when they told us they were in need of judges. Back in April, Central IEC assisted in coordinating and judging the Electrical Wiring, Teamworks, and Industrial Motor Controls competitions. Those winners went off to nationals yesterday, where IEC representatives from all over the country met to judge Industrial Motor Controls.

The students began their final projects at 8 am that morning, and had until 2:45 pm to fulfill a series of tasks including Conduit Bending, Interviewing, following a schematic to build a unit according to code, as well as written exams. It was a long and grueling day for these students, but we were floored by the level of skills that these students brought to the table.

Now that we’re back in Central Indiana, we’re waiting on pins and needles to hear the final results of how the competitors did. Check here to see the latest on the final scoring, pictures, and awards from the event!