Job Skills USA Competition — 2013

job skillsEvery year our local skill vocational and trade schools hold a Job Skills USA competition. Students give presentations on a skill they have learned in their classes. I judge the competition every chance I get because it’s a learning opportunity for me. Today was that day.

We are the second level so the competitors we see have already won at their local schools. The winners from this round will go on to the state competition. We judge just about everything – culinary skills (our favorite because sometimes the judges get to taste the product), construction skills, mechanics, electrical stuff, cosmetology.

The participants are sincere and dedicated. Here are my favorite things about the competition:

  • They dress neatly. There are no pants hanging below their ass. Even if they are demonstrating construction projects, they have neat, clean work clothes on. That already impresses me.
  • They know their stuff. This year I learned about pipe crimping tools for copper plumbing without soldering (really cool!), corsages and boutonnières, solar ovens, pressurized air tanks for firefighters, installing car stereo systems and more. Someone even did a dance class for line dancing.
  • These kids give me a good feeling about life. There are young kids learning plumbing, electrical and other important skills. Sometimes we focus so hard on the “college” angle. We forget that as a society we need skills that don’t get done in an office. These jobs can pay better than what some of the college kids earn, especially when they can’t get a job in their field.
  • I get to spend time with my Toastmaster buddies. (Super thanks to Joe Endy for inviting me each year!)

We judge their knowledge (do they know how to do it and do it well) and presentation skills (can they explain their skills well enough so an average person can “get it”). Some of them create elaborate displays. Some of them are funny and some are so nervous you want to put your arms around them and tell them it’s ok. The saddest part is that only one person can win. They are all so deserving. If you get a chance to be involved in this, grab that brass ring.

19 thoughts on “Job Skills USA Competition — 2013

  1. Pingback: Random 5 for February 7 – Retirement, SkillsUSA, early morning, beauty, Meg Ryan | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  2. I’ve never heard of a Job Skills competition. It would be hard for me to sit there with the very nervous participants! But I’m sure you’re a very warm presence with your own body language, and that does help! It sounds so interesting!


  3. Hi Kate! Lovin’ your blog, especially this entry. The competitors in the Skills USA contests are some of the most talented, interesting, and most of all brave young people we will ever have the opportunity to meet. It takes GUTS to walk into an empty room with 3 seedy looking (!) judges sitting at a table giving you the evil eye and a score to boot. (kidding!) But seriously, they are the future of our nation. For anyone who has not yet experienced being a part of this incredible event, I hope they see your words and are encouraged to volunteer in coming years. It’s an unforgettable experience.


  4. I love this. It is so refreshing to hear someone that gets excited for young people that want to hit the ground running. College is not for everyone. I was a bearly a C student in HS. My brother was a straight A student. I thrived in college my brother was miserable. He went on to study in a brand new field “computers”. I only worked in my field for 4 years. He has worked his entire adult in his and he is very well off. I live in the woods he lives in a very exclusive neighborhood, but we both found our way and are very happy and blessed. Bravo for the encouragement you show these wonder young adults.


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