Career and technical students in Missouri -- including Aurora's Audria Megan Conn -- won some of the nation’s highest awards at the 2017 SkillsUSA Championships, held in Louisville, Ky., on June 21-22.

More than 6,000 students competed at the national showcase of career and technical education. The SkillsUSA Championships is the largest skill competition in the world and covers 1.4 million square feet, equivalent to 20 football fields or 25 acres.

Students were invited to the event to demonstrate their technical skills, workplace skills and personal skills in 100 hands-on occupational and leadership competitions including robotics, automotive technology, drafting, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking.

Industry leaders from 600 businesses, corporations, trade associations and unions planned and evaluated the contestants against their standards for entry-level workers. Industry support of the SkillsUSA Championships is valued at over $36 million in donated time, equipment, cash and material.

More than 1,700 industry judges and technical committee members participated this year. Skill Point Certificates were awarded in 72 occupational and leadership areas to students who met a predetermined threshold score in their competition, as defined by industry. The Skill Point Certificate is a component of SkillsUSA’s assessment program for career and technical education.

Conn, a student at Scott Regional Technology Center (Monett), was awarded a Skill Point Certificate in Restaurant Service.

“More than 6,000 students from every state in the nation participated in the 2017 SkillsUSA Championships,” said SkillsUSA executive director Tim Lawrence. “This showcase of career and technical education demonstrates our SkillsUSA partnership at its finest. Our students, instructors and industry partners work together to ensure that every student excels. This program expands learning and career opportunities for our members.”

The SkillsUSA Championships event is held annually for students in middle school, high school or college/postsecondary programs as part of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. More than 300,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA annually, organized into more than 18,000 sections and 52 state and territorial associations. The national, nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry is a verified talent pipeline for America’s skilled workforce that is working to help solve the skills gap.

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 300,000 member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level.

SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to: www.SkillsUSA.org.