We returned this past Monday from a great trip to the WorldSkills Competition (WSC), and we traveled with one of the best, most articulate and composed teams we’ve ever taken to international competition.
I’m not going to try writing a full report right now; after all, information is still coming in but I can report that the U.S. did well with the silver medal in Welding (and best in nation award) going to Alex Pazkowski, and medallions of excellence (scoring over 500 points where all contests are based on 600) won by Marcus Cain in IT Networking and Kieron Kohlmann in Automotive Technology. Pat Klaricki, the US technical expert in Print Media Technology won the WorldSkills Sustainability Award for having the greenest competition of the week. Everything printed by the contestants was used.
Here are a few bullet points. I know there will be more to come.
- Our delegation comprised about 60 people including contestants and experts. If we add in the industry partners and others, the whole group was about 100. It was great to see that many more U.S. flags waving in the audience.
- I was the information tour guide on the competition floor for the U.S. delegation attending the WSC under the German Skills Initiative. Included in the delegation were top government officials from New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina, some college presidents and representatives of Labor. I’ve already heard back from New Jersey and Maryland wanting more information about SkillsUSA.
- While there, I met with executives from Samsung, Autodesk, Pearson, Dermalogica, Fluke and the CEO of Lincoln Electric. All are interested in supporting SkillsUSA or increasing their support.
- It wasn’t WorldSkills all the time either. I attended two important satellite meetings as well. One was “Tackling the Global Talent Gap” sponsored by the International Skills Standards Organization. Don Whyte, president, National Center for Construction Education and Research and a great friend of SkillsUSA was one of the speakers. (NCCER also sponsored a dinner for our team and guests on Monday during the WSC.) I also attended “Skilling the Future: VET (vocational education) and Workplace Learning for Economic Success” organized by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The keynote speech was given by Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education. Brenda and Sharon Miller, director of Academic and Technical Education, OVAE, are the first U.S. officials to attend a WorldSkills Competition. Brenda told me she’d be covering the event in the OVAE newsletter seen in departments of education everywhere.