One student earned the privilege of representing Grant Career Center at the championship by winning a Gold Medals at the state level in the spring and traveled to Kansas City full of hopes and dreams of winning a shiny medal.
Marissa Walls, a junior Allied Health Science student from Williamsburg, competed in the Health Occupations Professional Portfolio competition and brought back a Bronze Medal for her efforts at the national level. The Health Occupation Professional Portfolio recognizes students for their successful development of a professional portfolio. The competition evaluates the ability of the student to present themselves to a perspective employer. The competition consists of two parts: a portfolio notebook showcasing their achievements and a live presentation by the student.
“The SkillsUSA National Conference was an awesome experience. I loved seeing kids my age from all over the country. I am so excited to bring home a medal and I hope I can do it again next year,” Marissa said.
The Conference offered many exciting experiences for Marissa including an Opening Ceremony presentation by Mike Rowe, former host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs. In between competition presentations, Marissa visited museums, a waterpark, TECHSPO exhibits by major national companies and educational resources, an amusement park and many Kansa City highlights.
The night of the Award Ceremony, anxiety levels were high as the contestants were eager to find out if they were the best in the nation. Sitting through the three segments of awards and officer election results were testing the patience of the students whose results had yet to be revealed. Finally, the Health Occupations Professional Portfolio Contest flashed on the big screen and Marissa was delighted to hear her name called. She hurried to the staging area to await her turn on the podium.
“Being on the national stage was so cool! It was crazy, but exciting, to stand in front of over 6,000 people accepting my national medal!” Marissa said.
This year, as part of the Work Force Ready System, SkillsUSA awarded Skill Point Certificates in all 98 contest areas to recognize outstanding talent of contestants in addition to those who earn gold, silver and bronze medallions in the SkillsUSA Championships. The same industry leaders who defined the competencies for the Championships determined a “cut score” that indicates excellence for students entering technical fields. Most cut scores range between 70 and 80 percent. Each certificate lists the competency areas tested in the contest and carries the logos of organizations and companies that planned and managed this year’s competitions. Marissa was rewarded for her outstanding skills and knowledge with a Skill Point Certificate to document her achievement and to show potential employers an indicator of her proficiency.
As well as this trip being a reward for work well done throughout the year, Marissa also learned some very valuable skills. She also had the chance to see the best work of students and businesses from all across the nation as well as hear presentations from some of America’s great business leaders.
SkillsUSA helps students discover and grow their career passions. As a nationwide partnership of students, instructors and industry working together, SkillsUSA works to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It helps every student excel. The nationwide career and technical education (CTE) student organization serves more than 320,000 high school, college and postsecondary students—and their instructors—in technical, skilled, and service occupation instructional programs. CTE is learning that works for America. SkillsUSA has the active support of more than 1,100 corporations, trade associations, business and labor unions at the national level. Over 11.2 million people have been annual members of SkillsUSA since its founding as The Vocational Industrial Clubs of America in 1965. SkillsUSA programs teach leadership, citizenship and character development to complement technical skill training. The organization emphasizes respect for the dignity of work, ethics, workmanship, scholarship and safety.
The students were accompanied on their trip to Kansas City by SkillsUSA advisors Myrna Little and Pam McKinney.