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A Publication of WTVP

Recently, several students from Illinois Central College received awards for their work at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

Kevin E. Wells was awarded the college/postsecondary bronze medal in internetworking, Matthew Scachette and Kevin Burke were awarded the college/postsecondary gold medal in web design, and Kari Lacock, Courtney Richmond and Samantha Nelson were awarded a Skill Point Certificate in crime scene investigation.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. It is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including healthcare.

The conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri, from June 20th to 25th. ICC works in concert with SkillsUSA as a complement to the courses offered to students in their technology, trade, industrial and health programs of study. These students were led by their SkillsUSA chapter advisor, Kim Cioni, associate professor at ICC, who took some time to answer a few questions for iBi.

How did students from the Peoria area become involved in SkillsUSA?
All of the students who become members of SkillsUSA first must be enrolled in a career and technical education program, either at the secondary or post-secondary level. This past year, we had a chapter membership of 150. This number includes an officer team of seven students who help me run the chapter. In addition to the competitions in their chosen fields, these students are my right hand and assist in all areas of running the chapter as part of their own professional development. All students compete in their discipline areas at the state conference in April, and the best from each state are invited to the national conference.

What benefits come from being a member?
Members have the opportunity to be part of a large group of students/alumni at the national level—approximately 320,000 join per year, and alumni continues to grow. The competition is only one part of the organization; the students also have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills. The students become part of our ICC alumni, and many return to assist with the chapter events, fundraising, and assisting with the state conference as contest supervisors and judges. Many of our students are offered jobs by their judges at the state and national conferences.

How does winning a medal at the national conference enhance one’s resume?
Winning a medal at the national conference is a great honor and should be put on the resume. However, I always remind the students that just making it to nationals is the true accomplishment—medal or not. Each participant at the national conference has won his or her state competition—they are already No.1 in the State of Illinois before even getting to nationals. Only the top five percent of the SkillsUSA members make it to nationals. Of those students, only approximately four to five percent actually win medals. This year, we came home with many top 10 and upper-half finishes. I am just as proud of these students for their accomplishments. Even a seventh-place finish is still seventh in the nation. You beat not only the other 30 to 40 competitors at the conference, but all of the students they beat within their states to have the honor of competing there.

I insist that all of our students—regardless of finish—put their accomplishments on their resume. “SkillsUSA National Competitor—7th in the Nation” sounds pretty good to a potential employer.

For more information about SkillsUSA, visit skillsusa.org.

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