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Sponsorship of SkillsUSA's 2013 National Leadership and Skills Conference Opening Ceremony

SkillsUSA will return to Kansas City, June 24-28, 2013 for its 49th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of career and technical education students. Quality career and technical education and training will be the centerpiece of the conference.

Caterpillar Inc. will sponsor this year’s SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference Opening Ceremony, to be held on Wednesday, June 26. The Opening Ceremony marks the official start to the conference and will be conducted in Kansas City’s Kemper Arena where more than 11,000 students, teachers, education leaders, representatives from national corporations, dignitaries and honored guests will be in attendance.

In addition to their sponsorship of the SkillsUSA Opening Ceremony, Caterpillar will be providing the Opening Ceremony keynote speaker, Mike Rowe, former host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” star of numerous commercials and advocate for skilled workers. Caterpillar is also sponsoring his participation in the conference.

A special highlighted event of the NLSC is the annual SkillsUSA Championships, held on June 26 and 27 and features 98 hands-on skill and leadership competitions. The SkillsUSA Championships is the national-level competition for public high school and college/postsecondary students enrolled in career and technical education programs. The contests are planned by technical committees made up of national experts from labor and management and are designed to test the skills needed for a successful entry level performance in given occupational fields. The SkillsUSA Championships is considered the single greatest day of industry volunteerism in America annually at an estimated cost of more than $36 million. Each SkillsUSA Championships contestant is a state-level gold medalist and either a high school or a college/postsecondary student.

“SkillsUSA is very appreciative of the support that Caterpillar Inc. has provided to our students and our program for the past 16 years,” said Tim Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA. He added, “And, we are thrilled about Caterpillar’s sponsorship of the 2013 Opening Ceremony. This support will add a new level of excitement to the event and will showcase a great American corporation standing up for the future skilled workforce of our nation. Our students, their teachers and their parents will experience an inspiring ceremony with a strong message from Caterpillar executives and keynote speaker Mike Rowe. I know our students will be uplifted by the passion both share about the importance of a solid education and the dignity and honor of the American workforce.”

Chris Arvin, Global Organization Development Manager for Caterpillar and representative on the SkillsUSA Board of Directors, is looking forward to Caterpillar’s sponsorship of the Opening Ceremony. “This is an opportunity for Caterpillar to recognize and celebrate what SkillsUSA members have done and will continue to do in the future. It is also recognition of how important career and technical education is to the future of companies like Caterpillar and American industry.”

Cameron Ferguson, Caterpillar manager of Global Dealer Capability, has been involved with SkillsUSA for over eight years and has served on the Board of Directors, President of the Board, and currently is on the SkillsUSA Foundation. ‘Caterpillar is extremely proud of its long standing support of SkillsUSA. This organization prepares young people to become excellent workers for American industry. Their focus on team-work, goal setting, leadership and community service produces people who are ready and willing to work, and have the right values – everything that companies need in building a sustainable and productive workforce.”

About SkillsUSA 
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 300,000 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. Nearly 11 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.

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Contact: Tom Holdsworth, 703-737-0607 
THoldsworth(at)skillsusa(dot)org, or 
Jane Short, 703-737-0612, jshort(at)skillsusa(dot)org