The skills gap continues to impact jobsites worldwide with pressing deadlines demanding an immediate solution. Together, we can raise awareness about the many benefits of working in the trades and encourage the next generation of skilled professionals to pursue alternative career options.
May 8, 2019, marked the inaugural SkillsUSA National Signing Day, presented by Klein Tools. Similar to signing day events for student athletes, almost 300 schools nationwide celebrated nearly 3,000 high school seniors dedicated to pursuing a career in the trades. Although we can’t highlight every event that happened from coast to coast, here’s a recap from just five of the schools that participated in last week’s celebration.
SkillsUSA National Signing Day kicked-off at Gerald R. Claps Career & Technical Center. The event celebrated over 25 students from the electrical technology, construction management and automotive technology programs.
“Career and technical education, and all of you, are so important to the future workforce,” says Kristina Cuomo, SkillsUSA advisor. “Currently, many companies are finding such a shortage of skilled workers, also known as the skills gap, that exists in our nation right now. So, all of you who are choosing to learn a skill are making advances to decrease that skills gap and making our communities stronger.”
According to SkillsUSA, 600 thousand jobs are going unfilled right now. The students honored at SkillsUSA National Signing Day will play a vital role in filling these positions, helping to maintain the world’s infrastructure.
Next up, the Klein Tools team headed to Dr. Kirk Lewis Career & Technical High School, where 13 students from the construction, electrical and welding programs signed their letters of intent.
“SkillsUSA is proud to support all students as they enter their chosen career fields,” says Bart Taylor, interim director at SkillsUSA Texas. “And we are over joyed when our students help break the mold to redefine what it means to have the skilled trades in America.”
Headed east, the celebration continued at Cross Keys High School, where representatives from students’ future employers as well as The Home Depot honored 15 seniors dedicated to the trades.
“We are thrilled to have partners like Klein Tools and SkillsUSA who are committed to supporting these young adults in their journey in the trades workforce and educating them about its importance,” says Kathryn Stanley, product innovation PR manager at The Home Depot. “You all are the future and the next generation of doers, and we support you 100 percent.”
Special guests, including NFL Quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, and his father, Tony, a recently retired career electrician, made the event at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education that much more memorable. There they applauded 40 students committing to careers in the building and construction trades.
“Having witnessed firsthand the hard work, skill and dedication of my dad for over forty years,” says Jimmy Garoppolo, NFL Quarterback, “I applaud the young people in this country who are taking those next steps towards a career in the skilled trades.”
The first student to sign? Ethan Harrison, one of 22 WorldSkills USA team members who will represent the U.S. in cabinetmaking this August in Kazan, Russia.
Klein Tools’ SkillUSA National Signing Day live streams wrapped up at the Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) where 14 students announced their career plans.
“I applaud you students,” says Mike Zimmerman, director at TCD, “For taking the initiative to pursue a meaningful and prosperous career where you will maintain a good living and contribute to society.”
Among the students honored was Jammie Slack, Jr, who comes from a long line of contractors, including his dad, several uncles and grandfather. Jammie has plans to open his own business in the future, but for now looks forward to learning and perfecting his skills within the HVAC industry.
Distinguished students were also recognized for their achievements at the SkillUSA Illinois competitions.
From the Klein Tools family to all aspiring tradespeople, congratulations on your achievements and best wishes as you begin your career.
Did you or someone you know participate in the first-ever SkillsUSA National Signing Day? Share your pictures and join the #SkillsNSD2019 conversation on social media.
For more information and event day photos, visit https://www.kleintools.com/nsd.