SkillsUSA announces its partnership with Alcoa Foundation to support the U.S. Delegation of 19 students and 16 experts that will compete at the 43rd WorldSkills Competition, August 11-16 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The biennial WorldSkills Competition, with more than 70 countries represented, offers the world’s largest event dedicated to workforce education and skills excellence reflecting the breadth of global industry. Alcoa Foundation’s funding will enable the U.S. to compete for the first time in the Manufacturing Team Challenge contest, involving three-student teams that perform design, production, assembly and testing of a manufactured product—all technical and career skills in high demand worldwide among manufactures.
Alcoa Foundation’s $250,000 grant to SkillsUSA will prepare and present the U.S. team in this international showcase of skilled workforce educational and technical practices. The experience of SkillsUSA at the WorldSkills Competition will inform the development of manufacturing curricula and applied learning activities and promote new approaches to involving manufacturers in community-based projects and competitions.
“This significant grant in support of the U.S. team will help us compete against the best trade and technical students from countries whose culture and public policy promote skilled workforce development. If the United States is to maintain its competitive edge in innovation and manufacturing, it is important to engage America’s young people in these disciplines,” says Tim Lawrence, SkillsUSA’s Executive Director and the U. S. Official Delegate to WorldSkills. “We are very grateful to the Alcoa Foundation for helping to highlight and address our nation’s ‘skills gap’ and for assisting our students in this international competition.”
“Technology shifts and increasing investments in advanced manufacturing are creating a great demand for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-capable students worldwide,” says Esra Ozer, President, Alcoa Foundation. “A new workforce of problem solvers, innovators and inventors who are self-reliant and able to think logically is one of the critical drivers of any economy’s innovation capacity and competitiveness. Together with SkillsUSA, we aim to inspire the next generation of leaders in manufacturing and engineering.”
The WorldSkills Competition promotes global workforce skills development and provides a vehicle for comparing career and technical students and methods of training among industrialized nations. About 1,000 students, age 17 to 22, will compete in almost 50 contests covering manufacturing and engineering, construction and building technology, information and communication technology, social and personal services, and transportation and logistics.
SkillsUSA has been the sole U.S. representative to WorldSkills since 1973 and sent its first student team to the WorldSkills Competition in 1975. The U.S. delegation will be one of only two WorldSkills member organizations that receive no government funding; SkillsUSA relies on private donations to prepare and present its WorldSkills team.