SkillsUSA, a national non-profit partnership of career-focused students, instructors and industry, has announced a new venue for its annual celebration of world-class workers and responsible American citizens. Atlanta and the world-renowned Georgia World Congress Center have been awarded a contract for hosting the annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) starting in 2021. The SkillsUSA NLSC is a weeklong convention attended by students and instructors in career and technical education. It moves from Louisville, Ky., to Atlanta for a six-year stay beginning in June 2021. SkillsUSA is one of the largest student groups in the nation, and its event is expected to generate $30 million for the Atlanta economy each year, based on projected attendance of 20,000 people. The new site was announced at a construction trades breakfast attended by 800 students and instructors and business partners on March 18 to kick off the SkillsUSA Georgia State Leadership and Skills Conference.
“SkillsUSA is considered a talent pipeline and a vital solution to the skills gap. We are excited to announce Atlanta as our next conference site in 2021,” said executive director Timothy W. Lawrence. “While we are having a wonderful experience in Louisville, we must always look ahead to take our event to the next level and provide the best possible conference for our students, teachers and state association directors. Our organization is growing, and so is our conference. We are proud to introduce our future leaders to the great city of Atlanta as we continue to positively influence a new generation of student members who will in turn make a difference in their communities, their nation and their world. This event is much more than a conference or convention – it is a workforce development and economic development event where America’s future highly skilled technical workforce gathers with their future employers.”
The SkillsUSA conference is the nation’s largest showcase for career and technical education. This large, multi-faceted convention features the SkillsUSA Championships with 100 unique student competitions. Simultaneously held is SkillsUSA TECHSPO, the nation’s largest technical trade show, with 150 exhibitors including corporate sponsors, colleges and private schools, technology and educational products. There is also a series of breakout seminars and workshops called SkillsUSA University. Pre-conference training opportunities include leadership and character development tracks for student leaders and teachers. Outstanding local chapters are recognized through the Chapter Excellence Program. An opening ceremony, delegate meetings, national officer elections, a large-scale community service project, an awards ceremony and several social events will round out the week.
“Atlanta is a great location for SkillsUSA because our unique infrastructure makes it easy for meetings to grow here,” said William Pate, president and CEO, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Attendees will find everything they need in our compact convention district, which will include a significant amount of new development when we host the first meeting in 2021.”
Atlanta previously hosted the organization’s annual conference from 1979-1981. The conference then moved to Louisville in 1982 and returned to that city in 1991 and 2015. It was held in Kansas City, Mo., from 1994 to 2014. SkillsUSA has served a total of nearly 12 million members over the course of 51 years, helping each student develop the technical skills required for a successful career and the leadership skills that facilitate success in life.
“Atlanta won a competitive bid process against two other cities, each vying to become the next home to the SkillsUSA Championships,’ said Shelly Coates, SkillsUSA’s associate director for conference management services. “We made this agreement six years out in order to be sure the dates and space are there for SkillsUSA when we need them. We are thrilled to be under contract with Atlanta and will work closely with the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau to ensure our events run smoothly and successfully. When the final streamers fall in Louisville in 2020, SkillsUSA will turn its full attention to Atlanta.”