SkillsUSA WorldTeam Heads to International Competition for Young Skilled Workers

Skilled, capable and flexible workers are the backbone of any nation’s economy and this international competition allows us to measure our SkillsUSA students and training programs against the best in the world.

SkillsUSA, the organization that represents the United States in the WorldSkills Competition, is sending 11 career and technical education competitors to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to compete in 10 skill categories during the 44th biennial event Oct. 14-19. Members of the WorldTeam won the right to compete by earning a national medal in the SkillsUSA Championships and completing other prerequisites prior to being chosen for the team.

“The SkillsUSA WorldTeam will meet and compete in Abu Dhabi with young workers from all around the globe, and I know our team will represent the United States very well,” said Tim Lawrence, executive director, SkillsUSA. “Just as in sports, winning contestants will be awarded medals and honors. But, the difference is that nations rise on the success of their workforce. Skilled, capable and flexible workers are the backbone of any nation’s economy and this international competition allows us to measure our SkillsUSA students and training programs against the best in the world.”

Competing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for the U.S.:

  •     Automobile Technology: Jonathan Robertson, Blue Springs, Mo.
  •     Bakery: Jordyn Baker, Anchorage, Alaska
  •     Bricklaying: Luke Dutton, Salisbury, N.C.
  •     Hairdressing: Kylie Burkey, Bristol, Tenn.
  •     Mechatronics: Joshua Whittington, Hogansville, Ga. and Corey Cleghorn, Tifton, Ga.
  •     Plumbing and Heating: Asher Chicoine, East Hampton, Mass.
  •     Print Media Technology: Chandler Kerr, Severn, Md.
  •     Refrigeration and Air Conditioning: Krzysztof (Chris) Zamajtys, Bohemia, N.Y.
  •     Web Design: Riley Johnson, Carrboro, N.C.
  •     Welding: Chandler Vincent, Price, Utah

In 2017, more than 1,300 competitors will test their skills in Abu Dhabi. Considered “the best of the best,” contestants compete for four days in 51 occupational skill areas from economic sectors including manufacturing and engineering technology, information and communication technology, construction and building technology, transportation and logistics, creative arts and fashion, and social and personal services. Accompanied by their teachers, trainers and industry technical committee experts, these young people compete before the public in contests that are run and judged by industry using demanding international standards. The competition brings together young people from around the world in their chosen professions. They represent the best students selected in local and national skills competitions for professional education.

Every two years, hundreds of young people from more than 77 countries and regions compete in the prestigious WorldSkills Competition. Member countries include: Israel, Japan, England, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Argentina and many others.

Five thousand international experts, delegates and judges will gather from around the world, and 3,000 volunteers will be recruited to assist in the competition. A total of 100,000 student and public spectators will attend the competition at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

WorldSkills was founded in 1950. In 1973, President Richard M. Nixon recognized SkillsUSA (then known as VICA) as the official U.S. representative to WorldSkills. The United States first entered the WorldSkills Competition in 1975, represented by the SkillsUSA organization.

About SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 300,000 member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. Additional information on the SkillsUSA WorldTeam is located at:

Unlike other national teams in the WorldSkills Competition, the SkillsUSA WorldTeam is funded solely through private donations. To donate or provide in-kind support for the SkillsUSA team, go to:

About WorldSkills
Over its 65-year history, WorldSkills International has come to symbolize the pinnacle of excellence in vocational training. It provides a unique means of exchange and comparison of world-class competency standards in the industrial trades and service sectors of the global economy. The continued growth of WorldSkills International attests to the fact that traditional trade and craft skills, along with newer technology’s multi-skilled occupations, make an essential contribution to the economic and social well-being of people everywhere. For more information, go to:

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About the Author: Bob Cooper

Bob Cooper is Canadian Business Tribune''s senior editor. He is also a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and a bestselling author. He lives in London Ontario and covers the intersection of money, politics and finance. He appears periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s,, Vice and He also has served as a journalist and consultant on documentaries for CBC and Global News . In 2014, he was the winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' investigative journalism award, and the winner of the Izzy Award for Journalism from Ithaca College's Park Center for Independent Media. He was also a finalist for UCLA's Gerald R. Loeb Award and Syracuse University's Mirror Award. Before becoming a journalist in 2006, Sirota worked in Washington for, among others, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee Minority Staff and the Center for American Progress.