State Leadership and Skills Conference returns to the Lakeland Center

Next week’s SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference will be bringing more than 1500 of the top technical, occupational and vocational students from throughout Florida to Lakeland to compete for the opportunity to advance to the SkillsUSA National Championships. Throughout the four day event high school and post-secondary students will be competing in more than 90 different vocational competitions in such diverse career fields as cosmetology, firefighting, plumbing, web design, TV production, practical nursing and culinary arts. In addition to the vocational competitions, the SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference will take place April 24-27 and will also feature an Opening Ceremonies, the World of Possibilities Career Expo, an Entertainment Night complete with Fireworks and a closing Awards Ceremonies. In Polk County the vocational competitions will be held at the Lakeland Center, Travis Career Center, Polk State College, Ridge Career Center and the Lakeland Fire Department Lakeland Training Facility. Lakeland Campus. The Worlds of Possibilities Career Expo is open to the public.

The SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference caps off a year of local and regional vocational competitions, with the top students qualifying to compete in Lakeland. The top competitors in the state competitions will then represent Florida in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference this summer in Louisville, KY.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA is a national organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations and for further education. SkillsUSA provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills. It emphasizes total quality at work—high ethical standards, superior work skills, life-long education, and pride in the dignity of work. SkillsUSA also promotes understanding of the free-enterprise system and involvement in community service.

In addition to the students participating in the conference, Polk County accommodation providers, restaurants and attractions will also benefit from the influx of school administrators, advisors, competition judges and SkillsUSA staff that will be responsible for the oversight and execution of the event. “With this event generating more than 1,800 room nights and an expected economic impact of $1.9 million, SkillsUSA is just another example of how our strategy of bringing a diverse range of sports and special events to Polk County continues to benefit the local economy,” said Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing Director Mark Jackson. The event was previously held in Pensacola, FL and Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing officials worked with SkillsUSA to bring the event to Polk County, and Lakeland last year, and Lakeland will host the event again in April of 2017.

2016 SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference Event Schedule

Sunday, April 24

7:00 p.m. Opening Ceremonies – Youkey Theater, Lakeland Center

Monday, April 25

8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. World of Possibilities Career Expo (Open to the Public) – Lakeland Center

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Vocational Competitions – Lakeland Center, Traviss Career Center, Polk State College, Lakeland Fire Department Training Facility

Tuesday, April 26

8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. World of Possibilities Career Expo (Open to the Public) – Lakeland Center

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Vocational Competitions – Lakeland Center, Traviss Career Center, Polk State College, Ridge Career Center

6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Entertainment Night and Fireworks – Lake Mirror Promenade

Wednesday, April 27

10:00 a.m. Awards Ceremonies – Jenkins Arena, Lakeland Center

For the full 2016 conference schedule of events, click the following link: SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership & Skills Conference Agenda. For more information on the SkillsUSA Florida organization, please go to: www.SkillsUSAFL.org.