Sicklerville students honored at annual SkillsUSA Championships

Carmen Spiewak and Joseph Gontowski were two of more than 6,000 students competing in national showcase

Career and technical students from New Jersey won some of the nation’s highest awards at the 2017 SkillsUSA Championships, held in Louisville, Ky., on June 21–22.

This included Sicklerville residents Carmen Spiewak and Joseph Gontowski. More than 6,000 students competed at the national showcase of career and technical education. The SkillsUSA Championships is the largest skill competition in the world and covers 1.4 million square feet, equivalent to 20 football fields or 25 acres.

Spiewak was awarded the college gold medal in plumbing. Gontowski was awarded a skill point certificate in commercial baking.

Students were invited to the event to demonstrate their technical skills, workplace skills and personal skills in 100 hands-on occupational and leadership competitions including robotics, automotive technology, drafting, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking. Industry leaders from 600 businesses, corporations, trade associations and unions planned and evaluated the contestants against their standards for entry-level workers. Industry support of the SkillsUSA Championships is valued at over $36 million in donated time, equipment, cash and material. More than 1,700 industry judges and technical committee members
participated this year.

A total of 1,236 gold, silver and bronze medals were presented to students. Many winners also received industry prizes, tools of their trade and scholarships. Skill Point Certificates were awarded in 72 occupational and leadership areas to students who met a predetermined threshold score in their competition, as defined by industry. The Skill Point Certificates are a component of SkillsUSA’s national assessment program for career and technical education.

“More than 6,000 students from every state in the nation participated in the 2017 SkillsUSA Championships,” said SkillsUSA executive director Tim Lawrence. “This showcase of career and technical education demonstrates our SkillsUSA partnership at its finest. Our students, instructors and industry partners work together to ensure that every student excels. This program expands learning and career opportunities for our members.”

The SkillsUSA Championships event is held annually for students in middle school, high school or college/postsecondary programs as part of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. More than 300,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA annually, organized into more than 18,000 sections and 52 state and territorial associations. The national, nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry is a verified talent pipeline for America’s skilled workforce that is working to help solve the skills gap.

For more information, visit www.SkillsUSA.org.