Many of you know about my belief that we can create a better place for each of us throughout the world by supporting Education at all levels. This can range from workplace training and development to formal education to technical and skills training. One of the great organizations playing a vital role with our youth is SkillsUSA, who happens to have their US Headquarters in Leesburg, VA. This is a great organization that I have had the honor to work with.

Skills' roots go back to 1965 with its first conference of 200 students, teachers and administrators in Nashville, Tennessee. This founding organization, VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America), was the beginning of a national network to serve student needs in trades, and industrial education. Today, now called SkillsUSA to better represent the variety of training provided to young adults, Skills is international and still growing. The newest arena of expansion is into the middle school segments, creating new curricula for these students. Realizing that formal education after public school is not for everyone, Skills is a major contributor to providing young adults with Employable Talents! A theme I continuously focus on.

The initial thrust 50 years ago was to change the image of vocational training. Skills has certainly accomplished that! Today, they continue to impact students in multiple professions from auto mechanics to plumbers to electricians and on and on. Besides teaching them the professional skills needed, they are taught the basics of leadership, civic responsibility, business, and personal traits of honesty, integrity and ethics. All the traits we hope to find in the people we interact with. Having worked with SkillsUSA and getting to know their leadership, I am confident that they will make a positive impact moving forward. It certainly was refreshing to meet the student officers and many of the founders at the celebration.

To learn more about SkillsUSA, go to their website at www.skillsusa.org or your state's Department of Education for State Chapter information. If you can, please support them. These students are our future.

Dr. David Miles