Three career and technical students from Maine won some of the nation’s highest awards June 21-22 at the 2017 SkillsUSA Championships, held in Louisville, Kentucky, according to a news release from SkillsUSA.

The local winners were Ryan J. Douglas, of Augusta, a student at Capital Area Technical, who was awarded a Skill Point Certificate in Action Skills; Benjamin Bard, of Sidney, a student at Mid-Maine Technical Center, who was awarded a Skill Point Certificate in Cabinetmaking; and Nicholas Labun, of Waterville, a student at Eastern Maine Community College, who was awarded a Skill Point Certificate in Carpentry.

According to the release 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 Certificate is a component of SkillsUSA’s assessment program for career and technical education.

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.

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 more than $36 million in donated time, equipment, cash and material, according to the release.

More than 1,700 industry judges and technical committee members participated this year.

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, according to the release.

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