Greitens visits statewide technical skills career competition

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LINN  - Gov. Eric Greitens became Missouri's first governor to visit the state’s SkillsUSA competition at State Technical College of Missouri on Friday. 

Greitens discussed Missouri’s need for workers with technical skills.

“To make sure that we have a thriving prosperous economy rooted in the core values of hard work, personal responsibility, we have to a have a trained, excited, capable workforce,” Greitens said.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that helps high school and college students seeking postsecondary education careers in technical fields. Nearly 6,000 students across 52 SkillsUSA associations will take part in the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky June 19-23.

More than 2,000 students from 60 secondary schools and 12 postsecondary schools are participating in Missouri’s three-day SkillsUSA competition. Greitens said preparing students for technical fields through this competition is important beyond representing Missouri in nationals.

“Wherever you go when you graduate, the kind of values, work ethic and skills that you are building here today are going to help you for the rest of your life,” Greitens said. They're going to help all of us to build a much stronger Missouri.

The statewide contest involves representatives from more than 200 technical skills departments, such as welding, aviation and heavy equipment technology.

Braden Moser, a Missouri state officer for SkillsUSA, said Greitens has been very supportive of unconventional, non four-year educational plans. Moser participated in last year’s competition and took first place in information technology services. 

“SkillsUSA is so completely integrated into your education when you are a member and you are willing to participate,” Moser said. “It’s a fantastic organization because it gives students so many opportunities they wouldn’t be able to have without it.”

The State Technical College of Missouri received a $10,000 grant from Lowe’s Charitable and Education Foundation to fund this year’s state competition.

The college will face budget cuts next year as part of Greitens’ plan to reduce funding for higher education, which could affect funding for future SkillsUSA competitions in Missouri.

State Technical College of Missouri President Shawn Strong said he recognizes Greitens is in a difficult position with state funding, but having his advocacy for technical skills is just as important as having the funds to support technical education programs.

The competition ends Saturday afternoon.