SkillsUSA has canceled all in-person events at its 2020 National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) that was scheduled for June 22-26 in Louisville, Ky. due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Select leadership components of the conference, including state officer training, delegate sessions, national officer elections and other recognition programs to be determined, are currently being restructured for potential delivery in a virtual format.
Executive director Chelle Travis said in a statement, “The current health crisis we’re facing has affected all walks of life and all aspects of SkillsUSA. That includes our National Leadership and Skills Conference. With so much yet unknown about this virus and how long it might affect us, we could not in good conscience move forward with an in-person event this June. There is nothing more important to SkillsUSA than the health and wellbeing of our members, partners and supporters.”
Travis explains the decision in the video below.
The national event is also heavily dependent on state participation. A total of 27 SkillsUSA state associations canceled their 2020 state conferences and would not be participating at the national event. When surveyed, other states said they will base their decisions on whether or not their school systems reconvene this year. Travis went on to say that without robust state participation, holding the national conference was not a viable option.
The SkillsUSA Championships, the highlight of the NLSC, features more than 100 competitive events organized and operated by technical committees from various industries. According to SkillsUSA, ,many of these industries are facing travel restrictions that could also limit their ability to participate, which was another factor in SkillsUSA’s decision.
Travis said she understands — and shares — the disappointment this decision will cause SkillsUSA’s students and stakeholders. She insists, however, this is only a temporary setback for the organization. “Our goal is to rise above this disappointment and remember who we are. We will survive this crisis and come through it stronger than ever.”
National Signing Day Canceled
SkillsUSA also announced the decision to cancel its SkillsUSA National Signing Day, previously scheduled for May 8.
Although a variety of logistical factors influenced these decisions, including what would have been a distinct lack of state participation resulting from the pandemic, both were driven — first and foremost — by health concerns.
“There is nothing more important to SkillsUSA than the health and wellbeing of our members and stakeholders,” said SkillsUSA executive director Chelle Travis.
Despite this setback for 2020, plans are already underway for next year’s event, currently scheduled for May 4, 2021.