I was delighted to meet Dustin at WDI, after he gave remarks at a morning session. I was moved by his story of student success, and how SkillsUSA help him and many others find his career passion. He was kind enough to let me post his speech below.
AACC 2014 WDI
SkillsUSA Opening Session Speech
hear a lot these days about the “Skills Gap.” We hear stories of students who
are heading off to college unprepared and end up failing to complete any kind
of credential or being able to transfer to a four-year school. We hear stories
of young adults who lack the skills and work ethics needed to get a job and
keep a job.
Well, I’m here to tell
you a different story.
Good morning, my name is
Dustin Cagle. I am a student at Northeast Alabama Community College, where I am
a drafting design major. I also serve as the National College/Postsecondary
Vice President of SkillsUSA.
At SkillsUSA, you hear
stories of student success, of students making a difference in their
communities, of students building and securing their own futures. You hear
stories about skilled and educated students who are realizing their dreams as
they advance to higher education or the world of work.
SkillsUSA helps students,
like me, find our career passions. In addition, it empowers its members to
become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.
We know that through work
force development, individuals can receive training that makes them a greater
asset in the work force. We also know that leadership and professional
development are essential to ensuring those same individuals get a job and are
successful at that job. So why not offer your students a program that focuses
on the best of both?
We are a national student
leadership organization serving more than 300,000 student and professional
members in all 50 states and three U.S. territories. SkillsUSA complements
technical skills training with instruction in the employability skills that
make for a well-rounded worker. That is what sets us apart and what can give
your students an edge in the workplace. When people talk about college-ready
and career-ready, or 21st Century Skills, they are talking about the
combination of academic skills, technical skills, and employability skills.
SkillsUSA ties them all together making your students necessary and sought
after by employers. A prepared, educated
and motivated employee is any company’s best resource. The need for
talented human capital will always be paramount to the success of any
company ̶ no matter what they produce or service they
provide. Nurturing that potential is a long-term investment that pays off for
America’s top companies and small businesses. Nurturing that potential is what
SkillsUSA is all about and it’s why we have such great support from corporate
America. More than 1,000 businesses support SkillsUSA. Companies such as
Toyota, Lowe’s, Snap-on, State Farm, Bosch, Caterpillar, and many others see
value in SkillsUSA students.
Employers look to
community colleges ̶ your schools
̶ for dependable workers who are
willing to learn. SkillsUSA can help you connect to local businesses and help
you offer a steady supply of motivated
and skilled employees.
Today’s students are
facing some harsh realities. Our economic future is uncertain. Many communities
are facing tough times. College costs are skyrocketing. The number of
applicants for admission at two-year schools is higher than they’ve ever been,
making it more competitive.
Now more than ever, we
need an edge that allows us to stand out from the crowd. That edge is
SkillsUSA. We enrich the student experiences on campus, improve student
recruitment and retention, and further business partnerships.
I would like to share
with you how SkillsUSA personally influenced my life.
Before SkillsUSA, I
didn’t know what my future looked like. It was like I was lost in the dark
without a flashlight. I was just going with the “high-school flow” just wanting
to graduate school and be done. I had no goals set for myself and didn’t have a
path to follow. I didn’t have the self-confidence to set those goals and to
find a right path.
Then I found
career/technical education and SkillsUSA. Career/technical education provided
me with a trade I was good at, BUT SkillsUSA drove it home. SkillsUSA gave me
the confidence to set goals and a sense of direction to further my education…
to go to college.
So here I am now in
college, and SkillsUSA is STILL molding me.
SkillsUSA has now given
me a deeper sense of confidence and purpose. I have the confidence to set
further goals and continue to grow as an individual. I now have the sense of
purpose to influence others to further their education as well and graduate
college. SkillsUSA linked me with business and industry to give me potential
job opportunities. I now have job offers in places I never imagined. SkillsUSA
showed me what the future workforce is in dire need of and molded me into that
leader that America needs. I am now
EDUCATED and SKILLED to lead America!