July 27, 2017. Our program featured Katie Walter who is the Executive Director of the SkillsUSA Council. The organization was started in 1985 through the vision of local business people including Elmer Gates. SkillsUSA Council is a coalition of business and industry partners committed to finding, fostering, and producing a world-class workforce through career and technical training to support local economic and community growth in the Greater Lehigh Valley. There are over 80 Council members who visit with local businesses to find out what types of skilled labor are needed.
They then work with five local career and technical schools to produce the desired labor force. The five schools are CIT, Upper Bucks County Technical School, Monroe Career and Technical Institute, Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School, and Lehigh Career Technical Institute. This collection of schools represents over 5,000 students in many professional disciplines. Annual competitions are held in each discipline and the winners can advance to state-level or even national contests. An annual speech contest includes both extemporaneous and prepared-topic competitions. The Council offers workshops and conferences designed to help students become better employees. Soft-skills training is also offered including how to prepare for a job interview.