Gian Roberts, SkillsUSA Chapter president at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA)-Helena took part in a unique opportunity to experience Washington, D.C., and learn how to effectively communicate with legislative representatives.

Gian Roberts, SkillsUSA Chapter president at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA)-Helena took part in a unique opportunity to experience Washington, D.C., and learn how to effectively communicate with legislative representatives.
The 5-day Washington Leadership Training Institute is sponsored each year by SkillsUSA and teaches participants about personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. A sophomore at Central High School, Roberts was accompanied by PCCUA Career and Technical Center Director Aaron Germany and instructor Arthur Gentry. While in Washington, Roberts toured the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Capitol Hill, and visited the Lincoln, Roosevelt, Jefferson and King memorials. 

As SkillsUSA chapter president, Roberts will be instrumental in preparing students for employment when they have completed their education at PCCUA.
Among topics discussed by delegates to this year's institute were the value of public career and technical education, the quality of their education and training, their career plans, and the benefits of SkillsUSA, which has been successful in cultivating skills in students of all ages and backgrounds.
The institute is a leadership and citizenship training event, focusing on advanced leadership and communications skills, including sharing their personal stories with legislative representatives. This year, 506 students and instructors from 29 states attended the conference.

PCCUA was the only Arkansas school in attendance.
SkillsUSA is an integral part of public career and technical education (CTE). According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18 percent compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent. CTE is also about jobs -- good middle-class jobs -- that are essential to the American economy and global competitiveness. Experts project 47 million job openings in the decade ending 2018. One-third will require an associate's degree or certificate and nearly all will require real-world skills that can be mastered through CTE.