More than 800 Students to Compete in Largest SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference Ever Held at CNM
CNM students competing in the Welding Fabrication portion of the 2024 SkillsUSA New Mexico State Leadership and Skills Conference (SLSC) work on a welding platform

More than 800 Students to Compete in Largest SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference Ever Held at CNM

This annual event gives middle school, high school, and college/postsecondary students the opportunity to showcase their skills and build connections with their peers, community partners, and employers
April 04, 2024

CNM is excited to host more than 800 middle school, high school, and college/postsecondary students on April 11 and 12 on Main Campus for the 2024 New Mexico SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference.

“Everything about this year’s conference is bigger than ever before,” says Janel Sanchez, the State Director for SkillsUSA New Mexico. “We’ve added more competitions, more industry partners, and there will of course be more students competing. Plus, we have a record-breaking 303 women registered to compete this year, which is incredibly exciting.”

Each year, students from across New Mexico travel to CNM for the Leadership and Skills Conference to showcase their career and technical skills in areas ranging from electrical trades to culinary arts to carpentry to robotics. The competitors have already won their school-wide SkillsUSA competitions and are hoping to qualify to compete at the national level.

Each category will produce a gold, silver, and bronze winner, and gold-medal winners have the opportunity to represent New Mexico at the SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference this June in Atlanta, Georgia.

Students will also have the chance to participate in leadership development workshops and network with industry leaders during the three-day conference.

“The overarching goal of SkillsUSA is to create a world class workforce,” Janel says. “During the conference students will be able to connect directly with industry partners and attend professional development workshops as a step toward becoming well-rounded professionals once they graduate.”

SkillsUSA New Mexico has over 50 chapters throughout the state that partner with students, educators, and industry professionals to work towards reducing the nationwide shortage of skilled tradespeople. SkillsUSA does the same on a national level and has close to 400,000 registered members in chapters across America.

Students from more than 40 different schools, including CNM, are participating in this year’s competition. The opening ceremony takes place on April 11, and competitions will be held on CNM’s Main Campus on April 11 and 12, primarily in Ted Chavez Hall. The awards presentation and closing ceremony will be held at the ABQ Marriott Pyramid North on April 13.

“One of the biggest benefits of the SkillsUSA program is honoring the work and preparation students commit to become experts in their field and showcasing those skills through state and national level competitions,” Janel says. “The students who are selected to go to the national conference are not only representing their school, but also their state which can be a really meaningful and impactful experience.”

Last year, students from several of CNM’s trades programs competed alongside 6,000 other students in the SkillsUSA Championships, with Welding student Scott Schnieder bringing home a gold medal in Welding Sculpture.

With just a week left before this year’s conference, Janel is excited to recognize the students’ hard work and hopes they leave feeling proud and inspired about their next steps.

“What makes SkillsUSA unique is that we focus on the whole person, not just the technical and career aspect,” she says. “Our hope is that students leave the conference with a sense of accomplishment, as well as feeling confident in their next steps, personally and professionally.”