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Student Profile: Dustin Cagle, Northeast Alabama Community College, National College/Postsecondary Vice President of SkillsUSA

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Friday, February 28, 2014
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.


SkillsUSA Opening Session Speech


          We 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!

Tags:  WDI 

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