ClarkDietrich has renewed its support of the SkillsUSA Championships, an annual competition showcasing the accomplishments of career and technical education students throughout the country. The company provided a number of steel framing systems for two of this year’s SkillsUSA construction trade competitions, which were held June 25-27 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.

“The ongoing skilled labor shortage continues to plague our industry, there just aren’t enough young people entering the construction trades to keep pace with growth in the industry,” said Terry Westerman, vice president of marketing, ClarkDietrich Building Systems. “By fostering the development of thousands of future tradespeople, SkillsUSA is doing great work to reverse this trend and we’re happy to support this mission in any way we can.”

As a part of the championship event, more than 6,500 career and technical education students –– all state contest winners –– competed hands-on in 103 different trade, technical and leadership fields. Students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry.

ClarkDietrich provided ProSTUD Drywall Framing System, as well as connectors from our Clip Express business for competitions in two categories; Carpentry and Teamworks.

The Carpentry Competition evaluates students on skills that include framing walls with wood and steel studs, cutting and installing rafters, as well as installing fascia board, sheathing and/or exterior sliding and trim. Contestants were judged on accuracy, ability to read and interpret blueprints, workmanship, safety and proper use of tools, equipment and materials.

Jacob Stage, a student at Bedford Science & Technology Center in Bedford, Va., won gold for Carpentry in the high school division. Bret Gleason, a student at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Neb., was the gold winner in the college division.

The Teamworks Competition requires teams of four people to complete a construction project demonstrating their ability to work together. Each team was asked to present their plan of action, a key element of the completion, and use their carpentry, electrical, plumbing and masonry skills to execute their plan. Teams were judged based on their presentation skills, ability to construct a project per specific building codes, jobsite safety and cleanliness, proper use and accountability of tools and equipment and the rate of completion of the project.

The team from Berks Career and Technology Center East Campus in Oley, Pa., won the Teamworks gold in the high school division, and students from the Georgia Northwest Technical College in Rock Spring, Ga., took home the top award in the college division.

The championship event was part of the 55th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, a showcase of career and technical education students. More than 19,000 people — including students, teachers and business partners — participated in the weeklong event.

The philosophy of the championships is to reward students for excellence, involving the industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training as relevant to employers’ needs as possible, preparing them for real-life scenarios they will face in their future jobs.

“We believe it’s important for Skills USA participants to have hands-on experience with the types of products they’re likely to encounter in the field,” added Westerman. “Not only does this prepare them for their careers, but it affords ClarkDietrich an opportunity to begin building a relationship with the next generation of building professionals.”

For more information about SkillsUSA, go to