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COVID-19 Crisis: SkillsUSA 2020 Cancels In-Person Events

April 3, 2020
Select leadership components of the conference are currently being restructured for potential delivery in a virtual format.

SkillsUSA, a national student organization serving more than 365,000 students and teachers in career and technical education, has canceled all in-person events at its 2020 National Leadership and Skills Conference — previously scheduled June 22-26 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. — due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Select leadership components of the conference — including state officer training, delegate sessions, national officer elections and other recognition programs to be determined — are currently being restructured for potential delivery in a virtual format. The organization’s decision aligns with current guidelines from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and federal government mandates discouraging unnecessary travel and large gatherings.

“The current health crisis we’re facing has affected all walks of life and all aspects of SkillsUSA,” said Executive Director Chelle Travis in a statement. “That includes our National Leadership and Skills Conference. With so much yet unknown about this virus and how long it might affect us, we could not in good conscience move forward with an in-person event this June. There is nothing more important to SkillsUSA than the health and wellbeing of our members, partners and supporters.”

The national event is also heavily dependent on state participation. A total of 27 SkillsUSA state associations canceled their 2020 state conferences and would not be participating at the national event. When surveyed, other states said they will base their decisions on whether or not their school systems reconvene this year. Travis went on to say that without robust state participation, holding the national conference was not a viable option.

The SkillsUSA Championships — the highlight of the NLSC — features more than 100 competitive events organized and operated by technical committees from various industries. Many of these industries are facing travel restrictions that could also limit their ability to participate, which was another factor in SkillsUSA’s decision.

Travis said she understands — and shares — the disappointment this decision will cause SkillsUSA’s students and stakeholders. She insists, however, this is only a temporary setback for the organization: “Our goal is to rise above this disappointment and remember who we are. We will survive this crisis and come through it stronger than ever.”

More specific plans will be revealed in the coming days. In the meantime, Travis encourages everyone to “stay safe, stay healthy and stay skilled.”

For the full official statement and a video message from SkillsUSA executive director Chelle Travis, go to