Welders will Compete at the Daytona 500 Speedweek for Spot on SkillsUSA WorldTeam

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Three of America’s best young welders compete to represent the United States during WorldSkills Competition in Germany

Thanks to Larsen Motorsports for this amazing opportunity to showcase some of the best technical talent by youth anywhere in the world at the Daytona 500 Speedweek.This is an important and dynamic event that’s a win-win for welding, CTE, SkillsUSA and AWS.

Three young welders advanced from the AWS/SkillsUSA U.S. Invitational Weld Trials, held at FABTECH 2012, and will compete at the SkillsUSA WorldTeam Weld Finals in February. The finalist will represent the U.S.A. in the WorldSkills Competition in Germany. The final trial competition will be held as part of Speedweek at the 2013 Daytona 500. The three finalists are Alex Pazkowski, Washtenaw Community College, Michigan; Andrew Cardin, Blackstone Valley Technical High School, Massachusetts; and, Tanner Tipsword, Eastern Wyoming College, Wyoming.

SkillsUSA, the organization that represents the United States in the WorldSkills Competition, will send 20 career and technical education students to Leipzig, Germany, in July 2013 to compete in the 42nd biennial international event. The students will test their skills against more than 1,000 students representing 52 countries/regions from around the world competing in 45 official skill competitions and one demonstration contest.

The welding trials to select the final member of the WorldTeam will be hosted by Larsen Motorsports at the Daytona International Speedway on the manufacturer’s midway outside of Turn 4 and will be open to the public. The competition will last four days and will test multiple welding processes. The welding requirements are so precise that a number of the welds will require x-ray reviews and hydrostatic pressure tests up to 1,000 pounds per square inch in order to verify the integrity and quality of the welds.

The welding finalist will be announced on Saturday, February 23rd. He will also receive a $40,000 scholarship from the American Welding Society Foundation.

Chris Larsen, owner of Larsen Motorsports, said, “This is a big deal! These competitors represent the absolute best America has, and at their age, they are extraordinary welders. All of us at Larsen Motorsports are very proud to be involved in helping these students elevate their career paths and spreading the message for SkillsUSA and the need to advance career and technical education (CTE).”

I was first introduced to SkillsUSA through our sponsor Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Aviation Maintenance Science Department,” said Elaine Larsen, co-founder of Larsen Motorsports. “Embry Riddle asked us to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, held in Kansas City, Missouri. When I saw the students that compete there, it gave me new hope for future generations of America.”

Tim Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA, said, “Thanks to Larsen Motorsports for this amazing opportunity to showcase some of the best technical talent by youth anywhere in the world at the Daytona 500 Speedweek. This is an important and dynamic event that’s a win-win for welding, CTE, SkillsUSA and AWS.”

Sponsors of the welding trials, held at FABTECH 2012, include – the American Welding Society; BESSEY Tools North America; BOSCH; EDCO Industries, LLC; Harris Products Group; Huntington Ingalls Industries; Hobart Brothers; Kimberly-Clark Professional; Wilson Industries; Lincoln Electric; AIDT Maritime Training Center; MARLO DRS TECHNOLOGIES, INC.; Miller Electric; SkillsUSA; Snap-on; Smith Equipment; Triangle Engineering, Inc.; VICTOR Technologies; WESCO; and, Welding Education and Consulting.

Every two years, hundreds of young people from 52 member countries/regions compete in the prestigious WorldSkills Competition. Member countries include: Japan, England, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Brazil and many others. Considered “the best of the best,” contestants compete for four days in 45 occupational skill areas from economic sectors including manufacturing, information technology, transportation, construction and services. Accompanied by their teachers, trainers and industry technical committee experts, these young people compete before the public in contests that are run and judged by industry using demanding international standards.

Alex Pazkowski, Andrew Cardin and Tanner Tipsword, are all members of SkillsUSA, the organization that represents the United States in the WorldSkills Competition. Competitors in WorldSkills must be under the age of 23. There will be a total of 20 members of WorldTeam. Other occupational areas in which the United States plans to compete include: Autobody Repair; Automobile Technology; Beauty Therapy; Bricklaying; Cabinetmaking; Car Painting; CNC Milling; CNC Turning; Cooking; Graphic Design; Hairdressing; IT Networks Systems Administration; Mechatronics (a two-person team contest); Plumbing & Heating; Print Media Technology; Restaurant Service; Refrigeration and Air Conditioning; and, Web Design.

SkillsUSA must raise the money for each competitor to train for and travel to the WorldSkills Competition and the cost is substantial. To donate funding or in-kind support, go to http://skillsusa.org/compete/worldteamdonate.shtml.

About Larsen Motorsports
Larsen Motorsports is a multi-team national professional racing organization specializing in turbine powered high performance vehicles based at the developing Embry Riddle Research and Technology Park in Daytona Beach, Florida. For more information, go to http://www.LMSJets.com.

About AWS
The American Welding Society (AWS) is a nonprofit organization with a goal to advance the science, technology and application of welding. The AWS supports welding education and technology development, while being the foremost authority in welding codes and inspection to ensure a strong, competitive and exciting way of life for all Americans. For more information, go to http://www.aws.org.

About SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA helps students discover and grow their career passions. As a nationwide partnership of students, instructors and industry working together, SkillsUSA works to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It helps every student excel. The nationwide career and technical education student organization annually serves more than 320,000 high school, college and postsecondary students—and their instructors—in technical, skilled, and service occupation instructional programs. Career and technical education is learning that works for America. SkillsUSA has the active support of more than 1,100 corporations, trade associations, business and labor unions at the national level. Over 10.5 million people have been annual members of SkillsUSA since its founding as the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America in 1965. SkillsUSA programs teach leadership, citizenship and character development to complement technical skill training. The organization emphasizes respect for the dignity of work, ethics, workmanship, scholarship and safety. For more information, go to http://www.skillsusa.org.

For more information about the competition, go to: http://www.worldskills.org or http://www.worldskillsleipzig2013.com.

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Thomas W. Holdsworth
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