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U.S. Army Mission Support Battalion connects with America’s people at SkillsUSA Louisville

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The U.S. Army has presented exhibits at SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference since 1999. The Army is one of many participants working to ensure America has a skilled workforce by ensuring students have the means and opportunity to succeed in fields requiring specialized training — from construction trades like carpentry to more technical fields like robotics.

This year’s conference took place at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville and showcased career and technical education programs to more than 18,000 students, teachers, and businesses. During the conference, more than 6,500 students, all winners of state contests, competed in about 100 trade, technical, and leadership events.

The U.S. Army Mission Support Battalion is the driving force in the U.S. Army’s participation, not only in SkillsUSA’s conference, but in numerous other trade shows, conventions and other large-scale events throughout the country every year.

Sergeant First Class Ty Ramon, an exhibitor with MSB’s National Conventions Division, said environments like SkillsUSA are a great way to showcase more of the Army’s skills.

“We can show a different side of the Army, what the Army actually looks like,” said Ramon. “We don’t just have combat, we don’t just have tanks. We have culinary, we have robotics; we have virtual reality.”

The center of the U.S. Army’s exhibit were interactive assets from the battalion, paired with members of 1st Infantry Division’s Culinary Arts Team and the Black Daggers — the U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s competitive parachute team.

The battalion hosted a pushup and pullup fitness challenge, a robot challenge, and a virtual skydiving experience that sent attendees on a jump with the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights. Outside the convention center, members of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s musical outreach program performed throughout the day.

The battalion’s support of the convention included not only an exhibit that helps connect America’s Army to America’s people, but also four SkillsUSA University topic-based workshops where students, teachers and businesses shared best practices and learned vital skills for today’s fast-moving technical world. The battalion also provided presentations at the joint delegate session, health services luncheon, and Meet the Employer events, as well as providing judges for the leadership development section of the annual SkillsUSA Championships.

Margaret Seo, a SkillsUSA attendee from Austin, Texas, explained her pullup experience at the fitness challenge booth.

“I thought 60 seconds would be easy, but after five seconds my hands were shaking,” Seo said. “I don’t know how you guys do it.”

Seo said she enjoyed the hands-on attractions of the booth.

“I think it’s one of the best booths,” she said. “Most of the other ones are just papers, but we actually got to interact.” n