Chandler K., SkillsUSA and WorldSkills

Former Student - Center for Applied Technology North

CTE Student Profile: Chandler K - Graphic Communications (PrintED)

Chandler Kerr is a two-time SkillsUSA national gold medal winner and even represented the United States at the 2017 Worldskills Print Media Technology competition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates! Read more to learn how Chandler achieved such success!

How does your CTE Program prepare you for college and careers?

SkillsUSA helps students succeed in their education and become leaders in the workforce by developing personal, workplace and technical skills, all of which are grounded in academics. What this means is  not only does SkillsUSA teach you the basic skills you need to work tools and machines, but skills to work with people.

How do your SkillsUSA courses differ from your regular academic courses?

In traditional high school classes, you learn the theory of math and science but in some instances, you lack that important application that SkillsUSA courses provide. It's one thing to understand geometry and be able to put it on paper, but to sit down and be able to build something, you need to be able to apply your math skills to accurately measure and calculate all the pieces you need. SkillsUSA courses have a very 'hands-on' approach in how they teach, meaning that you learn the math and science behind something, then you physically do it.

What academic subjects are important to your success in your CTE Program?

Math and science are two of the main academic subjects that are vitally important for student success, no matter what vocation they choose. Most subjects will help, but those two are the top of the list because they are so universally necessary for everything from baking to welding.

What is the most exciting thing you've done as part of SkillsUSA?

I'd have to say being a part of the competitions that SkillsUSA sponsors. I started competing in 2013 and it has been more incredible each year that I've participated. It has taught me to work hard, to not give up, even when I lose, and most importantly that anyone can be a champion. Now I'm a living example of that by participating in WorldSkills and representing the United States at the highest level of competition.

Explain how it is possible to fit all your classes and CTE into your schedule?

This is something where everyone has a different opinion. For me, I started out ahead with my academic classes; I was already halfway done my required math credits by the time I reached high school. I was actually going to be part of the International Baccalaureate Program (a very rigorous program with very intelligent and talented individuals) at my traditional high school, but then I found out about CAT North, my technical school, and SkillsUSA and was extremely interested. I knew I could only do one or the other, so I had to make a choice, and I chose CAT North, and I don't regret it!  I'm not saying CTE is for everyone, I'm saying that it was for me. I had my schedule worked out that I would be able to take all my required classes, as well as some electives, and still have room for CAT North.

What would you tell an incoming freshman about CTE and SkillsUSA?

SkillsUSA is an incredible resource and opportunity that you won't really learn to appreciate until you're looking at it from behind. I had no idea what I was getting into when I first joined, and I don't regret it at all. They not only teach you a skilled trade that makes you more valuable, they also make you into a worker with personal skills that help you become a world-class worker and leader.