Students from Utah high schools and college technical education programs were recently presented with some of the nation's highest awards at the SkillsUSA national leadership conference in Kansas City, Mo.
Industry leaders representing more than 1,000 businesses, corporations, trade associations and unions recognized the students for excellence in 80 hands-on occupational and leadership contests.
The contests included robotics, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking.
Acacia Davis, a student at College of Eastern Utah, received a bronze medal in prepared speech category, confirmed program representatives.
Davis is a resident of Carbon County and received one of 31 medals awarded to Utah students at the national competition.
In order to qualify for the event, participants had to compete in state and local contests.
The students who won gold medals at the state level advanced to the national competition.
"Over 4,700 students from every state in the nation came to compete in the SkillsUSA Championship this week," said Tim Lawrence, event director.
Studies show 75 percent of participants go on to higher education and 40 percent are or will attend college while working, added Lawrence.
Of the participants who graduated in 2005, 76 percent are expected to work in the field for which they trained.
"They're the future employees industry wants to hire and promote," said Lawrence.
In addition to the medals, many recipients also receive prizes, including tools of their trade and scholarships to further educations and careers.
Industry support for the competition was valued at more then $25 million in donated time, equipment, cash and materials.
The competitions were run and judged by experts using industry standards.