LINCOLN, NE – Northeast Community College students were honored during a special ceremony this week in the Nebraska State Capitol Rotunda here. They joined other students from across the state during the 20th Annual Commissioner’s Recognition for Student Excellence in Career Education.
The ceremony, sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Education, recognized college and high school students for outstanding achievement after each finished in top ten positions in their respective national competitions earlier this year.
Northeast students who competed in the National Skills USA competition were recognized and received certificates during the ceremony.
Dr. Deborah Frison, deputy commissioner of education for school improvement and support at the Nebraska Department of Education, said these are the best of the best students in agriculture, food and natural resources, business, marketing and management, communication and information systems, health sciences, human sciences and education, skilled labor, and family and consumer science.
“You are the future leaders of Nebraska and, therefore, this nation.”
Frison said career and technical education programs are ever changing to meet the country’s education and skilled needs. She said the programs in which these students have excelled have been designed to create an educational environment that combine core academics with real world applications.
“Career education touches the lives of over 15 million students and at its core. The mission is to prepare students for success in college and careers by helping them to develop the skills, technical knowledge, academic rigor and real world experience for high skill, high demand, highly successful careers and active participation in your communities,” she said.
Frison said the development of competence to produce a fair share of commodities and services is a major objective of any realistic educational system. She said so is the ability to develop and earn income.
“The sustainability of our Nebraska economy is linked to the strength and skills of our current and future workforce. Let our hope and anticipation encourage you to find various ways to transfer the knowledge and skills you have learned into careers that ensures Nebraska’s future and a thriving Nebraska economy and your full civic participation. You are not waiting for your future to make a positive difference…. you are already bursting onto the scene.”
Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley told the students that a declining birth rate and an aging population will have profound impacts on the country.
“To succeed in this global marketplace it’s going to require a workforce that is equipped with the finest education. We need to develop a really smart workforce. That is why it is so important to recognize and congratulate those who are already studying to meet the challenges of our times.”
The SkillsUSA Championships are competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. This is a multi-million-dollar event that occupies a space equivalent to 20 football fields. There were more than 6,000 contestants in 100 separate events. Over 1,700 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible.
Northeast students who placed at the national competition and were recognized at the Lincoln ceremony include Bo Jensen, an auto body technology student from Atkinson, who earned a bronze award in automotive refinishing technology, and information technology students Calvin Craig and Dylan Kudera, Norfolk, who earned bronze awards in the mobile robotics technology team competition.
Other Northeast students competing in the national competition were Morgan Barnes, Cody, who placed fifth in diesel technology; Greg Kosmacek, Stanton, ninth in computer programming; James Buresh, David City, 12th in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); and Bethany Nelson, Norfolk, 23rd in drafting.
Other students recognized during the Commissioner’s Recognition ceremony were in DECA, Educators Rising, FBLA, FFA and PBL chapters from across Nebraska.
In addition to postsecondary education, Foley said there is no better way to prepare students for success in Nebraska than through career-based organizations.
“Students in these organizations are a great representation of hope for the future.”