Kennedy Kirkland of Grant, AL recently participated in the National SkillsUSA Championships. This event, by invitation only, was for first place state medalists in 102 competition areas for career and technical students. It is the largest skill competition in the world.
Kennedy was a competitor in the Esthetics competition and won Gold. The SkillsUSA Championships, held in Louisville, Ky., took place June 27-28, 2018, as part of the SkillsUSA 54th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of career and technical education students. During the week, more than 6,300 outstanding career and technical education students competed hands-on in 102 different trade, technical and leadership fields.
Kennedy is in enrolled at Northeast Alabama Community College and Majoring in Salon and Spa Management. In December, she will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Salon Management. “Kennedy is an outstanding student, in all areas of her field, she continues to amaze me each day with her unique abilities with people and her growing skill level,” says Mrs. Regina Gilliland, her advisor. “She and her model Ms. Emily Young are true champions dedicated to excellence in their trade and their leadership skills.”
During the national competition, Kennedy and other state winners worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in Esthetics, which included a written content knowledge exam, a SkillsUSA knowledge exam, along with skilled areas of makeup application, skincare and Fantasy Makeup Applications. After months of practicing and studying Kennedy proved that she had the drive to win. Competition at the National Level is rigorous, as every competitor is a Gold winner of their state, and they all have the dream of winning. Kennedy knew she would have to be “game face” ready and proved that she is a true champion by bringing home the Gold.
When asked to describe her experiences with SkillsUSA and the competitions, Kennedy stated, “Winning Gold in Esthetics has made me realize how much Northeast Alabama Community College’s Salon Institute has offered to me and others. SkillsUSA’s definition of leadership is that ‘A leader influences the hearts, minds, and actions of others,’ and I can honestly say my advisors Mrs. Regina Gilliland and Mrs. Julise Clement work with all of the students and influence us in positive ways!”
She explained that the hardest part of the contest for her was the Oral Presentation, where she had to describe her theme for her fantasy makeup to the judges and why she chose it. Kennedy said, “I’m a hands-on person and standing in front of people and basically giving a speech is difficult for me. After practicing over and over, I can honestly say, I have grown personally and professionally from this experience. I actually scored a 100% on my oral assessment section of the contest. As students at Northeast Alabama Community College our experiences through our local chapter of SkillsUSA has made a difference in all areas of our trade, including workplace skills, professional skills and technical skills.”
SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 360,000-member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to: www.SkillsUSA.org.
For additional information about the NACC Salon Institute or any of the career technical programs offered at NACC, visit www.nacc.edu or download our free App at the App Store or Google Play Store. Follow NACC on social media.