Kansas City to host SkillsUSA National Convention one last time

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thousands of students from across the country will arrive in Kansas City Monday to begin a week-long skills competition. This is the final year Kansas City will host the SkillsUSA National Convention. The competition has outgrown Bartle Hall.

During the 21 years SkillsUSA has been in Kansas City, they’ve almost doubled the number of competitions and the number of competitors taking part.

Six thousand students — all state champions in their particular field — participate in the convention.

After winning a state title in such fields as Automotive Repair, Masonry, Cabinet Making, Welding, Plumbing and Robotics, the students test their skills against the best of the best. But next year, all these students will go to Louisville, Kentucky.

Local businesses and hotels will feel the impact of the move since this convention has an annual economic impact of around $16 million.

Organizers say they’ve loved their time in Kansas City, but the competitions are too spread out.

“Right now we’re here, beautiful Bartle Hall, we’re at the Conference Center, Municipal, American Royal, so it means a lot of people who come to visit don’t necessarily get to see everything, plus the fact it does mean we’re a little constrained. This space has become a little too tight,” said Tom Holdsworth, SkillsUSA associate executive director. “We’re also in 35 hotels all the way to Overland Park, so we have students taking school buses into town and we’re just spread out, and we’re no longer able to hold our competitions in a single location, which is the way we prefer to do it.”

If you drive downtown, prepare for a lot of street closures all week because of the convention. Students arrive on Monday. Competitions take place Wednesday and Thursday.




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