For most of the local business leaders watching the 2023 SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Louisiana State Championships next week in Alexandria the event will be a tremendous showcase of area workforce talent. For Scott Laliberte it will be a trip down memory lane.
Laliberte, who is the President and Chief Operating Officer with MLJ Companies in Alexandria, which includes management of the Hotel Bentley as well as the Diamond Grill, earned medals in SkillsUSA competitions while a high school student in Massachusetts. “Scott represents the eventual goal of SkillsUSA,” said Dr. Damian Glover, Executive Director SkillsUSA Louisiana College Post-Secondary.
“I participated in SkillsUSA in 1997-2000,” Laliberte said. “I medaled at the state level in Opening Ceremony Presentation and in Extemporaneous Speaking.”
Laliberte said he uses the skills he honed in the SkillsUSA program every day in his business life. “Opening Ceremonies really taught me about how to build a solid team you could depend on. Extemporaneous speaking was really about preparing with limited time,” he said. “The program definitely taught me skills that are imperative to building a strong resume and career.”
Glover said SkillsUSA continues to offer the Opening Ceremonies and Extemporaneous Speaking programs in its 130 areas of competition, with each designed to contribute to workforce development in the state.
Competitions will be held at the Randolph Riverfront Center in downtown Alexandria as well as the CLTCC main campus building on Murray Street and at the Cleco Advanced Manufacturing Center on Second Street. The event is free and open to the public.
Glover said approximately 500 students representing each of the 12 Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) campuses are expected to compete in the annual competition. They will be competing for medals in more than 40 categories and roughly 30
business and industry partners will be taking part in the event as well. Gold medal winners at the state competition advance to compete at the national SkillsUSA championship.
SkillsUSA offers competitions in three broad categories – Leadership Development, Occupational, and Skilled and Technical Sciences. “The SkillsUSA program provides tremendous benefits to our cities, state, and nation. It is a great recruiting tool for K-12 schools as well as higher education,” Glover said. “When we look at achieving our state goals, such as improving our infrastructure and broadband expansion, a lot of these students will be the ones to fill those jobs.”
SkillsUSA is a national organization in which students, instructors and business and industry partners work together to produce a “highly skilled” American workforce. The 2022 National Leadership & Skills Conference featured more than 12,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from 650 national corporations, trade associations, businesses, and labor unions.
“We are incredibly proud of all of our SkillsUSA team members and excited they have the opportunity to showcase their skills at the state competition right here in beautiful Alexandria,” said CLTCC Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Sawtelle. “Historically, our students have done very well at the state competition and for the past two years we have had six CLTCC students win medals at the national competition. These awards are a wonderful recognition for our students, but the real winners will be the people here in Central Louisiana and the businesses that hire these outstanding students and the patients and customers that they serve.”
Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) is a two-year technical and community college offering associate degrees, technical diplomas, industry certificates, and customized training in more than 20 disciplines to support local workforce development and prepare students for high-demand and high- wage careers. CLTCC serves seven parishes in Central Louisiana through its five campuses and provides instruction in one state prison and one federal correctional institution. For more information, visit http://www.cltcc.edu.
Pictured: Alexandria’s Scott Laliberte, President & Chief Operating Officer with MLJ Companies was a SkillsUSA champion in high school. Next week he’s part of a team of business and industry leaders welcoming 500 to Alexandria for the 2023 SkillsUSA Post-Secondary State Competition. (Laliberte is pictured, second from the right)