Just like our National Leadership and Skills Conference, the Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) gets bigger and better every year. The 2019 event boasted the highest participation numbers ever, with 557 attendees representing 29 states.
A five-day event held in Washington, D.C., WLTI offers advanced leadership and advocacy training for SkillsUSA students and advisors. Participants also get the chance to tour local monuments, lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, visit SkillsUSA’s headquarters and, perhaps most impressively, advocate for career and technical education to their elected representatives on Capitol Hill.
During the headquarters visit, students helped dedicate the new Champions Circle, the first addition to the property since 1976. Outgoing executive director Tim Lawrence was honored at the ceremony, and new executive director Chelle Travis was warmly welcomed.
Later in the week, red blazers converged on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol for a passionate rally for Perkins funding. From there, student delegations set off on a total of 135 visits to 22 senators and 113 representatives, the most ever during WLTI.
“I was the quiet kid in high school,” said Luke Stell, SkillsUSA New York historian, after his delegation’s visit with the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer. “Because of SkillsUSA, I jumped out of the box, and now I’m talking with senators. [SkillsUSA] changes you entirely. I’m not the quiet kid anymore, I’m out there, and I just want to show others that they can do that, too.”
For more WLTI coverage, visit: tinyurl.com/wlti2019.