Gulf Power president and CEO, Stan Connally, helps to announce the return of the SkillsUSA Florida Leadership and Skills conference to Pensacola State College during a press conference Tuesday morning. SkillsUSA and its multi-million dollar economic impact have committed to return to the area for three years beginning in 2018.
Gulf Power president and CEO, Stan Connally, helps to announce the return of the SkillsUSA Florida Leadership and Skills conference to Pensacola State College during a press conference Tuesday morning. SkillsUSA and its multi-million dollar economic impact have committed to return to the area for three years beginning in 2018.

Pensacola State College has won the bid to host the SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership & Skills Conference and Worlds of Possibilities Career Expo from 2018 through 2020.

PSC President Edward Meadows announced the college’s unanimous approval from the Florida SkillsUSA Board of Directors at a packed news conference in the PSC Board Room Feb. 2.

Addressing more than 35 representatives from businesses, media and education, President Meadows stressed the important role of community partners in securing the statewide event.

“At the urging of Stan Connally, president and CEO at Gulf Power, we formed an executive committee of community supporters last July and began the process of bringing the Skills State Conference back to Pensacola,” Meadows said.

PSC previously hosted the SkillsUSA State Conference and Worlds of Possibilities Career Expo from 2012 through 2014, drawing record numbers of attendees from across the state. PSC holds the title of hosting the most successful Florida SkillsUSA State Conference to date.

 Jennifer Grove, Community Development Manager at Gulf Power, helps to announce the return of the SkillsUSA Florida Leadership and Skills conference to Pensacola during a press conference Tuesday morning to the more than 35 business, education and community leaders gathered.
Jennifer Grove, Community Development Manager at Gulf Power, helps to announce the return of the SkillsUSA Florida Leadership and Skills conference to Pensacola during a press conference Tuesday morning to the more than 35 business, education and community leaders gathered.

The cumulative economic impact of those three state conferences was more than $10 million to the local community, according to President Meadows. He expressed confidence that the upcoming state conferences will attract more than 6,000 attendees and benefit the local economy even more.

Connally recounted that he first experienced SkillsUSA by participating in some of the student competitions on the PSC campus in 2012 and was impressed that the students were learning technical and employability skills.

“It is a testament to greater Pensacola to bring it (SkillsUSA State Conference) back,” Connally said. “The cradle to career view of education is important. It underscores this community’s commitment to young people.”

Connally added the return of the state conference will have a “reputational impact” on Pensacola.

“We’re going to stand up and show the rest of the state and, frankly, the rest of the country that this is a community that gets it when it comes to career and technical education,” he said.

In addition to Connally and Meadows, executive committee members working to secure the upcoming SkillsUSA State Conferences were Sandy Sansing of Sandy Sansing Dealerships; Debbie Calder, Navy Federal Credit Union; Richard McLeod, Lowe’s Home Improvement; Michael Murdoch, AppRiver; Brian Masterson, Jerry Pate Co.; Mark Faulkner, Baptist Health Care; and Randy Ramos, Global Business Solutions.

SkillsUSA, the largest student organization in the country, serves as a partnership between students, teachers and industry to ensure the United States has a skilled workforce.