Skills USA state conference ends its three-year stay in Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Skills USA state conference ends its three-year stay in Yakima

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YAKIMA, Wash. – The 2011 Skills USA Conference wrapped up Saturday with a closing ceremony inside the Yakima Convention Center with hundreds of high school and college students learning if they could move on to compete at the national level.

For the third year in a row, the event was held in Yakima and offered participants the chance to develop leadership skills in a variety of potential technical career fields. There were 76 different competitions with categories like residential wiring and cosmetology, to public speaking and interviewing.

Katie Grimnes of Aberdeen High School is the national president for the organization and attended this year's state conference. She says her fellow members are ready for the current job market.

"You need to be as prepared as you can be, especially in our economy," she said.  "You have to be as skilled in every area you can be."

Skills USA has 320,000 members across the country but only a few can compete at the highest level. The state conference awarded 103 gold medals and each of those recipients has the chance to travel to Kansas City, Missouri in June for the national convention. 

Next year the state conference will move to a new city that will play host for three years.