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Penske Truck Leasing Supports Skilled Trades at 2024 SkillsUSA National Conference

For the tenth straight year, Penske Truck Leasing will be participating in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) to be held in Atlanta, GA, on June 24 through June 28.

SkillsUSA is a national organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations. As part of the national conference, more than 5,000 students who were state champions participate in hands-on competitions in more than 100 trade, technical and leadership fields.

Penske will be connecting with aspiring technicians at the Conference to reinforce the importance of their work to the industry and to promote career opportunities that are available with the company. This year will mark Penske’s third consecutive year as an official sponsor. Leading up to the national conference in June, SkillsUSA is running state-level competitions through the month of April that will determine which students will move on to compete in Atlanta this summer.

Last year, only five states participated in Penske-affiliated contests. The interest has grown since. “We’ve expanded our footprint from five states we were involved in last year to twenty this year,” said Greg Klever, Manager of Technical Schools and Partnership Programs. Of the twenty participating states, only Ohio’s competition will be completely run by Penske. “What that means for the Ohio competition is that we’re in charge of all the coordination, like figuring out which industry partners will run which stations,” said Klever. “In the other nineteen states, there’s an industry partner who will help coordinate the competitions and ask [Penske] if we’re available to run any of the stations in those states.” According to Klever, anywhere from eight to ninety students will participate in each state competition.

The competitions themselves are wide-ranging and technical. "Penske has fourteen disciplines that students are tested on ranging from electrical systems and transmissions, to hydraulics, vehicle inspections and precision measurements,” said Klever. “We’re doing a lot of DOT [Department of Transportation] stations this year. The stations vary from state to state dependent on which partner programs are available to assist. From there, those partners make up the tests, the scoring, the judging and whatever else is needed.”

Andy Boff, Director of Maintenance Initiatives for Penske, is also based in Ohio and believes in the importance of building strong relationships with partner programs. “These partnerships are so crucial because they show that the skilled trades are alive and well, and there’s a lot of opportunities for students to grow, for students to be excited about what their future can look like in a skilled trade. From the industry side, it allows us to really engage and get a lot of good feedback from the students on what they’re looking for from employers and what they’re expecting out of a career on the other side of it as well.”

Penske will be running the Ohio competition for the second straight year. “Last year was the first year we were heavily involved in the judging, and we had nineteen students who took part in the competition for the state of Ohio,” said Boff. “This year there are thirty-nine, so it’s doubled in size. We’ve had meetings with instructors from across the state to drive more engagement, help with that partnership between industry and school, and drive some more excitement around what from an industry standpoint we can help and support.” Boff thinks that excitement about skilled trades has only grown since 2023. “I think [that interest] has really helped us grow the diesel competition for the state of Ohio.”

Boff believes that an event like SkillsUSA provides young, aspiring technicians who are looking to break into the industry insight into what a career in the field can look like. “It gives them a lot of great face-to-face exposure to industry partners that can help drive their career and help them grow in the future. It just creates that enthusiasm and buzz between student and industry.”

For information on diesel technician job openings and other career opportunities with Penske, visit

By: "Move Ahead" Staff