Wilkes Community College SkillsUSA students brought home two gold and three bronze medals from the 2013 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City, Mo., on June 25-28.
WCC was represented by 38 students and 15 advisors. Out of 10,000 student competitors from across the nation, 33 of the 38 WCC students placed in the top 15 positions, with 21 of those placing in the top five.
Tuesday, students participated in a contest orientation. Students competed vigorously Tuesday through Friday, showcasing their knowledge and skills in their selected career fields, a WCC spokesman said.
Mike Rowe, creator and executive producer of Discovery Channel’s Emmy-nominated series “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe,” provided the keynote speech for the opening ceremony.
“Mike Rowe talked about how skilled trade jobs are being viewed as dirty jobs. In fact, he covers many skilled trade jobs on his television series,” said Hardin Kennedy, WCC SkillsUSA advisor. “But, Rowe went on to explain that skilled trade jobs are where this country is headed. In fact, our country is suffering a major and widening skills gap. Community and technical colleges are helping to alleviate that skills gap in a way that four-year colleges and universities cannot. We are preparing students for jobs that are readily available to new graduates. These are the jobs of our future.”
“Organizations like SkillsUSA impact the country and our workforce in a huge way,” said Rowe. “These kids are incredible. Their work ethic and their creativity need to be encouraged in every way. It’s an honor to be with them.”
“Success is a sweet thing, but it can’t be achieved without a lot of hard work and dedication,” said Kennedy. “That is exactly what the WCC SkillsUSA students bring to the table each day of their education. And it is that hard work and dedication that earned them a spot on the national stage in Kansas City. Our students competed in 22 different contests, and their performance proves that WCC is a national leader in education and workforce development, thanks to its hardworking students, faculty, staff and community support.”
Students competed and finished in the following areas: Brittany Joyce—medical math, first place (gold); Daniel Hudson—residential systems installation and maintenance, first place (gold); Julia Dishman and Rochella Banks—mobile robotic technology team, third place (bronze); Timothy Blackburn—practical nursing, third place (bronze); Tyler Lambert and Andrew Myers—3D visualization and animation team, sixth place; Isaiah Nichols—architectural drafting, fifth place; Toby Evans—collision repair technology, 20th place; Wayne Absher, Sabrina Grayson, Julian Stanford—community service team, fifth place; Gary Dillard—computer maintenance technology, 19th place; Jonah Severt (Career and College Promise from North Wilkes High School)—diesel equipment technology, 11th place; Delaney Fox, Paula Stacey, Linda Walker—engineering technology design team, fourth place; Kayla Church, Melissa Money, Melissa Roten, Florina Vaughn—health knowledge bowl team, fourth place; Sara Smith—industrial motor control, 21st place; Jesse Stinson—internet working, 16th place; Shirley Brown—medical assisting, fifth place; Rebecca Lane—medical terminology, 11th place; Derek Horton—power equipment technology, 13th place; Nathan Bryan, Matthew Jordan, Dylan Mathis, Jeremy Wishon—teamworks team, fourth place; John Welborn—technical drafting, 23rd place; Austin Ashley, Adam Ortiz, Daniel Patrick (C&CP from West Wilkes High School)—welding fabrication team, 13th place; Bryan Gantt, Danny Kerr, Aunté Mask—welding fabrication team, 15th place; and Zacharie Carpenter—job skill demonstration open, 12th place.
A new component at this year’s competition was the skill point certificate. This recognizes SkillsUSA members achieving national industry-defined scores at the national competition. The award is the pinnacle achievement in the Work Force Ready System for SkillsUSA students. To earn the certificate, students participated in authentic assessments demonstrating in real time their knowledge and hands-on abilities. All 38 competitors from Wilkes Community College earned skill point certificates.
“What that says is that all of our students demonstrated expertise in their career field,” explained Kennedy. “Not everyone can come home with a gold, silver or bronze medal. Those are given to the best of the best. However, the skill point certificate proves that a student has mastered his or her trade and is ready to enter and succeed in industry.”
“A big thanks goes to our supporters: Blue Ridge Tractor, Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club, Cam Finley, Gozelle Ham, Interflex Group, Kulynych Family Foundation 1 Inc., Anne Pardue, Joseph Sakowski, Larry D. Stone, Charles Vaughn and Window World Inc.,” he said. “We also thank contributors to the WCC Annual Fund. You made it possible for our students to shine and to experience this amazing career-building opportunity. We also thank the WCC faculty and staff for their efforts in assisting the students to excel and achieve their educational goals.”
Contributions to the WCC Annual Fund-SkillsUSA may be sent to WCC Endowment Corporation/Annual Fund, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697.
About WCC SkillsUSA Club
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. It helps each student excel. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.
While the highlights of the club’s year are the state and national competitions, students work year-round to prepare for competition and to promote SkillsUSA. Most recently, WCC hosted the Region 7 SkillsUSA Conference and Career Showcase on Feb. 24, 2012. This annual educational and professional development activity is open to all SkillsUSA members and advisors, high school Career and Technical Education students, business and industry partners and educational partners. The event included SkillsUSA competitions and the opportunity for high school students to explore the many career training opportunities available to them at WCC.
In 2005, Transportation Technology Chairperson Hardin Kennedy organized and developed the Wilkes Community College SkillsUSA Club. In 2006, Wilkes Community College was represented at the state and national competition in its first year of competing with 12 students from various engineering technology disciplines, displaying their knowledge and skills. Each year, participation in the SkillsUSA Club grows as students and faculty learn the benefits of being involved.
This active club operates with significant support from local individuals, businesses and organizations. That assistance helps to offset the cost of hosting events and traveling to competitions. For more information about supporting SkillsUSA, contact Hardin Kennedy at 336-838-6219 or email@example.com.