Northwest students top performers at SkillsUSA national competition

Louisville, Ky.—Dozens of Northwest students competed in the 2015 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in late June. In total, more than 13,000 high school and college level students from all states and four U.S. territories participated in more than 90 leadership and skills competitions at the national event ranging from Aviation Maintenance Technology to Culinary Arts, Marine Service Technology to Welding Fabrication. Winners of state and territorial competitions attended the national contest in Louisville.

In the automotive realm, four contests were held at the national level: Automotive Refinishing Technology, Automotive Service Technology, Collision Repair Technology, and Diesel Equipment Technology (there was also a Motorcycle Service Technology staged at national). As in most categories of the competition, there are separate contests for high school and post-secondary students enrolled in automotive programs.

Top Northwest performers at SkillsUSA national were Chase Bryant from Dennis Technical Education Center in Boise, Idaho, silver medalist in Automotive Refinishing Technology/post-secondary; Jonathan Bell of Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Wash., gold medal winner in Automotive Service Technology/high school; and Tommy Hoheisel from Portland Community College/Rock Creek, gold medalist in Diesel Equipment Technology.

SkillsUSA (once known as VICA) serves more than 300,000 students in leadership and skills programs, with more than 14,500 instructors and administrators serving as professional members. Thousands of industry representatives, including many in the automotive field, are involved on the local chapter level, as well as serving as state and national contest judges. The partnership of industry, teachers, and students helps to ensure a skilled workforce in the U.S. and assists students in various leadership and communication skills.

Each state and territory within SkillsUSA has at least one coordinator, plus a group of educators and industry representatives to provide Career & Technical Education (CTE) program support.

Just after the conclusion of the national contest, elected national student officers of SkillsUSA attended a June 30 CTE conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., coordinated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Division of Academic and Technical Education. First Lady Michelle Obama headlined the conference, which followed an Executive Order expanding the U.S. Presidential Scholars program to establish a new category of outstanding scholars in CTE.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.