Central Carolina students compete in SkillsUSA state event

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SANFORD — Three Central Carolina Community College students took top state honors in April and qualified for the national competition organized by SkillsUSA, an organization developing career and technical skills for students in middle school, high school and college.

Finishing first in their competitions at the SkillsUSA North Carolina Championships were Trevor Brown in motorcycle service technology, James Culbreth in welding, and Zane Walker in internetworking. All three are now eligible to compete at the SkillsUSA Championships scheduled for late June in Louisville, Kentucky.

During SkillsUSA competitions, students work against the clock and each other, proving expertise in their chosen occupations. All contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations, and technical experts — using test competencies set by industry.

The state competition in Greensboro drew more than 2,500 members to face off in about 120 hands-on trade, technical, and leadership events. When competition kicks off in Louisville, more than 7,000 students from around the nation will be participating in about 100 contests.

Other CCCC students finished among the top five in their state competitions: Kevin Alderson was second in motorcycle service technology, Elisabeth Finch fourth in welding, Dazell Green third in culinary arts, Jordan Norris second in internetworking, Justin Schrader third in internetworking, Bryan Tran fifth in CNC milling specialist, and the team of Nathan Lamont and Isley Reece second in additive manufacturing.

CCCC also received chapter awards for total participation, having more than 100 overall chapter members and experiencing significant growth.

It was a welcome, but fairly unexpected accomplishment for CCCC in its first year with a SkillsUSA chapter. Patrick Kelly, who serves as assistant director for Student Outreach and Work Based Learning for the college and campus adviser for SkillsUSA, says students have attended competitions in the past on their own. But the college established its first chapter just last fall.

“Our expectations were exceeded in two ways — in the number of students who wanted to go and compete and in the number of top finishes,” said Kelly, who organized a team of about 30 students.

As the local chapter continues to develop, Kelly expects to expand beyond career and technical competitions into community service. But competitions will remain the core of SkillsUSA because they foster the technical ability and personal skills needed to succeed in the workplace. “It gives students a chance to showcase their talents,” Kelly says. “And it gets them in front of employers at these competitions.”

SkillsUSA serves more than 340,000 students and advisers nationally each year with the goal of developing world-class workers, leaders, and responsible citizens. The organization lists more than 18,000 local chapters and 52 state and territorial associations.

To learn more about Central Carolina Community College, visit www.cccc.edu.

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