Over 1,250 high school students, advisors, and industry partners attended this year’s rally held on the Wilkes Community College campus, Monday, February 24, 2020. This year’s event was the largest in our history of hosting the regional rally,” says Hardin Kennedy, SkillsUSA advisor/event coordinator, with over 650 students competing in the skills contests.”

There were 91 contests offered at the WCC competition. High schools from Alexander, Alleghany, Avery, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Montgomery, Surry, Union, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yadkin counties, as well as the Home School Association of North Carolina and Christian schools participated in this event.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It helps students excel in their respective trade areas. SkillsUSA provides an opportunity for students to showcase the skills they received at their educational institution and see how their education compares to other schools in our state and nation. 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.

In addition to the competition, students also explored career opportunities with the Career Showcase segment of the event. This aspect is designed to increase student awareness of the programs offered at Wilkes Community College and to encourage students to take advantage of Career & College Promise high school course offerings that will lead to college certificates and degrees. This year WCC had 73 Career and College Promise students that competed.

Students not involved in competitions were able to meet with WCC representatives and tour four areas of the college that focus on direct classroom-to-careers programs. They had the opportunity to ask questions and see demonstrations as they visited various areas on campus.

Wilkes Community College is proud to host the SkillsUSA Northwest Region Rally and Career Showcase each year and we appreciate the community support and the help we receive from WCC’s SkillsUSA club. The college would like to recognize and thank the following sponsors: WCC faculty and staff, Adams Old Castle – Williams Roberts, Appalachian Cabinets, Blevins Building Supply, Blue Ridge Tractor, McNeill Nissan, Flowers Auto Parts, HD Supply, High Country Paint, Home Builders Association of Wilkes and Yadkin, Impact Collision, John Deere with James River Equipment, Kris Dell Applied Software, L & A Emergency, Inc., Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse, ARC 3 Welding Supply, Mike’s Body Shop, Millers Creek

Volunteer Fire Department, North Carolina Association of Electrical Contractors, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Pardue’s Welding, Payne Power Equipment, Pine Hall Brick, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of NC, Inc., Snap-on Tools, Specialty Fabricators, Statesville Brick, The Welding Company, Triad Freightliner, Western Carolina Electric, Weyerhaeuser, Yadkin Well Company, Inc. Window World, Inc., sponsored the building construction luncheon and made a donation.

Additional monetary donations were given by Carolina West Wireless, Duke Energy, Town of North Wilkesboro, Window World, Inc., Keith Elmore, Arnold & Becky Lakey, Joe Mashburn, Bobby & Susan Phillips, Kathie Rider, and Sylvia Robinson.

For more information about the SkillsUSA program, contact Hardin Kennedy at 336-838-6219 or hckennedy819@wilkescc.edu. To learn about the college-to-career programs, contact WCC Student Services at 336-838-6135.

l-r: WCC Foundation Executive Director, Allison Phillips; Window World VP of Franchise Relations & Engagement, Mark Bumgarner; Window World Chairman and CEO, Tammy Whitworth; and WCC SkillsUSA Advisor/Event Coordinator, Hardin Kennedy

l-r: WCC Foundation Executive Director Allison Phillips; Town of North Wilkesboro Commissioner, Angela Day; and WCC SkillsUSA Advisor/Event Coordinator, Hardin Kennedy

l-r: WCC President, Dr. Jeff Cox; CWW Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, Jackie Mallory; and WCC SkillsUSA Advisor/Event Coordinator, Hardin Kennedy