Wilkes Community College (WCC) SkillsUSA students brought home one gold medal and seven finished in the top nine in the nation from the 56th Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), held virtually in Atlanta, Georgia June 14-24, 2021. WCC was represented by nine student competitors and seven advisors. The students qualified to participate in the national competition by winning first place gold medals in April at the statewide competition held virtually in Greensboro, N.C.
More than 25,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses, and labor unions participated during the event. The highlight event of the conference was the annual SkillsUSA Championships held on June 14-18, which included 106 hands-on skill and leadership competitions held virtually at each qualifying college or high school location across the USA and broadcast via the web back to the conference site.
Among the more than 8,000 student competitors, four of the nine WCC students showcasing their knowledge and skills placed in the top five positions, seven in the top ten, and all students placing in the top 19 in the country.
Wilkes Community College and Career & College Promise (CCP) students competed and finished in the following areas:
- Architectural Drafting
- Brian Tyler – 5th place
- Automotive Refinishing Technology
- Michael Phillips– 9th place
- Collision Repair Technology
- Colt Cline – 8th place
- Diesel Equipment Technology (CCP) Wilkes Early College High School
- Raul Limon -19th place
- Diesel Equipment Technology (College)
- Clint Jones – 13th place
- Jonathan Latos– 5th place
- Pin Design
- Bailey Hutchens– 1st place Gold
- Power Equipment (CCP) West Wilkes High School
- Matthew Blankenship– 7th place
- Power Equipment (College)
- Tyler Reavis– 5th place
“Being held completely virtual, the 2021 SkillsUSA national competition was a life-changing event for everyone. I would like to thank all of those who stepped outside of the box to compete in the virtual environment due to Covid 19,” said Hardin Kennedy, WCC SkillsUSA advisor and Transportation Technology chairperson. “They are recognized as the best of the very best students in the country – they are champions!” Kennedy added, “This success doesn’t come easily; it requires vigorous hard work and dedication.”
Beyond the competitions, students enjoy networking and professional development opportunities that can help set the path for their post-college careers. Hundreds of the country’s leading employers attend the national conference to scout for new talent to join their companies.
With our college’s consistent presence and continued top ranking at the national conferences, Wilkes Community College is recognized as a national leader in post-secondary and secondary education.
“I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for their support of our SkillsUSA competitors this year. It has been a challenge with the contests being held virtually; however, with outstanding help from our IT department and the high level of commitment of our advisors, we have made it through another great conference,” said Jamie Reavis Co-Advisor of WCC SkillsUSA.
The college would like to thank the following sponsors: WCC faculty and staff, Adams Old Castle – Williams Roberts, Appalachian Cabinets, ARC 3 Welding Supply, Blevins Building Supply, Blue Ridge Tractor, 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, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, McNeill Nissan, 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., and Window World, Inc.
Contributions to the WCC Annual Fund-SkillsUSA may be sent to WCC Foundation/Annual Fund, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697.
About WCC Skills USA Club
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. 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 February 26, 2020. 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. 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. The 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 hardin.kennedy@ wilkescc.edu.