Hundreds of  high school students, advisors, industry partners, and elected officials attended this year’s rally held on the Wilkes Community College campus, Monday, February 28, 2022. “This year’s event was the largest in our history of hosting the regional rally,” says Hardin Kennedy, SkillsUSA advisor/event coordinator, “with over 450 students competing in the skills contests.”

There were over 75 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 65 Career and College Promise students that competed with 30 of these placing in the top five.

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 an 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 appreciates the community support and help  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, 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., Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, ARC 3 Welding Supply, Mike’s Body Shop, Millers Creek and Wilkesboro

Volunteer Fire Departments, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, 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, and Yadkin Well Company, Inc. Window World, Inc. sponsored the building construction luncheon and made a donation.

Additional monetary donations were given by Duke Energy, Town of North Wilkesboro, NC Community Colleges Foundation, Inc., Window World, Inc., Wilkes County Home Builders Association, Evan and Victoria Handy, George and Nancy Koen, Arnold and Becky Lakey, Ann Parsons, and Mac and Lisa Warren.

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

l-r: WCC Foundation Executive Director, Allison Phillips; WCC SkillsUSA Advisor/Event Coordinator, Hardin Kennedy; WCC Executive Director-Strategy, Jody Call; WCC Dean of Applied Career Technologies, Ronald Dollyhite; WCC Director of Alleghany Center, Wanda Beck; David Mastin, Director of Franchise Advancement | Window World, Inc.; WCC VP of Instruction, Dr. Yolanda Wilson; WCC Dean of Business and Public Service Technologies, Kristen Macemore; WCC Director of Curriculum & Student Services, Ashe Campus, Kendra Perkins; and WCC Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Natasha Harris.

l-r: WCC SkillsUSA Advisor/Event Coordinator, Hardin Kennedy; Senator Deanna Ballard; and WCC President, Dr. Jeff Cox.