SkillsUSA: More Than Meets the Eye

At the Board of Trustees’ August meeting we were pleased to welcome and celebrate the accomplishments of our students and staff advisors who competed in the National SkillsUSA Conference held in Louisville, KY this summer. Students from our Outdoor Power Equipment, Power Sports, and Electronics programs participated in this year’s competition.

The 30 competitors from Wisconsin’s technical colleges brought home a total of four medals…and three of them came home to FVTC!

The SkillsUSA winners (front row, L to R): Corey Meyer, Cody Leahy, and Donaven Phillips and (back row faculty, L to R): Jerry Fischer, Ken Holmes, and Dale Drees

Cody Leahy, Grand Chute

  • Gold medal in Electronics Technology with the highest point total ever achieved in the history of this competition!
  • Employed at Miller Electric
  • Advisor is Ken Holmes

Donaven Phillips, Appleton

  • Silver medal in Power Equipment Technology.
  • Employed at Badger State Go-Cart Track
  • Advisor is Dale Drees

Corey Meyer, Fond du Lac

  • Bronze medal in Motorcycle Service Technology.
  • Employed at Pro MotorSports
  • Advisor is Jerry Fischer

The three students also received thousands of dollars in prizes from the industry sponsors of each contest. And Corey’s third place finish came with a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle for use in the College’s training programs, which was on display in the Board Room that evening!

A new Harley-Davidson motorcycle is turning heads on campus thanks to our SkillsUSA winners.

Clearly our students had mastered outstanding technical skills and exhibited their capabilities in an admirable fashion. But what struck me in listening to these individuals was that they gained so much more – being highly engaged, building confidence, developing a sense of pride, and understanding the importance of professionalism. These are the sort of “soft,” hard-to-teach skills and attributes that we are challenged with getting our students to achieve.

There is an opportunity for so many more of our technical programs to engage with SkillsUSA. When it comes to making a difference with student engagement, retention, building confidence, and developing the “soft skills” that employers always talk about, it seems to me that SkillsUSA is more than meets the eye and should be given consideration as a vehicle for accomplishing all of these goals. Similarly, DECA offers great opportunities for our business students and the American Culinary Federation competitions stand out in my mind as great experiences for culinary and hospitality students. If you’re interested in learning more about supporting or engaging students with SkillsUSA, I’m sure that Dale Drees from our staff would be more than happy to talk with you. Congratulations to all of our outstanding student competitors of last year!

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