WILKESBORO — Nearly 400 high school students participated in the Region 7 SkillsUSA Conference and Career Showcase hosted at Wilkes Community College on Feb. 29. This annual educational and professional development activity is open to all SkillsUSA members and advisors, Career and Technical Education (CTE) students, business and industry partners and educational partners.
“This year’s event was the largest in our history of hosting the regional gathering,” says Hardin Kennedy, SkillsUSA college advisor. “We had over 800 high school participants in this year’s Conference and Career Showcase. Of those we had 436 high school student competitors that took part in the event. There were over 75 business and industry representatives on site to participate in or view the contests. Additionally, we had elected officials from the local, regional and state level here to see the event. We were blown away by the interest expressed in this year’s event. And, we feel like things will continue to grow from this point forward as information about our event continues to spread throughout the region.”
There were 67 contests offered at the WCC competition. Region 7 counties that participated in this competition were Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davie, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin, as well as the Home School Association of North Carolina and Christian schools. This year the event also welcomed participants from Catawba and Cleveland counties.
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 2015, more than 700 high school students from the region participated in the Region 7 SkillsUSA Conference. A number of these students who participated in last year’s SkillsUSA competition went on to earn top state and national awards. Last year’s event drew about 75 corporate sponsors.
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 and College Promise high school course offerings that will lead to college certificates and degrees. Students not involved in competitions were able to meet with WCC representatives and tour four different areas of the college focused on careers. They had the opportunity to ask questions and see demonstrations as they visited various areas on campus.
Wilkes Community College was proud to host the Region 7 SkillsUSA Conference and Career Showcase and appreciates the community support that goes into this annual event and the help from WCC’s SkillsUSA club. The college thanked the following sponsors: WCC faculty and staff, Adams Oldcastle, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone Auto Parts, Blevins Building Supply, Blue Ridge Tractor, Bricksmix, Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club, Helen Chapman, Duke Energy, Colors Edge, Empire Chevrolet, Empire Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Empire Nissan, Home Builders Association of Wilkes and Yadkin, Hughes Supply, Impact Collision, Learning Labs Inc., Legion Supply, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, Mike’s Body Shop, Millers Creek Fire Department, North Carolina Association of Electrical Contractors, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Anne Pardue, Pardue’s Welding, Pine Hall Brick, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Contractors of N.C. Inc., The Record of Wilkes, Sylvia D. Robinson, Snap-on, Specialty Fabricators, Statesville Brick, The Welding Company, Tractor Supply Company of Wilkesboro, Western Carolina Electric, Weyerhaeuser, Wilkes County Sheriff’s Department, Wilkesboro Fire Department, Window World Inc., Yadkin Valley Bank and Yadkin Well Company Inc.
For more information about the SkillsUSA program, contact Hardin Kennedy at 336-838-6219 or [email protected]
Wilkes Community College, a member of the North Carolina Community College System, is a public, two-year, open-door institution serving the people of Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties and beyond. Established in 1965, WCC continues to build on a strong history of meeting the educational needs and cultural interests of our students, community and workforce. WCC prepares learners for success in a dynamic world.