Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) students recently participated in the SkillsUSA Championships. The invitation-only event was for first place state medalists in 102 competition areas for career and technical students. It is the largest skill competition in the world.

SkillsUSA Championships, held in Louisville, Kentucky, took place June 26-27, as part of the SkillsUSA 55th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of career and technical education students. During the week, more than 6,400 outstanding career and technical education students, all state contest winners, competed hands-on in 103 different trade, technical and leadership fields.

During the national competitions, competitors worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations like electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. All contests were run with the help of industry, trade associations, and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry. In addition, leadership contestants demonstrated their skills, which included extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.

John Headrick and Logan Tidwell represented the Machine Tool Technology program in the CNC Milling & CNC Turning competitions. Both finished sixth in the nation. The purpose of these contests is to evaluate each contestant’s preparation for employment in Computer Numeric Control milling and turning. The contest assessed the ability to write CNC programs, interpret prints (including GD&T), as well as inspection and precision measurement of parts. Participants also demonstrate theoretical knowledge of CNC machine configuration, setup and operations.

“The level of competition increases year to year,” Machine Tool Technology instructor Hugo DeAngelis said. “The conference was a good learning experience for both advisors and students and we are already looking forward to training and preparing for next year.”

Medical Assisting student Leslie Miller and EMS student Stephanie Otto both earned a top 10 finish in the Medical Terminology & Medical Math contests. In these contests, students demonstrated their knowledge of medical terminology and general math concepts used in the healthcare fields. They completed a written test that included vocabulary, abbreviations, dosage calculations and metric and household equivalents.

EMS student Bret Vinson placed fourth in the First Aid CPR Contest and also served as a voting delegate for the state of Alabama. The contest evaluated a contestant’s ability to perform procedures or take appropriate action based on scenarios presented related to CPR (Adult/AED, two-man, child and infant) first aid medical emergencies. There is also a written exam. All skills were judged on nationally accepted standards identified by the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the American Safety and Health Institute and the National Safety Council.

The NACC Opening and Closing Ceremonies team earned top honors and brought home the gold. This contest is a demonstration of teamwork and oral presentation evaluating the teams’ understanding of the symbolic representation of the colors and assembled parts of the SkillsUSA emblem. Each team included seven registered members in the roles of president, vice president, parliamentarian, reporter, treasurer, secretary and historian. Each member presented a portion of the emblem ceremony that is used at the beginning of official SkillsUSA meetings.

MTT student Samantha Hicks and salon student Taytum McGill served as state officers in the 2018-19 year and as state leadership delegates at the National Conference.

While at the conference, McGill campaigned for and was elected to one of five post-secondary national officer positions. McGill prepared for the job throughout the year by completing the SkillsUSA Career Essentials curriculum which is focused on helping students become workforce ready and stand out from other job applicants and then once on the job, to be productive and promotable. She also established a campaign platform based on service orientation, leadership and integrity.

The election process included numerous delegate meetings and campaign events where McGill gave speeches and answered various on-the-spot problematic questions posed by the organization’s current leadership as well as delegates from other states across the nation.

“Running for national office has been the most adventurous thing I have ever been involved in and has been the most rewarding experience ever,” McGill said. “I’ve learned so much throughout this process, and I know my experiences as a national officer in the year ahead will help me to develop my leadership skills and better prepare me for all my future endeavors.”

Salon and Spa Management instructor Regina Gilliland served as SkillsUSA advisor for our chapter as well as the Alabama State Leadership team advisor for the state officers. “SkillsUSA helps our students gain valuable leadership skills while learning a trade so they will be better prepared for the workforce of now and tomorrow,” Gilliland said.

NACC advisors were treated as guests of honor at a reception dedicated to chapters earning the Gold Chapter of Distinction award. This award is part of the Chapter of Excellence program and recognizes achievement as it relates to the integration of the SkillsUSA Framework in chapter program of work activities throughout the year. The framework’s focus on intentional learning turns the program of work into more than just a planning tool. Using the framework, the program of work became the vital conduit that linked students to the application of personal, workplace and technical skills demanded by industry--the SkillsUSA trifecta for student success.

“I am very proud of our Chapter’s accomplishments this year,” Kelly Black, chapter sponsor at NACC, said. “Every NACC student who competed finished in the top 10 of the nation. That’s a direct reflection of both our students’ and instructors’ dedication to excellence in their trade and their leadership skills.”

Aside from competing and taking care of official business, participants also got to enjoy pin trading, exploring the city of Louisville, took in a baseball game and had a blast at Champion’s night in the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park.

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