Scottvoight's NASCAR Blog

February 7, 2011

Skills USA Visits ECTC

Filed under: News Paper Articles non NASCAR — Scott Voight @ 2:45 pm

 March 6 Elizabethtown Community and Technical College hosted the Skills USA Regional finals. This competition is centered on vocational school skills, featuring carpentry, culinary arts, welding sculpture, job interview skills, a leadership contest, first aid and much more. High school and college students competed from ECTC, Oldham County, Bullitt, County Shelby County, Grayson County, Meade County, Nelson County, and Breckenridge County High Schools.

The winners of Friday’s competition won bronze, silver and gold medals. These winners get to compete in the State competition in Louisville, April 7-10 at the executive west. Winners from state go on to compete in the Nationals in Kansas City June 21-26. The Nationals will be the 45th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference beginning in 1966. There have been many students to go to Nationals and win from ECTC. Keynote speakers have been President Ronald Regan, Lou Holtz, Chuck Yeager, Mary Lou Retton, Dick Vitale, Terry Bradshaw, and Captain James Lovell to name a few.

One of the competitions was in the Culinary Arts department, which consisted of a baking and pastry competition the student is allowed to bring knives, and mixing appliances, everything else is provided. The student was given a list of ingredients and a list of things to make. They had three hours.  

Lloyd Pate said “The judges looked for taste, texture, appearance, color, crumb, flavor, they looked to see if it was doughy, or tasted like yeast.”

Another judge the program coordinator for culinary arts at ECTC Susie Swink said, “baking is a chemistry. Everything is weighted, measured and it is hard to tweak any recipe. Students came out with 3 different looking baguettes. One used an egg wash as a spritz to make the bread shinier and the crust crispier.

Swink said Skills USA   reasons for involvement is, it gives her the chance to see what type of students are coming out of high school and will be coming into the culinary arts programs throughout the state and it gives the schools instructor’s feedback of how they did. She also was excited to explain the competition helps the students learn to produce under pressure, its timed test, and students learn how to compete and to deal with stress. She is most impressed with the way they put items together and they always come out with different products.

Jessica Wimsht competed in the general culinary skills competition. Her plans are to be a chef one day. She hopes to win some extra money for .college. The competition was very stress full and hectic. Having to work in a timed environment makes things harder, but it prepares you for future competition and to survive in a professional kitchen.

Another competition was the welding sculpture event; there were many creations, a miniature smoker, a miniature tractor, a stealth fighter, and a guitar to name a few. Tracy Gros designed the Guitar sculpture and is the son of a commercial diver who got the bends. Gros wants to follow in his father’s footsteps diving. He picked up welding one summer and decided to combine the two skills for a career. This is the first year the welding sculpture class has been offered at ECTC and Tracy explained “that it offered the student the chance to use creativity and show their skills and make things from their minds.”

Another competition was the pin design competition. The winning pin in the state competition will be used the following year for students to identify themselves from their state and a tradition for the students is to trade and collect pins from across the country. The judges “look at, color, design, how the pin pops as far as style.” This year’s theme is “Champions at Work.”

The skills USA began as the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America. “Each year students develop such great skills, confidence in themselves, and what they are able to do Fay Campbell Principal of Meade County Area Technology, and she is the Regional Skills USA Secondary Director said.”

There are more than 300,000 student and instructors in Skills USA. It is organized into more than 19,333 sections and 54 state and territorial associations. The objective of Skills USA is to provide quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character development. The program helps students to reinforce self-confidence, work attitudes, communication skills, and emphasizes total quality at work, high ethical standards, and superior work skills. There are 16,291 teachers and school administrators that serve as professional Skills USA members and instructors. 

Besides winning the nationals the students get scholarships and the sponsors give contingency awards. They are also recognized as the cream of the crop and can lead to jobs with many of the sponsors and winning a national competition looks good on a resume.

Doug Riggs one of the chairpersons for the opening and closing competition leadership skills said, “he is always interested to see how participate in all the programs and it is great to see the cream of the crop type students that are doing these type things and it give you hope for the future that youth are not all bad and there really are some good kids out there doing some great things.” He went on to say that “the types of jobs included in Skills USA are recession proof than the standard type jobs because the students have some real technical expertise to offer.”

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