Last updated: March 11. 2014 5:51PM - 397 Views
By - wbyerly-wood@civitasmedia.com - 336-835-1513

Matthew Nance, left, won second place and Colt Holcomb won first place, both from East Wilkes High School, in the Diesel and Heavy Equipment contest.
Matthew Nance, left, won second place and Colt Holcomb won first place, both from East Wilkes High School, in the Diesel and Heavy Equipment contest.
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WILKESBORO — Wilkes Community College hosted the high school Region 7 SkillsUSA Conference and Career Showcase on Feb. 28. 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,” said Hardin Kennedy, SkillsUSA college advisor. “We had over 750 high school student competitors and career showcase participants from the high schools located in the 15 counties that make up Region 7. 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 encompasses the following counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davie, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin, and the Home School Association of North Carolina and Christian schools.

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 2013, the Region 7 SkillsUSA Conference was offered to more than 50 high schools from 15 counties. Last year’s event drew about 677 student participants and 75 corporate sponsors. A number of these students who participated in last year’s SkillsUSA competition went on to earn top state and national awards.

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 degrees. Students not involved in competitions were able to meet with a WCC representative 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 went into this event and the SkillsUSA club on campus.

For more information about the SkillsUSA program, contact Hardin Kennedy at 336-838-6219 or hardin.kennedy@wilkescc.edu.

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