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Save the Date: Utah 2015 Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

20140501_095314On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 20 high school students from across Utah will gather together to compete in the state Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition at the Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College. Students, working in teams of two, will compete to successfully debug a 2015 Ford vehicle. The competition requires repairs to be made with the highest quality workmanship (in the lowest total time) within 90 minutes.

The qualifying process began in February with 276 Utah students, in 19 high schools, taking the Ford/AAA written exam in order to have the opportunity to compete in the state hands-on competition. Those students scoring the highest participate in the hands-on competition. The exam includes 50 questions (10 each) in the following five areas:

  • Environmental and generic safety practices
  • Steering suspension and brakes
  • Electrical
  • Engine performance
  • Power train (engine to drive wheels)

The ten teams (two students in each team) participating in the state competition on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 are:

  • Bountiful High School Jason Naelge and Mitch Alsop
  • Clearfield High School Dallas Stoker and Cole Younger
  • Davis High School Jake Hoffman and Brett Winterton
  • Emery High School – Tuckett Allred and Hunter Jefferies
  • Olympus High School – Brinton Neff and Andrew Lodder
  • Provo High School – Christian Beaumont and Rich Shriber
  • Riverton High School – Wade Tate and Cason Hales
  • Syracuse High School – Tyler Fralick and Caleb Hill
  • Timpview High School – David Forsythe and Jose Estrada
  • Woods Cross High School – Joseph Jackson and Richard Whittaker

The winner of the state competition will advance to the national competition in Dearborn, Michigan (home of Ford Motor Company headquarters) June 7-9, 2015, to compete for nearly $12 million in scholarships and prizes.

The Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition fosters students’ interest in the automotive industry through a spirited nationwide competition with opportunities to win prizes, scholarships, tools and awards along with an experience that could help shape the future of their careers. The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills program helps to ensure future technicians are well-educated to meet ongoing changes in the industry. With more jobs available than workers to fill, a career as an automotive technician provides a promising future.

The work of automotive service technicians and mechanics has evolved from simply mechanical to high technology. According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, in Utah, an experienced automotive service technician earns an hourly wage of $17.20, or $35,776 per year. This occupation is projected to grow 2.3 percent through the year 2022.

If being involved in the automotive industry interests you, contact your school counselor to register for classes in the Career and Technical Education Automotive Service Technician Pathway.

Trip W Club Sponsors a Dinner Meeting

Friday, March 27th, 2015

By Steven Jualio-Martin, welding student at Highland High School

Steven Jualio-Martin photoOn March 10, 2015, Salt Lake City School District welding teacher, Denise Hevner and the Trip W Club (welding club) held a dinner meeting with guest speakers. The purpose of the dinner meeting was to inform students and their parents/guests about the many career opportunities in the field of welding. Together they brought in six guest speakers that are currently working in different areas of the industry.

One of the speakers was a young man by the name of Emilio Quintana. Emilio is a former student of Ms. Hevner and is a Weber State University student who is working on getting his engineering degree in welding. He mentioned the fact that you can make money by creating art through welding. It’s very interesting what you can do with welding! The fact that you can make money by making art speaks volumes to some. You could be an entrepreneur and start your own business.

Despite the fact that welding comes with a good salary, Nick Price from the DATC (Davis Applied Technology College), pointed out that you don’t need to have a huge salary to be happy. He shared his story about opportunities he’s had to get better paying jobs in the field, but turned them down to be a teacher. “It’s about finding your passion and doing what makes you happy. You know you have found your career when you look forward to going to work on Monday,” said Nick.

20150310_191631_resizedIMG_6052Jason Hart from Lincoln Electric brought in a virtual reality welding machine to demonstrate how it works. What make this a great training tool is that it gives you instant feedback on your travel speed, travel angle, work angle, arc gap and position. It will rate and score the weld upon completion. This kind of technology is the future of welding education.

All of the guest speakers shared their own experiences and perspectives on how to get started in the welding industry. After the dinner meeting, there was a question and answer session for both parents/guests and students to talk with the guest speakers about more detail and personal information. Parents/guests seemed pleased to learn of the potential for a well-paying career in welding.

America is short more than 200,000 welders right now. If you have the skill and you enjoy it, there is a career waiting for you. The welding industry doesn’t just mean getting under the hood either. That is only one branch of the career path tree. There are many career options if you like welding, and it doesn’t mean you have to be a welder. Learning to weld is just the foundation.

IMG_6055We’d like to give a special thanks to all of our guest speakers:
Nick PriceDATC
Bob NorthLocal 27 Iron Workers Union
Woody Cook – SME Steel
Emilio Quintana – Weber State University student
Bob UdySalt Lake Community College
Jason HartLincoln Electric



Stacie Chatterton: Future Police Officer

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Female Officer, Is it Possible?
By Stacie Chatterton, student at Sky View High School

Stacie Chatterton photo 1There is a point in every kid’s life where they dream big. Everyone wants to be the person that everyone looks up to. It could differ between a firefighter, astronaut, doctor, or even a police officer. The more they grow up the more options they know they have and choose to become something else. For me, becoming a police officer is only the beginning of my dream. I have had many opportunities in the past couple months to get up close and be a part of law enforcement.

[I was] able to go on a ride along with different [police] officers to get the point of view of what it is like to be out on the road. I learned how the computers worked and everything that it was used for, which always was a huge curiosity for me. I learned the police talk they always use. I’m pretty good at being able to describe and/or say what they are saying, “Alpha-2-November-Hotel-4-7-Oscar.”

I was also able to meet with a K9 Unit officer Corporal Kleven and his partner Jaxon. He was super generous in helping to describe his duties and even stretched the rules for me and allowed me to go on a ride along with him, which was the best experience. He also did a one-on-one drug search at the police department so I could be up close and watch. Corporal Kleven taught me how the [K9 Unit] accepts dogs and trains them, how to use hand signals and offer treats to Jaxon.

Stacie Chatterton photo 2The best part of my CTE Internship was being able to have Officer Kerr, at Sky View High School, be a big part in helping me put all of this together. He taught me a lot of things that most [people] wouldn’t know. I had the chance to write tickets, go on patrol, watch security footage, and my most favorite part was him hand cuffing me.

There were a few things, out of many, I had an opportunity to be a part of because of the Work-Based Learning class at Sky View High School. This was the best class I could have chosen. Because of this experience it has put a whole new view on how I see law enforcement, and it helped me decide that I really want to stay on this pathway. My personal view of police officers is that they are there to help keep the community safe. There are bad ones out there, but most are not. The view of them right now is not a good one, but if you actually give them a chance, and not get in trouble with the law, you will see they are only there to help.

SkillsUSA: Serving More than 11.6 Million Members

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Gojo community service 2014SkillsUSA is a nationwide network of students and instructors in a common bond with powerful industry partnerships, serving more than 11.6 million members for over 50 year. SkillsUSA not only empowers its member to become world-class workers, leaders, and responsible American citizens, but also provides quality education experiences in leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character development. In Utah, there are more than 2,000 members in 76 chapters.

SkillsUSA members don’t just have a great passion for what they can achieve, but also for what they can contribute. SkillsUSA’s Program of Work actively involves members in community service. SkillsUSA cultivate engaged citizens who not only love what they do, but who also respect the power they have to make a difference in the lives of others.

Utah SkillsUSA has the following goals: 1. Increase secondary and postsecondary member participation.2. Encourage all members to become stronger advocates for CTE. 3. Encourage members to engage in meaningful community service activities. 4. Encourage full member participation in SkillsUSA programs and events.

This year, SkillsUSA celebrates 50 Years of Champions at Work. In conjunction with this celebration, student members across the country will celebrate SkillsUSA Week February 8-14. WATCH how SkillsUSA is making a difference in the lives of student members.

 SkillsUSA represents: Friendship. Leadership. Champions. Professionalism. Success. Direction.



Mario Sanchez: Future Welder

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Mario Sanchez (6)Mario Sanchez is a graduate of Wasatch High School and is attending Mountainland Applied Technology College where he is studying to become certified in welding. He is working hard to obtain the experience he needs for his future career. “I understand the experience I need in order to be successful in my occupational area involves a lot of training and practice. However, I also need a degree or a certificate in welding to obtain the right education required for a higher paying job.”

Education is important to Mario. His parents migrated to the U.S. and wanted him to work hard and get an education so that he would have opportunities that he couldn’t have otherwise. “My parents have taught me that if I work hard I can create a better life for myself. They sacrificed everything and worked so hard to give me this opportunity. With all my heart and sweat I’m not going to disappoint them. They are my heroes. I know that education is the power to success. A great man by the name of Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ I believe in this quote. I think that in order to change this world you have to understand how the world works,” says Mario.

Mario explains how high school wasn’t always easy for him. “In the beginning of high school it was not always easy for me to get good grades. But then I realized how important education is in my life and I made some changes. I became determined to graduate from high school, go to college, and work really hard. I took a lot of CTE courses such as auto mechanics at Mountainland Applied Technology College and three years of welding. I really enjoyed hands-on projects and creating and repairing things. I focused a lot of my time and effort to improve my skills and do my best in my CTE classes. The CTE classes helped me a lot. They prepared me for life and prepared me to get a good job after graduation. I never felt like I was wasting my time, but only improving my skills for the job market. I was always looking for a challenge and new things to learn. This helped me make the most out of my CTE experience. I am excited for my future and to do my part to contribute to society.”


Savid Acuna: Future Carpenter and Business Owner

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Savid Acuna (4)Savid Acuna recently graduated from Murray High School where he completed the Skilled and Technical Education Carpentry Pathway and earned 20 concurrent enrollment credits.

“My professional goal is to one day own and run my own construction business. I love to build. I love to take a set of blueprints and construct a beautiful, safe, and functional structure that I am proud of. I love to solve problems, work hard, and at the end of the day see what I’ve created. I want to own my own company because I feel that by being a leader I can have a bigger influence to help others be successful. It is the American Dream. In order to accomplish my goal, I realize that it is going to take a lot of hard work, education, and experience, says Savid.”

While in high school, Savid was actively involved in the building of a 1,800 square foot home. “It had a real world setting, such as having to meet deadlines and problem solving to fix certain situations within the build.”

Savid received a CTE Scholarship to Salt Lake Community College, where he will continue his studies in carpentry. “My long term educational goal is to obtain an AS degree in construction management. I then plan to enter the workforce. I would like to work for a big residential local builder and work for them until I have enough experience, and capital, to go on my own. To enter a career in construction [with experience] is key, but to succeed in current times education is the next most important tool to have.”


SkillsUSA: 50 Years of Champions at Work

Monday, August 18th, 2014

During the summer, as SkillsUSA members joined together from across the nation to compete at the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference they also celebrated 50 years of champions at work. SkillsUSA turns 50 in the year 2015, so the conference marked the beginning of a yearlong celebration that will culminate with the 51st National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, June 22-26, 2015.

Five decades ago, the founders of SkillsUSA and approximately 200 students and teachers attending the first SkillsUSA conference in Nashville, Tennessee set in motion events and aspirations that are very real today. Fast forward 50 years . . .SkillsUSA has grown exponentially.

SkillsUSA by the Numbers:
> More than 11.6 million members served since 1965.
> More than 335,000 members nationwide.
> Nearly 17,000 chapters in more than 4,000 schools since 1965.
> Approximately 4,000 active chapters.
> 130 skilled occupations represented.
> More than 600 business, industry and labor sponsors

The impact of SkillsUSA over the past 50 years has been far reaching. SkillsUSA is:
> A nationwide network of students and instructors in a common bond with a powerful partnership of industry, serving more than 11.6 million members over 50 years.
> Effective and far-reaching classroom instruction in employability and leadership skills.
> Civically engaged students involved in community service and possessing the skills to become responsible American citizens.
> Preparing America’s skilled workforce through continually transformed instruction, influenced by an internationally recognized championships program.
> Representing Career and Technical Education to policymakers, employers, and the public.

“Organizations don’t last 50 years without passionate people committed to carrying out a mission they believe in. Why have so many affirmed their belief in SkillsUSA’s mission since 1965? Because the success of that mission is palpable in the young people whose lives it changes for the better every day, more than 11.6 million so far . . . and counting,” says Tim Lawrence, Executive Director, SkillsUSA.

Click HERE to learn more about SkillsUSA and its members.

SkillsUSA: 2014 NLSC Contest Results

Friday, July 11th, 2014

By Dave Milliken, National SkillsUSA Board Member
Utah Skilled and Technical Sciences specialist
Utah State Office of Education

In June, 170 secondary and postsecondary Utah SkillsUSA student members competed in 74 of 99 skill competitions at the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. From carpentry to plumbing to technical drafting to firefighting, Utah SkillsUSA student members competed against their peers with skill, determination, and focused concentration.

Congratulations to the Utah SkillsUSA members who competed in a contest. Five secondary students were national medalists, with four receiving silver medals, and one receiving a bronze medal. Thirty-one postsecondary students were national medalists, with 15 receiving gold medals, 12 receiving silver medals, and 4 receiving bronze medals. At the conference, Utah ranked 7th in receiving the most medals of any one state. HERE is the list of contest results.

SkillsUSA Championships: By the Numbers

> 6,111 competitors
> 99 hands-on and leadership contests
> 787,482 square feet of contest space – equivalent to the area of more than 16 football fields
> 800 judges
> 600 technical committee members
> 420 National Education Team/volunteer conference management staff
> 180 Courtesy Corps volunteers totaling 60,000 volunteer hours
> 1,125 medals presented (gold, silver, and bronze)
> 175 recognition awards
> 146 individuals and 21 teams received the President’s Volunteer Service Award
> 50 $1,000 scholarships awarded to competitors for travel to the conference, sponsored by the mikeroweWORKS Foundation

After 21 years in Kansas City, Missouri, National SkillsUSA has said good-bye to our host city and moved to our new home—for at least the next six years—in Louisville, Kentucky. As hard as it is to leave Kansas City, we are excited for the new possibilities that Louisville will bring.

In Louisville, unlike Kansas City, we will have the tradeshow and all contests under one roof. Another advantage of moving the conference to Louisville is that the arena will be used for both the opening and awards sessions and parking will not be a problem.

As a state we enjoyed our hotel in Overland Park, Kansas City. It was close to shopping, restaurants, and Utah SkillsUSA was the only state delegation at the hotel. I personally will miss Kansas City. I have been there many times and I know my way around and will miss everything the area has to offer. However, at the same time I look forward to getting to know a new city and all that it has to offer.

Look out Louisville, Utah SkillsUSA is coming June 22-26, 2015!

SkillsUSA 2014 National Leadership and Skills Conference

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Utah SkillsUSA student members and state advisors have arrived in Kansas City, Missouri to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Throughout the week long conference, first place state competition winners will compete against their peers in 99 hands-on skills and leadership competitions. Leadership contestants will demonstrate skills including extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.

Join the conference by watching a live stream of the opening ceremony, competitive events, and the awards ceremony, beginning Monday, June 23.

> Opening Ceremony: Wednesday, June 25 at 7 p.m. CDT
> Competitive Events: Wednesday, June 25 and
Thursday, June 26 beginning at 8 a.m. CDT
> Awards Ceremony: Friday, June 27 at 6 p.m. CDT

View Conference Program
SkillsUSA on Twitter #NLSC14
Like SkillsUSA on Facebook #NLSC14

View the list of Utah state winners. The first place winner from each category is in Kansas City to compete at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

“We are going to Kansas City for one purpose only, to provide [Utah] students an opportunity to test their skills at the highest level of national competition. . .We will graciously accept the results, whatever they are. . .” said Richard Wittwer, SkillsUSA Utah State Director.

 SkillsUSA: Champions at Work

Related story:
Lehi students prepare for SkillsUSA nationals

Kansas City Here We Come!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

By Tim Lawrence
Executive Director

This afternoon a huge tractor trailer left the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center here in Leesburg, Virginia headed to Kansas City. The truck was “loaded to the max” with National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) programs, office equipment, electronics for registration, the Championships, and every file and document imaginable to support our big event. Some staff is already on site and more leave everyday headed to Kansas City.

This 50th NLSC marks what will be the largest national conference in our history with the largest group ever registered for the conference and the SkillsUSA Championships. There will be dynamic sessions, lots of learning and growing, and thousands of lives changed for the better.

Non-profit organizations like SkillsUSA don’t last 50 years without a dedicated team of hard working people who make great things happen every day. And I realize, as does the board, staff and foundation that this event continues to grow and impact more students and teachers for one primary reason – the outstanding work that you provide to your state association. No student comes to NLSC without the encouragement of that special instructor, dedicated administrator and the leadership of the state director. We salute you, thank you and look forward to seeing you in just a few short days.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in a few days. Safe travels to all of you and your delegations!


This blog post was originally published on the SkillsUSA.org on June 18, 2014.