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Nate Buchanan: Future Firefighter

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Nate Buchanan
Occupational Goal: Firefighter

Nate Buchanan has dreamed of being a firefighter since he was five years old. “The year was 1998; I was five years old when I received my first pair of firefighting bunkers. I had made up my mind when I got older that I was going to be a firefighter, and my goal hasn’t changed. I come from a strong background of firefighters in my family. I have an uncle, grandfather, great grandfather, great uncle, and many close friends that are firefighters. I have researched and made goals during high school to understand the area of firefighting and to plan out my education based upon my research. I have tried to take classes that would benefit my firefighting dreams. I can’t believe that back 13 years ago I had a little kid’s dream, and now is the time to implement my dreams with action such as continuing to meet my goals and plan for my career,” said Nate.

While planning his high school schedule, Nate made sure he took classes that correlated with his goals for a career as a firefighter (CTE Firefighting Pathway.) “My CTE courses in high school helped pave the way for me to get started on my [college] education after I graduate,” said Nate.

Nate has been involved with many service projects throughout high school. “This year I earned the rank of Eagle Scout. With my heart set on firefighting, I chose to do my [Eagle] project to benefit the Morgan City Fire Department. I organized a donation drive at local businesses to collect hygiene items for kits to provide to the Morgan City Fire Department. These kits contained 30 items that would benefit families if they are unable to return to their home due to fire, flood, power outage, or other natural disasters.”

To plan for his future, Nate has been shadowing the Morgan City Fire Chief and the Morgan City Fire Department. “Firefighting is in my blood. I love being on the scene with my grandfather and learning from him and my fellow firefighters. The pungent smell of smoke really gets me excited to get my career moving. When I was five I became an honorary member of my grandpa’s fire department. I have many friends that I admire, and take the knowledge they provide for me to heart. I have never wanted anything more in my life than to be a firefighter, and now it is truly within my grasp,” said Nate.

In May, Nate received a CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award to attend Utah Valley University (UVU). At UVU he plans to study firefighting and become certified as a firefighter. Nate plans to begin his career immediately after graduating from UVU.

There are over 1 million firefighters in the United States. In Utah, approximately 85 percent of firefighters are volunteers, and approximately 14 percent are career firefighters. Employment of firefighters is projected to grow 9 percent nationwide and 3.4 percent in Utah through the year 2020.

UtahCTE.org wishes Nate all the best as he prepares to become a firefighter. During the past few weeks, as fires broke out in Utah and surrounding states, we thank each firefighter who has battled each blaze. We appreciate the training, skill, expertise, and dedication of each firefighter who has worked under unimaginable conditions to protect the public. Thank you!

Colt Petersen: Future Welder and Business Owner

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Colt Petersen
Occupational Goal: Welder and Business Owner

Colt Petersen recently graduated from Delta High School where he completed the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Welding Pathway. He plans to continue his education and training at Bridgerland Applied Technology College (BATC) to obtain a welding certificate.

“As a young child I liked to help my father and grandfather repair things about the farms. One important piece of equipment that was used was a welder. By watching the two very different techniques used by these two men, I quickly realized that just because you have a welder doesn’t mean you can actually weld. I decided to follow my father’s lead and learn the proper techniques of welding in order to do the job right. . .[ in high school] I enrolled in a welding class. It was during this class that the desire to build things with metal was ignited and reinforced daily. I then added more classes that followed my future path,” said Colt.

Through participation in the CTE Welding Pathway, Colt took classes such as welding, advanced welding, auto tech, drafting, and machining. “All of these classes tied together to give me experience and a sound educational base to get those key components to one day run my own shop,” said Colt.

Kirk Willoughby, Precision Machining and Welding Instructor at Delta Technical Center, said “[Colt] has been an able student, willing to learn, and a positive influence in class. As with any other student, he has made normal mistakes, but has not been discouraged in falling short. He, in fact, recognizes these [mistakes] as opportunities to learn.”

To gain experience in the welding industry Colt obtained an apprenticeship at a local welding business. “I currently work as an apprentice at Z Machine and Welding where I use the skills that I have learned and continue to learn in real life situations,” said Colt. Brent Larsen, the owner of Z Machine and Welding has been impressed with Colt and his ability to learn the trade. “Colt is an excellent welder. I have been training him in the machine tool trades. He is learning to operate the lathe, vertical milling machine, and various grinders. He is a quick learner; he keeps his mind on task and asks relevant questions. He strives for understanding, not just rote memory. Working with a young man like Colt gives me hope for the future,” said Larsen.

After graduating from BATC, with a welding certificate, Colt plans to enroll in a machining program. “I believe that this training will provide the perfect starting blocks to then go into the industrial field. . . where I will refine the skills I learned while procuring capital to reach my end goal of having my own custom welding and fabrication shop,” said Colt.

More than 50 percent of products in the U.S. require welding. From farm equipment, to cars, to bridges, to computers, to cell phones, to medical devices, the skill, knowledge, and precision of a trained welder is crucial. Nationwide employment of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is expected to grow 15 percent through the year 2020. (Sources: American Welding Society and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

UtahCTE.org congratulates Colt on his accomplishments and wishes him all the best as he continues to prepare for his chosen career.

Zach McArthur: Future Graphic Design Teacher

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Zach McArthur
Occupational Goal: Graphic Design Teacher

“I became aware of and interested in the field of graphic design during my junior year when I decided to enroll in a graphic design course at my school. The decision to take a graphic design course has made a huge impact on my life. This decision has given me direction and has clarified my goals and aspirations with regards to my education and my career choice in the graphic design industry.

“I am currently a member of SkillsUSA and recently competed at the regional competition for graphic design screen printing. I did well at that competition and was nominated to move on and compete at the state level. My involvement with SkillsUSA and the Kearns High School Yearbook Staff really made my senior year a memorable one; one that has been rewarding and exciting.

“My career goals are many. I would like to work in the field of graphic design and be an innovator and promoter of the industry. The promotion that I would like to do would be in the classroom. I would like to teach students at the high school level and get them excited about the opportunities and possibilities in the field of graphic design.

“The CTE courses I have taken in high school have prepared me for this path. My teachers, courses, and high school activities have introduced me to a field of study that I absolutely love and enjoy. It is also an area that I excel in. The courses I have taken have taught me that it will take hard work and dedication, along with the ability to change and keep up with the rapid expansion of technology, in order to be successful.

“I am excited for this next phase of my life and the opportunities that lie before me. I am grateful for organizations such as CTE, SkillsUSA, and for the programs and teachers at my high school, which have given me some direction and a foundation to continue on the pathway that I am on. Many people have told me to find something I enjoy and to pursue that dream. I believe I have found that something and that I am on the right path to achieving my dreams.” —Zach McArthur, Kearns High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Zach on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award he received to Salt Lake Community College. Zach was one of 95 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Left: Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education
Middle: Zach McArthur
Right: Jared Haines, Vice President, Utah College of Applied Technology

Justin Lawson: Future Carpenter

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Justin Lawson
Occupational Goal: Carpenter

“The CTE classes I have taken and are currently taking have prepared me well for the road ahead. I know a lot more about my future and what I can do to improve it by being in those classes. It’s something I don’t regret at all, and I encourage all high school students to take some kind of CTE class, whether it is carpentry or clothing.

“The construction field is somewhere I feel like I belong. I can hold my own in English and do well in math, but I can really flourish in Carpentry. I love the satisfaction I get after I look at what I just built. It makes me feel accomplished. Once I’m done with my schooling, becoming a construction worker is my next step, to fine tune my skills and polish up my knowledge of construction. After I have gotten to the point where I think I can start working on my own, and have the right equipment, I hope to break away from a company and start working as a private contractor.” —Justin Lawson, Viewmont High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Justin on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award he received to Salt Lake Community College. Justin was one of 95 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Riverton High School Team Wins Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

UPDATE: Riverton High duo makes school history in auto competition, The Salt Lake Tribune, August 2, 2012

On June 10-12, Jordan Kearns and Chandler Adkins competed in the national Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition at the Ford Motor Company Headquarters in Dearborn Michigan. Jordan and Chandler competed against teams from all 50 states as they raced against the clock to diagnose and repair purposefully placed “bugs” in their assigned vehicle. Jordan and Chandler worked flawlessly as a team to repair the digital, mechanical, and electrical bugs. Their skill and perseverance lead them to a fourth place finish!

“Fourth place is the highest Utah has ever placed in the national Ford/AAA Automotive Competition,” said Dave Milliken, Skilled and Technical Education Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education. “This is a wonderful achievement and Jordan and Chandler should be very proud of their accomplishment. Jordan and Chandler represented Riverton High School and the state of Utah extremely well,” said Milliken.

Related articles:
Utah students take fourth in national auto repair competition, Salt Lake Tribune, June 15, 2012.
High school students compete in Ford/AAA auto skills contest in front of Glass House, Press & Guide, Dearborn, MI, June 14, 2012.

On Thursday, April 26, 2012, ten high school teams from across the state gathered together at the Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus to compete in the 19th Annual Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition.

The Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition is a national competition for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing a career as an automotive service technician. Two-person teams, who received the highest score, are selected to advance to the state finals after taking an online exam.

At the state finals each team is tested on their ability to trouble-shoot, correctly diagnose, and repair an intentionally bugged vehicle. This hands-on competition not only tests the students’ automotive knowledge and problem solving skills, but also tests their ability to work under pressure as they race against the clock to complete the assigned task.

The following teams competed for a spot at the national Ford/AAA competition:

1st Place – Riverton High School
Teacher: Jay Hales
Student Team: Jordan Kearns and Chandler Adkins

2nd Place – Southwest ATC
Teachers: Wade Esplin and Bob Butler
Student Team: Sam Tanner and Josh Clark

3rd Place – Hunter High School
: Matt Proctor
Student Team: Kevin R De Young and Jordan L Huffman

4th Place – Woods Cross High School
Teacher: Evan Kirk
Student Team: Sam Snyder and Gerardo Flores

5th Place – Clearfield High School
: Ed Schirner
Student Team: Chris D Bingham and Travis M Ellis

6th Place – Northridge High School
Teacher: Ken Bunce
Student Team: Adam Brady and Tye Brookshire

7th Place – Layton High School
Teacher: Corey Spencer
Student Team: Aaron C Hirschi and Cody J Cook

8th Place – Fremont High School
Teacher: Arne Erisoty
Student Team: Kyler N Creager and Andrew K Wayment

9th Place – Provo High School
Teacher: Seth MeVea
Student Team: Tom Burton and Zack Smith

10th Place – Timpview High School
Teacher: Rich Lamb
Student Team: Chandler R Taylor and Brandon L Gray

Jordan Kearns and Chandler Adkins from Riverton High School worked in tandem as they checked for nine bugged parts in the 2012 Ford Fusion that they worked on for 90 minutes placing first in the competition.

Jordan Kearns and Chandler Adkins now advance to the national competition held June 10-12, 2012, at Ford Motor Company Headquarters, Dearborn, Michigan. The grand prize at the national competition is a job shadow with Trevor Bayne, NASCAR’s Wood Brothers Racing.

“This was a very exciting competition this year for the Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition. [The competition] puts students to the test in finding and replacing parts that have been bugged. There were ten teams from [high schools] throughout the state who qualified to participate in the hands-on competition. We had 24 high schools with 362 students who competed in the written exam. From there, the top two student’s scores on the written exam, from each high school, are compared and the top ten move on to the hands-on competition,” said Dave Milliken, Skilled and Technical Sciences Education Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education.

Related articles:
Riverton High students win auto skills competition, KSL.com, April 26, 2012
Two Riverton High students win automotive scholarships, The Salt Lake Tribune, April 26, 2012

Each year, over 10,000 students representing over 950 automotive technology programs throughout the U.S. compete in the Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition. Learn about the Career and Technical Education Automotive Service Technician Pathway at UtahCTE.org and talk to your school counselor about the available career opportunities in the automotive industry.

Jay Que Hales: Huntsman Award Recipient

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Congratulations to Jay Que Hales, Skilled and Technical Sciences Education Teacher and SkillsUSA advisor at Riverton High School, who received the Huntsman Award on April 26, 2012. Jay was one of 11 Utah educators who received this prestigious award.

Jon and Karen Huntsman established the Huntsman Awards in 1993 to recognize, inspire, and reward the best teachers, school administrators, and volunteers in Utah. “Every one of this year’s eleven award recipients stands for excellence. They all exemplify the commitment to teaching which we believe is common among Utah’s top educators. We are proud to recognize eleven of the best and celebrate their gifts of learning, time, and love they bestow upon our children. We are enormously proud of each of them and are grateful that they are willing to work so hard to guide students to recognize their strengths and to rise to their individual potential. We are delighted to honor these eleven who are eminently deserving of our appreciation,” said Jon and Karen Huntsman.

As an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician, Jay has used his automotive knowledge, training, skills, and abilities to inspire students to effectively compete in state competitions. His students have consistently won at the Weber State University Automotive Competition, the SkillsUSA Competition, and at the Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition. Just last week, two of his students, Jordan Kearns and Chandler Adkins, took first place in the Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition held at Salt Lake Community College. Both students now advance to the national competition to be held at Ford Motor Company Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan on June 10-12, 2012.

Jay’s dedication, drive, and enthusiasm has challenged and motivated his automotive students to work hard, to be responsible, and to develop a good work ethic as they competed in each competition and prepared for life after high school—college and career.

“This is a wonderful thing to happen to Jay. I’m so very excited for him. I have watched the hard work he has put in over the past several years and Jay is very deserving of this honor,” said Dave Milliken, Skilled and Technical Sciences Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education.

Jay is well deserving of the Huntsman Award and Utah is fortunate to have him as an educator inspiring students every day. Jay and the ten other award recipients will be honored at a banquet on Friday, May 11, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Related articles:
Deseret News

Meet a Construction Business Owner: David Godfrey

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012


Introducing… David S. Godfrey

A graduate of … Murray High School

Now working as … Business Owner/Operator

For … Godfrey Construction Co., LLC

Wood Shop was his favorite high school class because … it was an introduction to a field that evolved into his life’s work.

David’s first job – was fast food worker.

The worst job?  Fast food worker – but it wasn’t so much the work as it was the poor manager who supervised him. On the plus side, the experience taught him to step into the management void to help influence other employees to work better and smarter.

David reports his most significant training was … on the job. He worked part-time for an uncle who was the best example of how to have your own construction business, how to bid jobs, how to work hard to finish on time or early, how to be an influence for good on others you work with, and how to save and manage your money for the lean times that always exist in the construction industry.

A career highlight … “My name and reputation for excellent work have helped me survive while others in my business have gone bankrupt. It has been a true source of pride to know I managed a personal business that is sound and has created some beautiful homes and properties.”

Advice to students … Don’t waste time playing, socializing, and spending when you can be planning, saving, and learning what it will take to be successful in life.”

And more …

  • About what David learned from an otherwise negative work experience: I always said to myself if I had the opportunity to own my own business one day, I would do it better and not waste away the opportunity. I think back now about how even that negative example shaped my future success.”
  • In the construction business especially, it is necessary to manage well and save money in order to make it during the off season and economic downturns that are inevitable.

Meet a Fire Dept. Captain: Matthew Boulden

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012


Introducing… Matthew J. Boulden

A graduate of … Brighton High School

Now working as … An Fire Department Captain and Paramedic

For … Murray City.

American National Government was his favorite high school class because … he had a great teacher (thank you, Coach Chavis) who held students accountable for everything they did.

Mathew’s first job – was a Ranch Hand.

The worst job?  Runner for a law firm. What made it unpleasant was working with people who had high opinion of themselves for reasons not apparent to anyone else!

Advice to students … ”Be accountable for your actions, learn how to get along with others, and be willing to put in a hard day’s work without complaint … and – never settle for average!”

And more …

  • What Matthew finds most fulfilling about his job is that he has the chance of “working with dedicated people, willing to put their lives on the line in order to save a complete stranger.”

Meet a TV News Producer: Shelby Dobson

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012


Introducing… Shelby Dobson

A graduate of … Mountain Crest High School

Now working as … A TV News Producer

For … KSTU, Fox13, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Journalism was her favorite high school class because … it was like on-the-job training since – as editor in chief of the high school newspaper – she wrote news, entertainment, sports and opinion pieces.

Shelby’s first job – was an After School Student Aide at an elementary school.

The worst job? Even though Shelby had her share of low paid, entry jobs, she says the actual work she’s been assigned has never been all that bad.  (She understands some of this is luck, but it is also good to be able to choose jobs that you can do happily most of the time!)  

Advice to students … “take every opportunity you can to advance in your chosen field. For example, I completed a job shadow and an internship. Both were good experiences that helped me understand my field better.”

 And more

  • As the producer of the 5:00 p.m. newscast … “I select local, national and world stories for the newscast. I write several of those stories and I have an associate producer that also helps write for the show. I put the stories in the order they will air. During the show, I talk with reporters in the field, and communicate with anchors about any changes. I also time the show.”
  • Being involved in high school publications –newspaper, yearbook, etc. is “a good way to get started in any field in journalism.”
  • First, get a degree. Whether it’s a high school diploma, training certificate, or Associates or Bachelors, it will help you get a job in the future. Many students start a degree, but don’t finish it. It’s an investment, but it’s an investment worth making!



Wanted: Skilled Workers!

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Did you see the story about Career and Technical Education (CTE) on the CBS Evening News? Reporter Elaine Quijano visited with John McGlade, president and CEO of Air Products and last year’s SkillsUSA CEO Champion of the Year, about the role of career and technical education in preparing students to enter the world of work. John was selected because of his company’s commitment to SkillsUSA. This opportunity gave John a chance to share his passion and support for CTE and talk about the need for skilled workers. Watch the full CBS Evening News story here.

Nationwide, there is a great demand for skilled workers. “There is going to be more and more of those skilled jobs that are available, that are going to be paying and provide a sustaining career for years and years to come,” McGlade said.

Utah students can obtain the skills that are in demand, by so many industries, through participation in Career and Technical Education. SkillsUSA is the Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) for students in Skilled and Technical Sciences. SkillsUSA provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character development. By following a CTE Pathway students can obtain industry certification and college credit while in high school.

“All the CTE courses I took in high school have prepared me to be a strategic thinker and hands-on  learner. CTE has prepared me to go straight from high school in to the welding industry.”

—Shyann Young
Graduate, Fremont High School



Advocate for CTE by leaving a comment about the story on the CBS Evening News.