(Emmetsburg, Iowa) Seven students attending Iowa Lakes Community College received top rankings at the 2022 Iowa SkillsUSA competition held in Ankeny, Iowa, on April 7 and 8. The annual Iowa SkillsUSA competition showcases the best-of-the-best in career and technical education students when they put their skills to the test and compete in more than 50 different trade, technical, and leadership fields.
Students work against the clock and competitors during the SkillsUSA competition to prove their expertise in various occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, welding, culinary arts, motorcycle service technology, and more. All contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations, and labor organizations, using testing competencies set by the industry. In addition, leadership contestants demonstrate their skills, including extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.
The SkillsUSA Championship awards a gold, silver, and bronze medal to the top three high-school and post-secondary participants. In addition, many students receive prizes, such as tools of their trade and scholarships to further their careers and education. The Iowa championships event is for high school and college-level students who are members of SkillsUSA.
Students who secure first place in the competitions receive a spot to compete in the 2022 National SkillsUSA competition held in Atlanta, Georgia, from June 20 to 25.
Iowa Lakes had three students earn the sought after first-place ranking during the state competitions, which secured them a spot to compete at the national level: Caleb Robinson (Iowa Falls, Iowa) in Carpentry, Isaac Bruggeman (Inwood, Iowa) in Motorcycle Service Technology, Blake Renner (Aurelia, Iowa) in Power Equipment Technology, and Jacob Tuttle (Spirit Lake, Iowa) in Welding.
“The competitors who represent their state at the SkillsUSA National skills conference are the most highly skilled students in the nation. It’s rewarding as an advisor to be able to instruct these students and watch them achieve their goals,” explained Emily Gottsche, Iowa Lakes Welding Technology Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor.
Tuttle won the Iowa SkillsUSA Welding Championships, a timed competition designed to test one’s ability to use various welding tools and processes, including weld-measuring gauges, oxy-fuel and plasma arc cutting processes, flux core arc welding, gas metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and shielded metal arc welding.
Robinson took first place in the Iowa SkillsUSA Carpentry Competition, where contestants framed walls, cut and installed rafters, gable end overhangs, fascia board, soffit installation, installed sheathing, exterior siding, and trim. Participants also demonstrated knowledge of stair construction and were judged on accuracy, ability to read and interpret blueprints, artistry, safety, and the proper use of tools, equipment, and materials.
“I am so proud of Caleb Robinson and all he has accomplished this year. He has stepped up as a leader in the Construction Technology program, represented the College at numerous college and career fairs, and spoken at high school visits. His passion for construction is so evident. It has been such a pleasure to watch it build within him as he soaks in as much knowledge as possible,” said Corey Menning, Construction Technology Assistant Professor.
Renner placed first in the Iowa SkillsUSA Power Equipment Technology Competition, which tests the student’s skills in all areas of this technology, including understanding both two- and four-cycle engines and the related theories that go along with the standard machines in the industry. They should also understand drive trains, hydraulic, electrical, and be able to read and interpret both electrical and hydraulic schematics and their symbols. Contestants also need to be well versed in customer service skills. As they rotate through the various stations, they are judged and scored on physical and verbal skills.
In addition to the first-place rankings, Iowa Lakes had three students who received a second or third place ranking: Jacob Stark (Council Bluffs, Iowa) earned second in Motorcycle Service Technology, Jagger Horken (South Sioux City, Neb.) placed third in Motorcycle Service Technology, and Dylan Short (Cherokee, Iowa) received second in Power Equipment Technology.
“The Iowa Skills USA Motorcycle Technology and Power Equipment Technology contests are an excellent way for our students to put the knowledge they have learned here at Iowa Lakes to the test,” explained Matt Bohl, Assistant Professor for Powersports & Power Equipment Technology.
Iowa Lakes students learn through a combination of hands-on training and classroom learning, preparing them to perform well in SkillsUSA competitions and, even more importantly, preparing them to start their careers with the skills needed to succeed. To learn more about the programs available at Iowa Lakes, please visit iowalakes.edu.
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal and workplace skills and technical skills grounded in academics. This SkillsUSA Framework empowers every student to succeed at work and in life while helping to close the skills gap in which millions of positions go unfilled. Through SkillsUSA’s championships program and curricula, employers have long ensured schools teach relevant technical skills. In addition, with SkillsUSA’s new credentialing process, they can now assess how ready potential employees are for the job. SkillsUSA has members nationwide in high schools, colleges, and middle schools, covering over 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education. We have served 13.9 million members since 1965. For more information: www.skillsusa.org. For more information about SkillsUSA Iowa, please visit https://skillsusaiowa.org.
PHOTO CAPTION 1: Iowa Lakes Community College students place at the Iowa SkillsUSA competition in Motorcycle Technology and Power Equipment Technology. Front From Left to Right: Jagger Horken (South Sioux City, Neb.), Isaac Bruggeman (Inwood, Iowa), Jacob Stark (Council Bluffs, Iowa). Back From Left to Right: Blake Renner (Aurelia, Iowa), and Dylan Short (Cherokee, Iowa).
PHOTO CAPTION 2: Caleb Robinson (Iowa Falls, Iowa), an Iowa Lakes Community College student, places first in the Carpentry category at the Iowa SkillsUSA competition.
PHOTO CAPTION 3: Student from Iowa Lakes Community College, Jacob Tuttle (Spirit Lake, Iowa), earns first place at the Iowa SkillsUSA competition in the Welding category.