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SkillsUSA State Conference

Minnesota state colleges captured gold, silver and bronze medals for 213 college division students at the SkillsUSA Minnesota 2012 State Leadership and Skills Conference, March 23 – 25, 2012, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington. Three students from Minneapolis Community and Technical College placed in the top three in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) and industrial motors categories.

Conference participants“It felt good to represent our program in the competition,” says Chad Rubey, MCTC student and first place winner in the HVAC-R category.

During the competition, students from 27 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations like welding, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. All contests are run with the help of more than 500 industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry.

Rubey will be among the 200 student competitors and advisors representing 39 colleges and high schools advancing to the 48th National Leadership & Skills Conference, which will be held June 23-27 in Kansas City, MO. High school and college students will compete separately but perform the same procedures.

Preparation for the state competition begins in the classroom and according to Ian Tanttari, second place winner in the HVAC-R category, his education at MCTC paved the way for his participation. “Without the program at MCTC, I wouldn’t have been able to compete at all,” says Tanttari. Mike Johnson, second place winner in the industrial motors category and student in MCTC's construction electricity program, had a similar perspective.  “Without going to MCTC I would not be in the competition," he says.

Conference participantsThrough SkillsUSA competitions, students have the chance to test their skills against industry standards required for job acquisition. “My favorite part about the competition was talking to the judges afterwards and hearing what a current employer thought I should work on,” says Pat McNamara, competitor in the industrial motors controls category.

The opportunity to participate in the competition also means a chance for students to build their credibility. “The simple act of competing looks good on a resume and most employers recognize that the students who compete and place in the top three are the outstanding students in their graduating class,” says Greg Skudlarek, HVAC-R instructor at MCTC.

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industries, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA chapters help students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations excel. SkillsUSA has more than 300,000 students and instructors as members.

For more information, visit www.mnskillsusa.org.