SkillsUSA competition held at Carson City’s WNC
Western Nevada College hosted nearly two dozen welding students Thursday for the SkillsUSA state finals competition.
Twenty seven high school and post secondary students from all over the state competed in the welding finals in Carson City. The students were tested on a number of categories including oxy-acetylene cutting, gas metal arc welding, shielded metal arc welding and gas arc welding. They also had to complete an interview and written test.
“It’s important because while welding is the main reason we are here, they also have to do an interview with a resume, so we are also building real world skills to help them be better people too,” said WNC welding instructor Randy Naylor.
For Naylor, hosting the competition is a great way to showcase WNC and allow students to see the opportunities the school offers in trades such as welding.
“It is great for us to be able to showcase the facility and the programs available here so the larger community can see what we do here,” Naylor said.
The welding competition is only one part of the Skills USA finals. The state finals ran Wednesday and Thursday in Reno and Carson City and included competitions for a variety of categories from photography to architectural drafting to leadership skills.
“It is an organization that supports students to get engaged in different trades and to take pride in their work and pride in being good Americans,” said SkillsUSA board of directors Alex Kyser. “We promote good work ethics and leadership skills to help the students get good jobs and be successful.”
Kyser said they hope SkillsUSA will allow students to explore additional opportunities while they are still in high school for different trades as well as helping build the students’ leadership and work skills.
For one student, welding has changed her life.
“When I took (my first welding class) I fell in love,” said Atila Gomez. “It goes God, my family and welding for the important things in my life. There is no love like it.”
Gomez is a student at Desert Rose High School in Las Vegas. She had never intended to get into welding, but when a counselor told her she needed an elective course Gomez happened upon the hobby.
“I was sitting in the counselor’s office, staring at the wall and I saw (a poster) and all I saw was sparks and a hood and I said that is what I want to do,” Gomez said.
This year will be Gomez’s first welding competition, though it has been a struggle.
“I am like a grandma, I like to take my time with everything to make sure it is precise and make sure it looks good because it is a representation of you,” Gomez said. “A competition state of mind is a bit of a disadvantage (for me) but I still like it.
“But now I am here and it is amazing, I never thought this would be possible. It is cool… it has changed my life and it can change others too.”
At the end of the competition all of the scores are compiled and the champions from all categories are announced at an awards ceremony today.
For more information on the organization visit http://www.nvskillsusa.org.