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Skills USA students dominate competition

UCC Skills USA competitors placed in a record number of events. Automotive students swept their division.
Photo provided by Amanda Haines, UCC Marketing Coordinator
UCC Skills USA competitors placed in a record number of events. Automotive students swept their division.

Students from UCC’s automotive service technology, welding, commercial baking, technical math and technical drafting departments recently competed in the SkillsUSA Oregon competition. The SkillsUSA group is a collaboration of students, teachers and members of industry working to ensure that the United States continues to have a workforce with the requisite skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. The competition took place on April 25 and 26 at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas.

UCC did well in each of the events. In the Automotive Service Technology, the group from UCC swept the first through fourth positions, with Anthony DaCosta taking first, Erin McCall-O’Dell taking second, Charles Martin taking third and Josette Erdell taking fourth.

In the welding category, Jessica Powell placed first.

The commercial baking category saw Jessica Stout take first place while Phili Kailiawa took second.

Chef Instructor Cody Perry was proud of his competitors “They were given three different tasks and we were not aware of what the tasks were. They were given four hours to do it. They were supposed to make a peach pie and make their own dough. After that, they made a red velvet cake, and they had to decorate it with cream cheese icing. The last thing was to make croissants,” Perry said. “They did very good. They followed the cooking procedures very nicely. They stayed clean and organized. I couldn’t ask for anything more from them.”

In related technical math, first place went to John May and Keenen Blanchfill took second.

Blanchfill, 20 years old and a mechanical engineering major, enjoyed the experience, despite the grueling nature of his division.

“[Technical math] is more problem solving, what you would see in the workplace if an employer gave you a problem. There was a lot of trig, trigonometric relationships, a lot of percentages and ratios.”

May and Blanchfill had to complete 50 problems in four hours, with no breaks.

“It was four straight hours. I forgot a calculator too,” Blanchfill said, laughing, “This kid loaned me his spare, this ancient calculator, but he finished way before me so I ended up doing most of it by hand. It was a good experience. We stayed in a hotel and UCC paid for it all. It was great. It was fun.”

Finally, in technical drafting, Carson Doerres took second.

Clay Baumgartner, Associate professor of engineering, was happy to see a number of competitors from his department. “We were glad to see the level of participation in all the different categories. 6 students went this year. We’re hoping to build on what we saw this year.”

Each of the students who placed first in their division became eligible to compete in the SkillsUSA National competition, scheduled to take place on June 23 to 27 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Perry was excited that one of his bakers will compete on the national stage. “Jessica [Stout], if she wants to go, she can attend. It is her choice if she wants to go. If not, then that would give Phili [Kailiawa] the opportunity.”