Thursday, April 9, 2009

Skills USA Pictures

I've tried to go back and put these pictures into some kind of coherent order, but Blogger seems to be intent upon thwarting my efforts, so they're coming to you just the way I uploaded them.


Here you see the beautiful creations of the culinary contestants. They will now be judged on presentation and flavor, as well as the technique that the judges observed during the competition.


You wouldn't necessarily think of investigating a crime scene as a trade, but it is, and these students are busy dusting for fingerprints and collecting evidence.

This is probably one of the most fascinating competitions, and the one I understood the least. It is "Mechatronics", which is the design and implementation of automation or robots in the production process. America is definitely going to need more of these guys as technology advances.
Now back to things that a lot of us see in our daily lives. This is new construction plumbing. Local businesses (and some nationwide sponsors) donate all of the materials, sinks, toilets, pipes, etc. for the students to use in the competition. These materials are then made available to the community at a very deep discount (so if you're working on a project, think Columbus next March after their SkillsUSA competition, and hopefully North Platte in March of 2011).

This is a fun little competition called the Metric 500, where students build and race Co2 cars. They are judged on the car itself, which must meet certain very detailed specifications as well as winning the race.
This is a diagram of what the contestants must build at the masonry competition.

And here are students at the very beginning of the competition.

This is a team of four students in what is called the "Team Builder" competition. They are given eight hours, and must complete an entire project which includes framing, windows, doors, wiring, plumbing, roofing and siding. This is one of the projects I think could be a spectator sport, or at the least a reality show that follows the students through training and competition. The competition even includes requisitioning and timing the delivery of the necessary materials.

Here is a competitor in the Construction contest. They bring their own hand tools, are given a set of plans, and they must "buy" the materials and build.

Where would we be without firefighters, and there's a competition as well as a written test for them, too.

These are contestants in the Cabinetry competition.
Auto Body Repair and Refinishing.
Here you see a wide shot of the Carpentry competition.
This is a problem solving contest. The teams were given a few materials and the problem of getting a golf ball from the table to the floor in 15 to 20 seconds - not more, not less.
My pictures here show only a tiny, tiny portion of the competitions within the SkillsUSA contests. Look at one of my previous posts on the topics to see a full list of the competitions.
North Platte High School sent 47 students to the contest, out of those, they received 25 medals, 16 academic achievement awards, 6 distinguished ambassador awards and sent 3 students on to Nationals - in welding, first aid/CPR, and sheet metal. Overall, North Platte has more SkillsUSA champions than all of the other programs in Nebraska put together! Way to go NPHS.

So there you have it, my last pitch for SkillsUSA. According to the advisors we spoke with, a team or school program is only as good as it's instructor. Industrial Arts instructors are becoming hard to find, with only one school in Nebraska offering a degree in Industrial Arts Education. I ask again, where is the next generation of home builders, auto mechanics, plumbers, electricians, firefighters going to come from? The advantages of these careers are many, including that talented students can begin earning good wages right out of high school or a two-year trade/technical/vocational school without crippling student loan debt.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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