SkillUSA Nationals WinnersA team of three Cuesta College welding students brought home the gold from the 52nd Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) held in Louisville, KY, June 20-June 24, 2016, placing first in the Welding Fabrication competition.

The team, comprised of Joey Grant of Atascadero, Trevor Poindexter of San Luis Obispo, and William Dexter of Half Moon Bay, CA, built a large tool box with a removable tray intended for use at a construction job site. The contestants were required to submit a design set of drawings and fabricate the project in 6.5 hours.

“Time and time again, Cuesta College’s Career Technical Education students prove to be the best in the nation,” said John Stokes, Cuesta College’s engineering and technology division chair who oversees the college’s SkillsUSA team. This marks the tenth year in a row that Cuesta College students have placed on the SkillsUSA national podium.

Five other Cuesta College students competed at NLSC this year:

  • 4th place: Related Technical Math – John Creedon (Templeton)
  • 14th place: Culinary Arts – Noah Yoshida (Paso Robles)
  • 15th place: Carpentry – Nathen DeFreest (San Antonio, TX)
  • 27th place: Electrical Construction Wiring – Colby Mathe (Paso Robles)

In April, a total of 12 Cuesta College CTE students medaled at the SkillsUSA California 49th Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference. Cuesta College students routinely place at the State and national competitions, and twice have competed in the WorldSkills International competition. In August 2015, alumnus Michael Mullen traveled to Brazil to represent the United States in auto service technology, and in 2011, former Cuesta College student Daniel Lehmkuhl competed in automobile technology in London.

SkillsUSA teaches students the technical skills required for employment in Career Technical Educational fields, along with the soft-skills required in the workplace. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. For more information on SkillsUSA, click here.

Photo Caption: Cuesta College's 2016 Welding Fabrication Team (left to right) students Joey Grant, Trevor Poindexter and William Dexter. Far right is faculty advisor and Cuesta College Welding Instructor Michael Fontes.