Twelve Cuesta College Career Technical Education students medaled at the SkillsUSA California 49th Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference, held March 31 - April 3, 2016, in San Diego. The students competed in eight categories and nabbed seven gold medals and one bronze. The 11 gold medalists are now qualified to advance to the 52nd Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skill Conference in Louisville, KY, June 20-24, 2016. This is the tenth year in a row the college has qualified for the SkillsUSA national conference.

“For a solid decade, Cuesta College has had multiple students qualify for the national SkillUSA competition, and every year we have come back with national champions. We plan to continue the tradition and return from Kentucky with more Cuesta College students recognized as the best in the nation,” said John Stokes, Cuesta College’s engineering and technology division chair, who oversees the college’s SkillsUSA team.

The 2016 Cuesta College SkillsUSA California medalists are:

  • Gold medal: Nathan Defreest / Carpentry
  • Gold medal: Scott Curry / Collision Repair
  • Gold medal: Noah Yoshida / Culinary Arts
  • Gold medal: Colby Mathe / Electrical Construction Wiring
  • Gold medal: Team of Dan Cadwell, Fernando Castillo and Zack Hymas / Occupational Safety & Health
  • Gold medal: John Creedon / Related Technical Math
  • Gold medal: Team of William Dexter, Joey Grant and Trevor Poindexter / Welding Fabrication
  • Bronze medal: Jon Hovdal / Information Technology Services

In February, a total of 14 Cuesta College students qualified to participate in this year’s SkillsUSA California conference via 11 different competitions at a regional competition held at Paso Robles High School.

Last year, Cuesta College sent four students to the national championships; Grace Stokes placed first in the Prepared Speech competition. In August 2015, recent alumnus Michael Mullen represented the United States in auto service technology at the WorldSkills International in Brazil. In 2011, former Cuesta College student Daniel Lehmkuhl competed in automobile technology at WorldSkills International 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. The organization 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.