A total of 14 Cuesta College students are eligible to participate in the SkillsUSA California 49th Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference, scheduled for March 31 - April 3, 2016, in San Diego. This is the tenth year in a row the college has qualified for the SkillsUSA California conference.

“This year marks a decade that Cuesta College has been qualifying for SkillsUSA competitions, and every year we continue to prove that our programs, faculty and students are the best of the best,” said John Stokes, Cuesta College’s engineering and technology division chair, who oversees the college’s SkillsUSA team.

The 14 qualifying Career Technical Education students participated in 11 different competitions at a regional competition held at Paso Robles High School on February 6, 2016. Students from the counties of Fresno, Kings, Kern, Tulare, San Benito, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo competed in 81 separate contests.

The Cuesta College state qualifiers are:

  • Gold medal: Daniel DeGeorge, Automotive Refinishing
  • Gold medal: Nathan Defreest, Carpentry
  • Gold medal: Scott Curry, Collision Repair
  • Gold medal: Noah Yoshida, Culinary Arts
  • Gold medal: Alex Godoy, Electrical Construction Wiring
  • Gold medal: Daniel Cadwell, Electronics Technology
  • Gold medal: Jon Hovdal, Information Technology Services
  • Gold medal: Team of Dan Cadwell, Zack Hymas, and Fernando Castillo, Occupational Safety & Health
  • Gold medal: John Creedon, Related Technical Math
  • Gold medal: Team of Joey Grant, Trevor Poindexter, and William Dexter, Welding Fabrication
  • Silver medal: Fernando Castillo, Automotive Technology
  • Silver medal: Jose Limon, Electrical Construction Wiring

SkillsUSA teaches students the technical skills required for employment in Career Technical Educational fields, along with the soft-skills required in the workplace.

The national championships, where all state gold medalists will be invited to compete, is set for June 20-24, 2016, in Louisville, KY. In June 2015, Cuesta College sent four students to the national championships; Grace Stokes placed first in the Prepared Speech competition.

Recent alumnus Michael Mullen competed in the WorldSkills International competition in August 2015. Mullen represented the United States in auto service technology. In 2011, former Cuesta College student Daniel Lehmkuhl competed in automobile technology at WorldSkills International in London.

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.