This year, more Cuesta College students than ever before are eligible to participate in the 53rdAnnual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skill Conference, set to take place June 19-23 in Louisville, KY. A total of 12 students qualified for the competition, marking the 11th year in a row the college has qualified for the SkillsUSA national conference.

The 12 qualifying students recently returned from the SkillsUSA California 50th Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference, which was held April 20-23 in San Diego. In February, 33 Career Technical Education students became eligible to compete at the State level; 18 students took part in the recent State competition. All gold medalists are now qualified to advance to nationals.

The 2017 Cuesta College SkillsUSA California medalists are:

·       Gold: Richard Lock | Automotive Services Technology

·       Gold: Alexander Bissell | Digital Cinema Production

·       Gold: Collin Nuworsoo | Digital Cinema Production

·       Gold: Oziel Gutierrez | Electrical Construction Wiring

·       Gold: Tom Razo | Electronics Technology

·       Gold: Courtney Lawrie | Occupational Safety & Health (team of three)

·       Gold: Fernando Castillo | Occupational Safety & Health (team of three)

·       Gold: Drew Herman | Occupational Safety & Health (team of three)

·       Gold: Daniel MacFarlane | Related Technical Math

·       Gold: Michael Dye | Welding Fabrication (team of three)

·       Gold: Tyler Forbes | Welding Fabrication (team of three)

·       Gold: Robert Kohlbush | Welding Fabrication (team of three)

·       Silver: Matthew Perlette | Criminal Justice

·       Silver: Mark Rincon | Electrical Construction Wiring

·       Silver: Drew Herman | Related Technical Math

·       Bronze: Matt Larsen | Related Technical Math

·       Bronze: Ben Clark | Welding

·       Bronze: Fernando Castillo | Welding TIG

“For more than a decade, Cuesta College has had multiple students qualify for the national SkillsUSA competition, and this year we have seen the most students ever to qualify for advancement,” said John Stokes, Cuesta College’s engineering and technology division chair, who oversees the college’s SkillsUSA team. “We have been on the national podium every single year since 2006, and plan to continue the tradition with more Cuesta College students recognized as the best in the nation.”

Last year, Cuesta College sent seven students to the national championships; a team comprised of Joey Grant of Atascadero, Trevor Poindexter of San Luis Obispo, and William Dexter of Half Moon Bay, CA, took gold in Welding Fabrication, ranking them best in the nation.

Cuesta College has also competed on the global stage over the years. In August 2015, alumnus Michael Mullen represented the United States in Brazil while competing 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. 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.