This year, 10 Cuesta College students are eligible to participate in the 54th Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skill Conference, set to take place June 25-29 in Louisville, KY. This marks the 12th year in a row the college has qualified for the SkillsUSA national conference.

The 10 qualifying students earned gold medals the SkillsUSA California 51st Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference, which was held April 19-22 in Ontario, CA. In February, 20 Career 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 2018 Cuesta College SkillsUSA California medalists are:

  • Gold: Alexandra Newsom | Criminal Justice
  • Gold: Milan Tolani | Early Childhood Education
  • Gold: Daniel Gowdy | Electrical Construction Wiring
  • Gold: Ben Braun | Information Technology Services
  • Gold: Mason Steiner | Plumbing
  • Gold: Jonathan Righetti | Welding
  • Gold: Barden Abatti | Welding Fabrication (team of three)
  • Gold: Michael Dye | Welding Fabrication (team of three)
  • Gold: Nicholas Hasch | Welding Fabrication (team of three)
  • Gold: Mikayla Stone | Welding Sculpture
  • Silver: Jeremy Fleming | Related Technical Math
  • Bronze: Edith Salgado | Early Childhood Education
  • Bronze: Nathan Heaston | Welding Oxy-Acetylene

The following Cuesta College students also competed at the State level:

  • Richard Lock | Automotive Service Technology
  • Eric Smith | Electrical Construction Wiring
  • Salome Fonseca | Welding
  • Alfredo Saucedo | Welding, Shielded Metal Arc
  • Andrew Winfrey | Welding, Shielded Metal Arc

“For more than a decade, Cuesta College has had multiple students qualify for the national SkillsUSA competition, and this year we’re once again heading to compete on the national stage,” 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.”

Donations can be made to support the students heading to nationals by visiting the Cuesta College Foundation web page and choosing ‘SkillsUSA’ from the gift designation drop down menu.

Last year, 12 Cuesta College students qualified for the national competition; student Daniel McFarlane brought home the gold in related technical math. In August 2015, alumnus Michael Mullen competed in the WorldSkills International competition, representing the United States in auto service technology. In 2011, former Cuesta College student Daniel Lehmkuhl competed in automobile technology at WorldSkills International in London. Both are San Luis Obispo natives.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. For more information on SkillsUSA, visit their website. For more information about Cuesta College’s Career Education Programs, visit