SALISBURY, N.C. – Three students from Rowan Cabarrus Community College captured top 10 honors at this year’s national SkillsUSA competition held recently in Atlanta. Joe Guza and Joshua Wood won first place medals, and Kyle Benkendorf, placed sixth at the event.
The 58th SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference brought together approximately 5,200 outstanding career and technical education state contest winners to compete in more than 100 different hands-on trade, technical and leadership fields.
Guza won a gold medal in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R), Wood won a gold medal in sheet metal, and Benkendorf captured sixth place in industrial motor control. They competed in the College Post-Secondary Division.
“Congratulations to these dedicated students on their outstanding skills and performance,” said Joe Christie, program chair for construction technologies programs at Rowan-Cabarrus. “They came out on top while competing with the best in the nation, and that is no small feat.”
During the national competition, students worked against the clock and each other to prove their expertise in a variety of occupation areas such as construction trades, electronics, precision machining, automotive, welding and medical assisting. Contests were executed with the support of industry, trade associations and labor organizations.
North Carolina students earned the third-highest medal count in the nation, with 24 gold, 9 silver, and 31 bronze medallions.
This year’s Rowan-Cabarrus SkillsUSA advisors were Ryland Perry, Brandon Reese, Brandon Hoffner, Lori Safrit, Carl Smith, Jon Crockett, Joe Christie, Larry Newcomb and James Hauss.
“We are extremely proud of these three students for the skill they have developed in their chosen fields of study,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Rowan-Cabarrus encourages students to take advantage of opportunities to expand their learning beyond the classroom. Involvement in organizations like SkillsUSA helps them take their education and career aspirations to the next level.”
SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce by providing students with opportunities to gain personal, career and technical skills grounded in academics. The organization has more than 350,000 student and instructor members at the national level.