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Area High School Students Compete in SkillsUSA Competition at WKCTC

Paducah, KY (March 3, 2017) – Twenty-one area high school students were on the campus of West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) March 3 to participate in the SkillsUSA regional welding and computer machining and manufacturing (CMM) competitions.

Participating welding students represented area technology centers or career technology centers (ATC or CTC) in Marshall, Graves, Murray/Calloway, McCracken and Fulton counties. CMM students represented Murray/Calloway ATC and Mayfield/Graves ATC.  Students were tested in discipline and each student had to perform a list of prescribed tasks within a given time.

Seventeen welding students competed in a beginner or advanced level. Tallou McClure of Mayfield/Graves County ATC won the beginner level winning a Radnor auto darkening welding hood donated by Airgas. Alex Hamlet from Marshall County CTC won the advanced level winning a $500 scholarship to WKCTC in allied technologies. The first and second runner-up welding competitors in each level received welding gear.

“We actually reference welding codes to judge the competition and use basic layout principles...just like they were fabricating something in industry. It’s as true to life as anything that they could do; it’s like they’re at work,” said Virgil Holland, WKCTC welding program coordinator.

Four students participated in the CMM competition with Jacob Morgan from the Mayfield/Graves County ATC winning a $500 scholarship to WKCTC in applied technologies.

“It made me feel really good. It was a big difference being in a machine shop doing actual work and competing against people. It was pretty tough, but I’m glad I could get the job done,” said Morgan.

Murray/Calloway ATC instructor Dallas Pruitt said students competing on the WKCTC campus for SkillsUSA is important for more than one reason.

“Of course we like them to be competitive and this gives them something to really strive toward....but getting them in here and them being able to see what a college machine tool program looks like and the machines they use here on this campus, I think it’s a huge recruitment tool for West Kentucky Community and Technical College.”

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.

Winners of the March 3 competition at WKCTC are eligible to compete at the SKillsUSA state competition held in Louisville in April.