Students put skills to the test

The Skills USA competition hosted by Sowela Technical Community College brought together students from 13 schools to compete in over 30 trade and skill categories on Thursday, April 19, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer
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Sowela Technical Community College hosted the Skills USA statewide competition on Thursday. The two-day event brought together students from all 13 schools in the Louisiana Community and Technical College system to compete in over 30 trade and skill categories. Gold medal winners from the state competition will advance to the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky this summer.

 The Skills USA competition focuses on both the technical skills and soft skills necessary to be a successful employee. Students compete in categories such as culinary arts and restaurant service. “We focus on creating not only skilled workers but also good employees,” said Carly Dartez, coordinator of external affairs and alumni relations for LCTCS.

Skills USA works to bridge the labor gap in Louisiana, explained Dartez. All contests are run with the help of trade and labor organizations and are judged based on real industry standards.  Students are able to give employers a first-hand look at what they can actually do. 

Sowela student government president and Skills USA state president, Brookin Alexander said, participation in Skills USA shows that students are exceptional and willing to go “above and beyond” in the development of their craft. Alexander applauded his fellow competitors saying, regardless of the competition results, involvement alone shows they have “stick-to-it-ness.” “Basically, you’ve already won a personal battle and you should congratulate yourself,” encouraged Alexander.

Dartez was pleased that Sowela would be hosting the event because its campus offerings allow for unique competitions.  “This is the first year we’re having an aviation competition. We’re really excited about that!” she said. Dr. Neil Aspinwall, Chancellor of Sowela, was proud of not only his campus but also of the students participating. “We’re really going to roll out the red carpet. You are the best of best in the state, but watch out for those Sowela students!” he exclaimed.

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