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More than 130 students represent MCC at statewide competition

Every April, students from all over Nebraska converge in Grand Island to put their skills and talents to the test in a variety of categories that include trades, arts and academics.

The 2019 SkillsUSA Nebraska State Leadership Conference was held April 11-13. Students from Nebraska high schools and colleges competed for the chance to advance to the national conference in Louisville, Kentucky in the summer.

More than 130 students represented Metropolitan Community College at this year’s state conference in categories such as photography, electrical technology, public speaking and more. 
The state conference is a great way for students to show off their knowledge and skill against others like them in the state, says Trevor Secora, Construction Science instructor who had seven students competing in SkillsUSA.

“They really get to showcase their talents against their peers,” Secora says. “They get to see how they stand among the best of the best.”

Zach Pechacek, SkillsUSA coordinator for MCC, said this opportunity is great for students not only to see how they stack up among people their own age, but also appeal to people in the industry looking for new hires.

“It’s the best job interview in the world,” Pechacek says. 

Students start preparing months in advance for their designated competitions, often coming in before and after class to practice and perfect their craft. Many MCC students felt confident following their competitions, with many placing first, second or third in their groups.

Bill Gray, Leah Reichwaldt and Kevin Bang, all MCC Welding students, competed in Welding Fabrication, placing second overall. The group had to build a rocket stove, a stove that gets hot without any flame. The group felt good about how they performed.

“We have to use teamwork, time management and safety. Plus, we had to use three welding processes,” Reichwaldt says. 

Gray says representing MCC at SkillsUSA is exciting, as it brings awareness to trades as a career choice for many.

“It’s good to represent the College, and it’s bringing awareness to welding in general,” he explains. “We want to make people realize it’s OK to use your hands for your career.”