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Engineering Technology Students Earn Medals at National SkillsUSA Competition

SkillsUSA ChampionshipsSix Ferris State University College of Engineering Technology students competed in late June at the SkillsUSA Championships in Kansas City, Mo.

Students Matt Haan, of Lowell, and Andy Doane, of Muskegon, earned medals while a three-person student team narrowly missed a medal with a fourth-place finish in the Automated Manufacturing contest. Haan earned a gold medal in Technical Drafting while Doane won a silver medal in Diesel Equipment Technology.

Each SkillsUSA Championships contestant is a state-level gold medalist.

“I am extremely proud of our students and the Ferris faculty and staff that assisting students in gaining a real-world education that leads to a lifetime career,” said lead advisor and trainer Daniel Wanink, a professor in Ferris’ CAD Drafting and Tool Design Technology program. “These contest results continue to prove that Ferris State University is one of the best schools in the nation for training our future workforce.”

Wanink noted that several Ferris students earned a Skill Point Certificate at nationals. The certificate recognizes SkillsUSA members who achieve national industry-defined scores at SkillsUSA Championships.

“The award is the pinnacle achievement in the Work Force Ready System for SkillsUSA students,” Wanink said. “To earn the certificate, students participated in authentic assessments demonstrating, in real time, their knowledge and hands-on abilities.”

The competition, occupying a space of more than 700,000 square feet, tests the skills of all gold medal winners from each state.

“You may want to think of this as the Olympics for knowledge and skills,” Wanink said. “The national contest is one of the nation’s largest industry-supported events and is quite a commitment to the best and brightest of our young people.”

The weeklong SkillsUSA national conference typically hosts more than 15,000 people. Attendees include business partners, students and teachers. More than 6,000 career and technical education students compete in 99 different leadership, technical and trade fields. In timed and competitive events, students showcase their expertise in computer-aided drafting, culinary arts, electronics, medical assisting and precision machining.

SkillsUSA Championships, first held in 1967, are made possible through industry support. Test competencies are established by industry. The contest has grown from 54 competitors in three contests to, in 2014, more than 6,000 competitors in 99 hands-on skill and leadership contests. The SkillsUSA Championships feature approximately 1,100 judges from business and labor.