FPTC students win SkillsUSA Gold

Pictured from left: Stephen Ealum, Tucker Alderman, JC Fears, Jeremy Worley, Tanner Carter, Jaden Clark, Tanya Taylor, Hannah Larsen, Curtis Green, Luke Coleman, Chase Aycock, Andrew Popchock, Sandi Aycock, and Ethan Clark

Twelve Florida Panhandle Technical College students were among participants of the Florida SkillsUSA State Championships held at Pensacola State College this week. Close to 2,000 students joined in the excitement of hands‑on competitions in more than 100 different trade, technical, and leadership fields that ranged from robotics, to cabinetmaking, to mechanical drafting.

Working against the clock and each other, the participants proved their expertise in job skills for their future occupations. The contests are planned by technical committees made up of representatives of each industry and are designed to test the skills needed for a successful entry into given occupational fields. In addition to competition, the event includes more than 6,000 visitors and industry representatives.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry, which work together to make sure America has a skilled workforce.  “Trade and technical jobs make up 75% of the workforce. There has often been an inferior stereotype about these careers which is very wrong. They are really amazing jobs that pay extremely well!” said Martha Compton, FTPC Director.

When the final scores were tallied, six FPTC students were called to the stage to receive their medals.  In the Cabinetmaking high school competition, JC Fears (who is dually-enrolled at Chipley High and FPTC) captured the Gold Medal and his classmate, Tucker Alderman also won gold in the postsecondary Cabinetmaking competition. Jaden Clark brought home the gold in Technical Drafting and Jeremy Worley placed 3rd with a Bronze Medal.  Chase Aycock (another dually-enrolled student from Chipley High in the FPTC Pharmacy Technician program) placed second in Medical Math.  And finally, Ethan Clark (Chipley High student enrolled in Electric Wiring) placed 3rd in Electrical Construction Wiring.  The gold medalists are preparing for the next level of competition at the National SkillsUSA in Louisville, Kentucky.

“All of our student competitors are winners,” said Martha Compton, FPTC Director.  “These students have been selected by their instructors for their technical skills, as well as their overall character and leadership. It’s extremely competitive and our students work hard in preparing for their contests. It gives them a real sense of pride and confidence to be selected to compete.  We are excited that Tyler Sallas and Taylor Roberts from our Drafting Program were elected as Florida SKillsUSA Officers.  FPTC prepares our students for leadership roles.”