Waco Auto Collision and Management Technology

(WACO, Texas) – More than 60 students from Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus are preparing to put their know-how to the test.

The students will compete at the 2024 SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference taking place from Thursday, April 18, to Saturday, April 20, in Houston.

“This year we have quite a few students competing in different contests, which shows the versatility of our students and their instructors who mentor them,” said Abby Ford, a SkillsUSA coordinator for the Waco campus.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization focused on employability, leadership and technical skills that can help college students pursue successful careers and be part of a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA has more than 100 categories in which students can compete, from 3D Visualization and Animation to Welding Sculpture.

Esme Guerrero, of Comanche, is an Auto Collision and Management Technology student who will compete in the Automotive Refinishing Technology contest. She is familiar with SkillsUSA, having participated while in high school.

“It is another opportunity to expand my network,” Guerrero said. “For me, it’s not about the medal, but expanding on what you get to know.”

Guerrero said she has been preparing by watching YouTube and social media videos on refinishing and reviewing hands-on lessons from classes.

“When I’m in the (paint) booth in my suit, it makes me very happy,” she said.

Chad Robertson, of Belton, is a Building Construction Technology student who will take part in the Carpentry contest. He has valuable SkillsUSA experience, having competed at the state and national levels as a student representing Belton High School.

“I think at the college level I have a better chance,” Robertson said. “Over the years I think I have figured out how to win at nationals.”

Robertson has trained for the state contest on Fridays at the college’s Building Construction Technology building.

Tate Stroud, of Cameron, is a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology student taking part in the Heavy Equipment Operation contest. It will be his first time being involved in SkillsUSA.

For Stroud, the conference is more about the experience and including it on his resume.

“When I was a kid, I always wanted to play with the big toys,” he said. “I like driving and getting dirty.”

Waco students will also compete in Additive Manufacturing, CNC 3-Axis Milling, Technical Drafting, and other contests.

Gold medalists are eligible to compete at the 60th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference being held from Monday, June 24, to Friday, June 28, in Atlanta, Georgia.

For more information on SkillsUSA Texas, go to skillsusatx.org.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu

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