(HOUSTON, Texas) – At least 100 students from Texas State Technical College’s campuses converged on Houston on Thursday, April 13, for the first day of the 2023 SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference.
SkillsUSA is a professional organization focused on employability, leadership and technical skills that 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 to Welding Sculpture.
Students attended the late-morning opening ceremony held at Houston Community College’s Central Campus. In addition to recognizing the ambassadors and contestants of SkillsUSA, encouraging words were given by various board members of both HCC and SkillsUSA.
The keynote speaker was Katie George, a former business and industry chair for the SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association and current director of national partnerships and ecosystems at Transfr Inc.
“Compete with every bit of knowledge you have, but also network with each other,” George said. “Learn from one another. Become friends with one another.”
George and the other speakers emphasized the importance of connecting with others and using the event as a foundation for growth.
Several TSTC students competed on Thursday afternoon in leadership events, including Automotive Quiz Bowl, Customer Service, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Job Interview.
Many TSTC students will compete on Friday, April 14, in hands-on skills competitions spread throughout Houston.
Jason Lind, a fourth-semester student in the Welding Technology program at TSTC’s East Williamson County campus, had confidence in his and his teammates’ ability to do well in their competitions. Lind will compete in the Welding Fabrication team event
“For the event they give us a blueprint of what they want to weld together,” Lind said. “We have to make sure the cuts and welds are to code. I think we are in a good spot to get in the top five, if not even higher.”
Lind had taken welding in high school, which sparked his interest in making a career out of it. He signed up for SkillsUSA after his advisor had brought up the subject with him.
“Our advisor talked to us about it, and they gave us the opportunity to be on a team,” Lind said. “I thought it would be a good experience and good for my resume, so I signed up.”
Austin Stowe, a Cybersecurity student at TSTC’s Marshall campus, will compete in the Information Technology Services contest. He said he learned about SkillsUSA from his Cybersecurity instructors and thought it sounded interesting.
Stowe said he looks forward to meeting new people at the conference and talking to industry representatives about job possibilities.
“I will be praying for it,” he said.
Remington Sipes, a Precision Machining Technology student at TSTC’s Marshall campus, will compete in the CNC 2-Axis Turning Program contest. Sipes said he saw the conference as a way to look for job opportunities.
“If I come and show up and show out, it will lead to great things,” Sipes said.
Sipes prepared for the conference through his classwork and his work in the machining field.
“I look forward to competing,” Sipes said. “I want to get gold and see what the national conference is like.”
The medals ceremony will close the state conference on Saturday morning at Houston Community College’s Central Campus.
Gold medalists are eligible to compete in the 2023 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference being held in June in Atlanta, Georgia.
For more information on SkillsUSA, go to skillsusa.org.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.