Gadsden State Community College students competing at the Alabama SkillsUSA Leadership Conference held in Birmingham earned gold, silver, and bronze medals. In addition, one student was awarded a workforce development scholarship. The gold medal winners advanced to compete at the 49th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of career and technical education students held in Kansas City.
Three of the state-level gold medal winners placed in the top 10 at the national competition. Bradly Higdon (Higdon) placed 4th in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration; the team of Corey Hollingsworth (Alexandria), Matt McNew (Ohatchee), and Wade McDaniel (Hokes Bluff) placed 7th in Automated Manufacturing Technology; and Drake Weaver (Crossville / pictured) placed 10th in Auto Collision Repair. Austin Leak (Horton) placed 12th in Auto Refinishing. Higdon also received a $2,000 state workforce development scholarship in addition to winning the gold medal. Chris Woodfin (Leesburg) won a silver medal in Architectural Drawing.
“We are extremely proud of all our students who competed in the state Skills USA competition. Their dedication to excellence is evident as is that of the instructors preparing these champions of tomorrow’s workforce,” said Tim Green, dean of technical education and workforce development. These students represent the Ayers, East Broad and Valley Street campuses of Gadsden State. Instructors for these students include: Kristi Clifton (Men’s Hair Design), Robin Cochran (Esthetics/Cosmetology), Tim Hardy (HVACR), Zora Garner (Nail Care), Dave Hyatt (Architectural Drawing), Joe Mashburn (Collision Repair and Automotive Refinishing), David Smith (CNC Turning/Automotive Manufacturing Technology), Tony Thrower (Industrial Motor Controls and Residential/Construction Wiring), and Melinda White (Cosmetology).
The Skills USA competition is a partnership among students, teachers, schools, and industry working together to showcase talent. The national organization for college/postsecondary technical students enrolled in trade, technical, and skilled service profession instructional programs including allied health occupations represents more than 300,000 students in 130 different occupational areas.