College students who have gained prowess in their particular trade have one opportunity each year to demonstrate their ability: SkillsUSA, held in Bangor each March at the United Technologies Center and Eastern Maine Community College. This year, Washington County Community College (WCCC) mustered four students from three separate fields – each of them bringing home a medal.
Returning to reprise his Gold-medal winning performance last year was WCCC student Clint Dakin, who once again placed Gold in Power Equipment Technology. A veteran of the SkillsUSA competition, having previously attended as a high school student while living in Stockton Springs, Dakin is well-regarded by his instructors. “Clint is what all employers in my industry are looking for: young, conscientious, hard-working and reliable,” Powersports instructor Greg Johnson said. “When it comes to Power sports and small engines they are his passion, and he will excel in whatever field he chooses.”
Joining Dakin as a Gold medal winner this year was Robert Demmons, who proved his prowess in Heavy Equipment Operations. Jewel Hawkins earned a Silver Medal in Electrical Construction Wiring, and Karl Nicholas received a Bronze Medal in Electrical Construction Wiring.
“This my first experience with SkillsUSA Maine and I was impressed by the work of our four students,” shared Melvin Adams, WCCC Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Services. “Our electrical students were at the site from 6:15 a.m. until noon and had a difficult installation to complete. Their ability to compete for more than five hours illustrates our faculty members commitment to ensuring that our students are prepared to enter the workforce.”
Competing in SkillsUSA is a valuable experience whether or not students receive medals, explains Adams. “The SkillsUSA Maine competition provided Washington County Community College students the opportunity to not only compete in their specific field, but the opportunity to meet and interact with their peers and professionals working in the field.”
More than 950 college and high school students competed in their respective events for Skills USA this year. WCCC President Susan Mingo stated, “Our student medalists are demonstrative of the expertise our faculty impart daily within their programs, and the level of professionalism and skill our graduates possess in high-demand career fields relevant to today’s workforce needs. WCCC is proud of each of our student medalists for their commitment to their chosen field of study, and we are confident they will be strong competitors when they advance to the national level in June.”