(MARSHALL, Texas) – The Precision Machining Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s Marshall campus is preparing to compete in SkillsUSA Texas Leadership & Skills Conference.
Daniel Nixon, lead instructor for Marshall’s Precision Machining Technology program, described SkillsUSA as the “super bowl” for technical colleges where students can display the skills that they have been learning, whether in precision machining, or elsewhere.
“It’s kind of like the super bowl, in a way, for two-year education to showcase what they’re learning and what they’re capable of doing,” he said. “To showcase their skills that they’re learning in technical aspects of the workforce.”
Precision machining, an industry Nixon described as taking raw material and precisely detailing it based on blueprints or sketches, has four different applicable competitions to compete in at SkillsUSA.
The students from TSTC’s Marshall campus that are attending will be competing in the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Turning Programmer competition.
According to skillsusa.org, this competition “evaluates each competitor’s ability to independently plan and program jobs for CNC turning centers and provide instructions for operators to execute.”
Second semester student Remington Sipes said when he competes in SkillsUSA his goal is to go as far in the competition as possible.
“I’d like to go out there and compete and see if I can go to nationals,” he said. “I like to think I’m decent at machining so (I’ll) just go in there and give my best and try to make nationals.”
Juan Cerda, also a second semester student planning to compete, said the same, but he also mentioned the benefits that competing and doing well could have for his future.
“The job opportunities that are offered by getting a high spot are really valued,” he said. “It makes it more worth the effort.”
Nixon said there are other ways that competing could benefit the students.
“It gets them prepared to be put under pressure like you would in industry,” he said. “It kind of puts a little bit of pressure on them to have to be able to get it done more efficiently than in the classroom. They get good practice of having to go out of their comfort zone and meet and introduce themselves to other people. Being prepared to be at the competition, making sure you have your resumes, you’re dressed accordingly, and being on time (is another benefit).”
Nixon said that the classes the students are taking this semester will help prepare them for the competition, but that they would have practice outside of class as well.
The SkillsUSA Texas competition will take place April 13-15. 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 of competition, ranging from 3D Visualization and Animation to Welding Sculpture.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.