The Transportation Technology Cluster at Oakland Schools Technical Campus-Southwest is revving up for a win! Auto Collision Instructor Dave Hollinger has spent the last couple of months refining his students’ skills, and in a few days from now he will be watching Joel Howard, one of his talented transportation techies, compete at the SkillsUSA State Championships Competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan (April 19-21).
Joel (Lakeland High School) did a phenomenal job of automotive refinishing at the regional competition level, earning him a 2nd place medal, prizes and an academic scholarship to Washtenaw Community College. Next stop: DeVos Place, where hundreds of high schoolers from across Michigan will compete in more than 75 career and technical contests of skill and speed. The contests are run under professional industry standards, and judged by experts in each field.
“SkillsUSA is the Olympics of Skilled Trades,” said Dave Hollinger. “I’m very proud of what we accomplish at OSTC-SW, and I’m very proud of Joel and the rest of our team.”
Joel appeared calm and composed about the upcoming event, and shared his ‘no sweat’ approach along with his instructor’s common sense advice. “Mr. Hollinger simply says, ‘Don’t quit – you don’t know how far you can go. If you mess up, just keep going!'”
SkillsUSA offers Career and Technical Education (CTE) students the chance to compete against each other regionally, state-wide and nationally for prizes and scholarships. The winners of next week’s state competition will have the opportunity to go on to the National Championships in Kansas City, Missouri in June.
“OSTC has a great automotive program,” Joel added. “It’s a fun program. I’ve learned how to paint cars, weld, do body-work, and do mechanical work. I’ve pulled four engines! My State of Michigan certifications are free, and the hands-on experience is priceless. My ultimate goal is to have my own body shop one day.”
Good Luck to Joel, and to all of our OSTC student competitors attending the SkillsUSA State Championships!
by Jean MacLeod, Communications/Oakland Schools
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