During a hot, sticky week in June, thousands of students from technical high schools and colleges from around the country convened in Louisville, Ky., for a week of competitions and leadership training.
This year, Green Mountain Technology & Career Center in Hyde Park was represented by three state champions, including Jesse Hill of Jeffersonville, who took the gold medal in electrical construction wiring.
Shawna Beattie, from Morrisville, a student in the creative media and art design program, competed in photography, while Hunter Michaud, from Hardwick, competed in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning competition.
The SkillsUSA National Competition gives students who have already proven themselves the best in their home state a chance to test their mettle against the best of the rest of the country.
The three students spent the week networking with other students from across the country, as well as professionals in their industries.
Each contestant was given both written and oral exams about their trade and industry, but the real action was the skills tests. Beattie had to create a series of photos to reflect the theme of juxtaposition, while Michaud had to demonstrate his skills in soldering.
Hill had to demonstrate his wiring skills both in residential and commercial settings. The electrical competition took several days to complete.
Coming out of the first day of competition, Hill said, “I felt pretty confident. I was way ahead of the other competitors and I could see some mistakes they were heading into.”
At the end of the competition, Hill walked away with the championship. With the gold medal comes not only bragging rights for Hill, his instructor Dana Jourdan and the school, but also thousands of dollars worth of tools.
“I am pretty sure I won’t need a thing for quite some time. There is a lot of stuff in these boxes,” Hill said. “I am so thankful to Green Mountain Tech, especially my instructor Dana Jourdan.” Hill came to Green Mountain Tech his sophomore year and enrolled in the pre-technology program.
While in the program, Jesse explored the other programs at Green Mountain Tech and then applied for the Electrical Technology Program for his junior year. After a successful junior year in the program, he participated in Green Mountain Tech’s Cooperative Education program, worked as a second year electrical apprentice with Peak Electric and later for Local Electric, where he currently still works and is now a third year apprentice.
“He is part of the solution Lamoille County and Vermont needs to the problem of finding skilled workers,” wrote Green Mountain Tech assistant director Christian Damato. “Nearly every trade in the area is facing a crisis of not being able to find quality help. Many companies are scaling back the amount of jobs they are taking on because they are short-handed.”
The tech center isn’t just producing the skilled workers these industries need, Damato said, “they are producing champions.”