SUNY Morrisville faculty, staff and students assist contestants in Skills USA competition

A student works with auto parts during the SkillsUSA competition.
Published date
10 a.m.

When more than 900 students from various technical schools converged on the SUNY Morrisville campus for the annual Area II SkillsUSA competition, they were greeted by teams of enthusiastic SUNY Morrisville students, faculty and staff ready to assist and share stories about the college’s dynamic programs and facilities.

Among them was 18-year-old SUNY Morrisville agricultural engineering technology student Clark Young, who was assisting contestants in the power equipment competition. Not long ago, Clark was a contestant in a SkillsUSA automotive event, an experience which helped to solidify his career plans.

“Competing in Skills pointed me in the right direction,” said Young, who was chosen to compete while he was a student at Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES. “I saw the (Morrisville) facilities and decided I wanted to be more ag-based,” he said of his decision to expand his skills from automotive technology to agriculture and enroll in the college’s agricultural engineering technology program.

“Everything has come full circle for me,” Young said. “I love Skills. It is a great opportunity to showcase skills and meet a lot of new and great people.”

Networking has already landed the freshman a job at a farm where he will be working toward his career goal as a farm mechanic.

The annual SkillsUSA event featured students from technical schools and BOCES programs throughout the region who competed in more than 50 events within job fields that included culinary, health, leadership, construction, mechanics, and computer & communications.

Competitions, judged by SUNY Morrisville faculty, students, and industry and education representatives, expose participants to the college’s one-of-a-kind facilities and provide an opportunity for students to interact with prospective students.

“Skills is a benefit to contestants to see our students and to interact with them,” said Chip Ax, associate professor of agricultural engineering and diesel technology.

Also assisting at the event were partners from industry, including Anderson Equipment Company and the Department of Transportation. “This gives our students and contestants a chance to network and connect with our partners,” Ax said.  

For contestants, the day was a chance to not only showcase their skills, but also check out the college’s dynamic programs and facilities.

Automotive professors and students hosted various events, including automotive service technology, basic vehicle maintenance and motorcycle service repair in the college’s award-winning Automotive Technology Building.

The college’s Agricultural & Clean Energy Technology (ACET) Center was a hub of activity with contests that included diesel technology and power equipment technology.

Participants in carpentry, cabinetmaking, plumbing and electrical wiring competitions got a chance to work in the college’s Wood Products Technology Center, which houses its wood products technology and residential construction programs.  

Dean Mohammed, who was assisting with the carpentry contest, was among residential construction students who volunteered to judge and assist the carpentry competition.

“I can see myself in these contestants,” Mohammed said. “I see how much I have learned and grown as a student.”

The annual event also provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development while building and reinforcing self-confidence, work ethics and communication skills.

The day culminated with an awards ceremony recognizing the top three finishers from each contest. Scholarship opportunities are available to SkillsUSA regional participants who choose to attend SUNY Morrisville.