Career skills showcased at TCTC

Skills USA Regional Competition

CHAMPION — About 500 juniors and seniors showcased their career skills at the annual Skills USA Northeast Ohio Regional championships, hosted by the Trumbull Career and Technical Center.

Bob Bonish, program supervisor for trade, industry and agriculture at TCTC, said there were 19 schools with 490 students competing in 38 contests.

He said students qualify at their local school for the regional event.

“There are students who compete against four or 12 others in their competition. This event gives the students the chance to showcase their talents. We have employers here who are judges who are looking at the work they are doing on the floor. In past years we have had some students get job offers,” Bonish said.

The all-day event had competitors showing their technical skills in electrical, welding, auto collision, construction, cosmetology, and in non-skills areas such as presentations and speaking.

Bonish said there are five career centers, including Trumbull, Ashtabula and Mahoning, which make up the region.

First-, second- and third-place winners will advance to the state event April 24 and 25 in Columbus and if successful there, move to the national event in Louisville, Ky., in June.

Jarrod Ladd, a former public safety program student now employed in security, served as a judge for the traffic stop category watching how students handled a mock traffic stop and the procedures they followed.

“It is a totally different perspective being a judge. You can see the work the students have done and what they have learned,” Ladd said.

Chris DeSantis of Quint’s Auto Body in Boardman, was a judge for auto collision and watched what students were able to complete in a specified period of time in repairing a vehicle.

“We know what to look for having worked in the real world,” he said.

Jim Martin, a retired police officer from Howland, said it was exciting to see what students have learned and how they were able to demonstrate that.

Martin judges the crime scene investigation competition where students had to gather, bag and seal evidence and log the information and then write a narrative.

“I watched them assess the scene, collect evidence which included one piece that had to be fingerprintable,” he said.

Interior design students Imari Cowan of Summit Academy and Autumn Jarome of Weathersfield, both seniors, created a bulletin board to promote the TCTC in front of the judges with the theme “Job Ready Day.”

This was the first time the two have competed at the competition and noted they will be the last for the interior design program which will be discontinued after the end of the current school year.

“We have learned a lot in the class. It is interesting to be the last group of students in the class,” Jarome said.

“We want to leave our mark and do well today,” Cowan said.

Public safety students Justin Wagner of Champion, Madison Westfall of Bristol and Riley Reed of Maplewood earned first-place gold awards for crime scene investigation.

They said the competition helps show what real- world jobs will be like.

“We listened to our teachers and what we should do,” Reed said.