Two Inola students qualify for State SkillsUSA Competition

Two Inola students qualify for State SkillsUSA Competition
Posted on 02/09/2016
Galen Yocham advances to the SkillsUSA State Precision Machining Competition.
Northeast Technology Center students Mason Gibson and Galen Yocham – both of Inola – traveled to Tulsa Tech’s Broken Arrow Campus on Wednesday for the Precision Machining regional competition through SkillsUSA. Gibson and Yocham are enrolled in the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Program at Northeast Technology Center’s Claremore Campus, and both walked away winners.

“I am really proud of these guys, because it was a tough competition,” said CAM instructor Shawn Christian. “We were competing against Tulsa Tech students on their home turf, and while it’s a friendly rivalry, it feels good to walk away with the win.”

SkillsUSA is a national student organization that offers training and career opportunities through annual competitions. Depending on the program, students may compete at regional, state or national levels.

“At this first level of competition, students have to place first or second to advance to the state level competition,” Christian said. “The guys did great, but having a few more weeks of practice before the state competition will help them sharpen their skills. The competition only gets tougher from here.”

Precision Machining is one of the categories that requires a qualifying regional, and as first place finishers, Gibson and Yocham advance to the state competition. NTC students will compete in two other categories in addition to Precision Machining – CNC Mill and CNC Lathe – however these do not require a regional qualifier.

“In total, we’ll have six students representing us at the SkillsUSA State Competition, and I hope to take every one of them to nationals this summer” said Christian. “Competing against their peers will only make them better machinists, and they’ll also be able to make professional connections that can result in great career opportunities.”

The CAM Program is only offered at NTC’s Claremore Campus, and enrollment is now underway for the 2016-2017 school year.

“Machining is not what most people might think,” said Christian. “Our shop is full of high-tech computer equipment, and the job options are both endless and lucrative.” 

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