UCC took gold in welding and second and third in the automotive contest during the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference at Camp Withycombe on March 15 to 16 in Clackamas. UCC has been competing in association with SkillsUSA since 1985.

Derek Meier took first for gold in the welding category. Ian Fisher is the lead welding instructor for the current 26 students in UCC’s program. In the automotive category, Garrett Wene won second and Kelton Sivola won third. Kevin Mathweg is the automotive instructor for roughly 21 students.

“The students need to be at a comprehensive caliber to go to the competition. There are about 88 statewide competitions,” Mathweg said.

Sivola, who won third, prepared for the competition with labs in class and homework assignments although he was surprised that he took place. “I’ve always had a passion for cars. The program prepares you for going out to get in a shop, and the knowledge you won’t realize you need until you need it,” Sivola said. “I’m already placed at Clint Newell.”

The automotive department, as well as its students, is advancing. It now has Subaru as a new manufacture sponsorship. “Most people think all we have is Toyota, and that’s not true since we now have Subaru, Ford, Fiat and Chrysler (which also means Dodge, Jeep & Ram) sponsorship,” Mathweg said.

More about SkillsUSA is located the SkillsUSA website.