June 30, 2022

Austin Covell - SkillsUSA

Austin Covell - SkillsUSA

Hello, My name is Austin Covell, I live in White River Junction, Vermont and I am a junior at Hartford High School. I also attend the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC) where I am enrolled in the Collision Repair and Refinishing Program. I wanted to inform you about an amazing organization called SkillsUSA and my experience with the organization.  This is an organization that  helps better the workplace as well as the skills and future of students.

SkillsUSA is an organization with over 13,000 school chapters located in the United States that helps students that are enrolled in a Career and Technical program to excel.  This organization has many different competitions that students in each state can compete in. For each competition there is a Gold 1st place winner, a Silver 2nd place winner, and a Bronze 3rd place winner. The Gold 1st place winner of each state has the opportunity to compete at the National level.  There is also the opportunity for scholarships, tools and other helpful prizes for top placed finishers. 

I live in Vermont so I competed with students from different schools around the state. I had the chance to compete in two competitions, the Collision Repair and Refinishing competition and the Leadership competition.

I was voted by my classmates to be one of the competitors to represent the HACTC in the Collision Repair and Refinishing competition which took place in March of 2015 in Burlington, Vermont at Direct Auto Body. Just like a traditional competition, there were judges all over the shop watching us as we completed various tasks. The judges were looking for techniques, correct procedures, and above all, safety. This competition consisted of Preparing and refinishing a front fender, estimating, a job interview, a written test, metal working where I had to repair a dent on the body line of a front fender and welding. 

After the Collision Repair and Refinishing competition was completed, my program advisor Lee Hathorn selected me to enter and compete in the SkillsUSA Leadership competition. The leadership competition was held in April of 2015 at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington, VT. I competed in the Pin Design competition where I had to design my own unique pin about Vermont and present it in two forms, one inch and a larger version.  I presented this pin to the judges and talked for 5 minutes about my pin. The winner’s pin will be made into many copies and will represent SkillsUSA Vermont the following year. 

I am ready to go back next year to compete as a senior and know better what to expect.  As a junior, I was able to place 3rd in my Leadership competition and bring home a bronze medal. 

After seeing what these competitions are like, I now know that SkillsUSA is a great advantaged for all high school and college students in the U.S that really want to better their skills, their future, their education, and make workplaces and work fields around the U.S. better for all. The workplaces of the United States are changing and are needing more skilled and educated workers. With these competitions, the future employees of the U.S. go into their jobs with more confidence, more education, and most of all, more experience. Thanks to the help of the advantageous organization called SkillsUSA.