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OSU-Okmulgee Hosts Oklahoma SkillsUSA

Friday, June 2, 2006

(Okmulgee) – Oklahoma State University - Okmulgee’s Engineering Technologies, Automotive Technologies and Visual Communications divisions hosted Careertech students from across Oklahoma in the 41st Annual SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Competition recently.  The university offers degrees in each of those disciplines, and has fully-equipped facilities that the student competitors used. The competition is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, and tested students’ skills and leadership abilities in CareerTech programs. The students who competed at OSU-Okmulgee were the top students in their Careertech programs statewide.  Winners from this competition will advance to the national SkillsUSA competition this summer.

John Little, from Eaton Fluid Power company, served as one of the judges in the competition.  “I came to the competition not only to serve as a judge, but to identify outstanding students, who might be potential employees for Eaton after they complete their education.”    

The SkillsUSA competition organizers added another element to the manufacturing segment of the event this year – employers sent their Human Resources personnel to set up booths at the competition.  Lindell Goodman, who retired from Delta Faucet last year and now serves as the chair of the SkillsUSA competition, says the employers have such a great need for skilled employees that they were glad to attend the competition to meet prospective employees.  “Many students learned what types of job opportunities will be available and the salaries they can earn after they complete their education.”  

Engineering Technologies Division Competition

OSU-Okmulgee’s Engineering Technologies Division hosted the manufacturing section of the competition, and students competed in Precision Machining, which involved reading a blueprint, measuring precision parts using various tools, and machining two parts; Computer Numerical Control or CNC Lathe and Milling, where contestants wrote a program to create a part that matched the provided engineering drawing; and Automated Manufacturing Technology, in which a team of three contestants (two in manufacturing and one in drafting) created an engineering drawing and a prototype from written specifications.

According to David Turner, Chair of OSU-Okmulgee’s Engineering Technologies Division, the goal in hosting all of the manufacturing competitions was to create an environment that encouraged students to pursue technical careers.  “This was an opportunity to bring some CareerTech students to our campus and show them the advanced, complex equipment we use in our classrooms and the hands-on, application-focused education they will receive if they decide to attend OSU-Okmulgee.”

Highly-skilled machining technicians are in great demand by industry, so companies sent representatives to the competition to set up booths and talk to students about the career opportunities that are available after graduation.  The companies that attended the SkillsUSA competition included Baker Hughes-Centrilift, Halliburton, Arrow Engine Company and Braden-PACCAR.   

James Cowart, instructor at Tri-County Technology Center in Bartlesville, says his Precision Machining students competed in three-person teams to produce a part and technical documentation using computer-aided design software, computer aided manufacturing software and a CNC mill.  “We stepped up the learning curve in our classes so the students could excel in this competition.”   

Jason Duncan, from Eaton Fluid Power company, confirms several of the company’s current employees are graduates of OSU-Okmulgee’s Engineering Technologies program and have proven to be outstanding employees.

Automotive/HEVi Technologies Division

The Automotive/HEVi Technologies Division hosted three sections of the competition, including the Automotive Service Technology competition, which involved diagnosing and servicing automotive components and systems; the Collision Repair Technology competition, which included structural, non-structural, refinishing and estimating competition stations and the Diesel Technology competition which included the diagnosing and servicing of diesel components and systems.

Don Deal, instructor at Red River Technology Center in Duncan, says he brought three students to the competition.  “This event reinforces the skills we teach in our classrooms.  The tests the students are doing are similar to the duties they will perform when they’re on the job, because they will have to complete the tasks correctly within a time limit.”  

OSU-Okmulgee’s Program Chairs, Bill Voorhees, Mike Avant and Roy Achemire say they are impressed at how hard the students work in their CareerTech programs to be the best in their class in order to compete in this difficult competition.

Matt Boyles, Ph. D., Director of Human Resource Development for the Oklahoma Automobile Dealers Association, and the Oklahoma AYES Program says the partnership between OSU-Okmulgee and CareerTechs that has developed over the years provides automobile dealerships independent service centers, collision repair centers as well as heavy duty truck and equipment shops with skilled technicians.  “The long-term sustainability of our efforts will be an investment in the future of Oklahoma’s economy.”  
Visual Communications Technologies Division

The Advertising Design competition in the Visual Communications Division involved producing an advertising campaign, starting with drawing a concept by hand, and then rendering it on computer using a desktop design program.  Kurt Stenstrom, graphic design instructor in OSU-Okmulgee’s Visual Communications Division, developed the project for the competition.

“We had the students design a magazine advertisement for a new Motorola product,” says Stenstrom.  “They were very quick to develop concepts and draw their thumbnail sketches.  Their finished designs were very creative – these students not only performed well in today’s SkillsUSA competition, but they will be excellent future candidates for OSU-Okmulgee’s Visual Communications program.”

Barbara King, instructor from Tulsa Technology Center in Sand Springs, says the contest is challenging and gives the students a taste of reality.  “They’re creating advertising designs at the college level, which gives them an understanding of the level of design projects they’ll be working on as college students.”  King adds she recommends that her students attend OSU-Okmulgee to earn their associate degree in Visual Communications after they complete the CareerTech program.  

About SkillsUSA
Nationally, SkillsUSA serves more than 264,000 high school, college and post-secondary students who are enrolled in training programs in technical, skilled, service and health occupations. SkillsUSA is recognized by state and federal departments of education as an integral part of the curriculum in public high schools, technology centers, and junior/community colleges.

In SkillsUSA, students are motivated to excel as they acquire job and leadership skills; to understand the democratic process through their local chapter work; to work together to improve school, workplace, and community; and to earn individual recognition for both skill and leadership achievement.

About OSU-Okmulgee
Oklahoma State University - Okmulgee is known for its hands-on technical education, world-class equipment and active partnerships with industry.  Degree programs are developed according to emerging educational and labor market needs.  Seventeen programs of study lead to Associate in Applied Science degrees, three programs of study lead to Associate in Science transfer degrees, and three programs lead to Bachelor of Technology degrees - Information Assurance and Forensics, Instrumentation Engineering Technology and Civil Engineering Technology.  Through frequent advisory board meetings, corporate partners make significant contributions to curriculum, faculty improvement, equipment acquisition, internship experiences for students and employment opportunities for graduates.  OSU-Okmulgee also promotes economic development among small Oklahoma firms by providing training and assistance with technology deployment, financing, bidding and purchasing procedures.

For more information call 918.293.4678 or 1.800.722.4471.  Information also is available online at

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