University Relations and Communications

City College students advance to the 50th annual SkillsUSA national competition

April 10, 2014



Kat Pfau, City College, 247-3044
Carmen Price, University Relations, 657-2243


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Two City College students earned gold medals this week at the state SkillsUSA competition and will advance to the national competition this summer.


SkillsUSA team

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to develop a strong workforce for America.


Working against the clock and each other, participants from around the state proved their expertise in job skills for occupations such as automotive technology, computer electronics, technical drafting, precision machining and medical assisting.


City College students Matthew Tucker, automotive, and Scott Dark, welding, each swept their competitive categories and will represent Montana at the 50th annual SkillsUSA national competition.


Christian Watts came in second in the diesel competition while Brandon Hammond, Ian Hannah and Chris Murphy earned bronze medals in their events.


Gold medalist Tucker, who competed in the automotive technology category, said the competition was challenging and rewarding.


“The best part of the competition is that it shows competitors their strengths and also the areas they need improvement,” he said. “The event is built to challenge you.”


Among earning medals and prizes, students will compete for competitive scholarships.


“The national-level will be even more challenging and intense, and I’m looking very forward to it,” he said.


More than 15,000 people—including students, teachers and business partners—are expected to participate in the week-long event June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo.


Of those, more than 6,000 outstanding students—all state contest winners—will compete hands-on in nearly 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields.


“I’m going to work very hard to make sure I’m on top of my game,” Tucker said. “I plan to keep working on my strong points while putting special emphasis on my weak points to make sure I’m a well-rounded competitor.”

The National SkillsUSA Championship showcases the skills of post-secondary students with the help of industry professionals, trade associations and labor organizations. Test competency standards are set by industry.


“It’s an opportunity for students to show off not only their academic abilities but the great professional skills they’re learning at City College,” Kat Pfau, City College’s SkillsUSA advisor, said.


At last year’s competition, City College students swept two categories, earning gold medals in both automotive and diesel technology.  Four students advanced to the national level. Of those, three placed in the top 25— third place in collision repair, eighth in diesel technology and eleventh in automotive technology.


PHOTO ABOVE: City College students Matthew Tucker, Amanda Thurston, Christian Watts and Beau Zygmond (left to right) are members of SkillsUSA.