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CCNN Welding and Fabrication Students to Compete in Skills USA Contest

There’s nothing more empowering than putting the skills you’ve spent countless hours studying to practical use. Add a little competition into the mix and it’s even more rewarding. That’s exactly what a pair of Career College of Northern Nevada welding students will experience this April when a state-wide version of the Skills USA welding competition comes to Reno.

Between April 3-7, CCNN welding and fabrication students Draden Mitchell and Wade Grunstead will have their welding knowledge and skills put to the test during the event, which will be held at Truckee Meadows Community College, Western Nevada College and the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in downtown Reno. The competition covers three main areas: an interview portion, a written welding test and a practical welding test over the course of four days.

The local contest is a precursor to a regional competition, which then feeds to the Skills USA National Leadership and Skills Conference set for June 19-23 in Louisville, Kentucky, said CCNN Welding Department Chair Shawn Pratte.

“This is a really big deal,” Pratte said. “These students can put this on their resume. If they do well, they can get scholarship and grants.”

If Mitchell and Grunstead eventually advance to nationals, they can expect a grueling four days of competition, including giving an extemporaneous presentation on a welding topic, taking a written test and – of course – undergoing a test of welding skills using everything from gas metal arcs to oxy fuel cutting.

“This competition helps boosts morale while preparing you for the workforce,” Mitchell said. “Skills USA is a great organization and I know this is going to be a great experience.”

Mitchell said he expects the competition will involve working with a pressure vessel, which are often used to store or transfer liquids or gasses under high pressure. Pratte said he also expects skill tests around the thermal cutting process as well as ornamental welding.

According to Skills USA, contestants “will walk away with valuable experience, knowledge and pride,” calling it a “life-changing experience.” Learn more about the competition from this YouTube video.

CCNN’s welding and fabrication program is approved by the American Welding Society with a SENSE Level II approval. Students in the program learn practical skills that can be used in a welding career, including the use of manufacturing tools and operations, reading prints, manufacturing-based math, computer fundamentals and Computer Aided Design and Drafting. Welding program graduates are eligible to sit for a welding qualification exam upon successful completion of the program.

Ready to get started in a career in welding? Career College of Northern Nevada is your first step. Learn more here.