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Canfield earns silver medal in SkillsUSA National Championships – Four Pioneers place in top ten

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The Alfred State group poses at the 2022 SkillsUSA National Championships.

Alfred State College (ASC) sent a group of eleven (seven students and four faculty and administrators) to the 2022 SkillsUSA National Championships in Atlanta, GA. Devon Canfield (Buffalo) led the way by earning a silver medal in the automotive service technology competition.

Three more members of the seven-person team placed in the top ten of the college/post-secondary competition. Zachary Kelley (fourth place – masonry), Jordon Szczesniak (ninth place – carpentry), and Sarah Sue Streeter (ninth place – commercial baking). Jerad Hediger (electrical), Larry Knoll (autobody), and Matthew Fernandes (welding) competed as well.

All seven members of the team had won their field at the NYS SkillsUSA competition held at ASC’s School of Applied Technology campus in April.

More than 5,200 students from around the country competed in 108 different trade, technical, and leadership fields.

Students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations like electronics, automated manufacturing technology, precision machining, medical assisting, and culinary arts. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations, and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry. Leadership contestants demonstrate skills including extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.

Students compete to national standards with other students from all fifty states. The competitions are set up and judged by industry representatives. Over $36 million dollars is donated in time and equipment to the weeklong event.

SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This non-profit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more the 360,000-member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state, and national championships designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education, and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to www.SkillsUSA.org.

Alfred State College faculty and staff who accompanied the students to Atlanta included Interim Provost and Vice President of Economic Development Craig Clark, School of Applied Technology Dean Jeffrey Stevens, Commercial Baking instructor Rebecca Milliner, and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Instructor Scott Hillman.

Clark, who is the NYS Director of the SkillsUSA College/Post-secondary competition, encourages those interested in forming chapters at other NYS colleges to contact him (607) 587-3101.

The 2023 SkillsUSA National Championships remains in Atlanta and is scheduled for June 24 – 28.

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