DCTC Students Compete at SkillsUSA National Conference

Electrical Construction student Adam Herrmann earns Skill Point Certificate.

2008 SkillsUSA Championships at H. Roe Bartle Hall and Municipal Auditorium in KCMO

Traveling as part of the SkillsUSA Minnesota delegation, a contingent of Dakota County Technical College students, faculty and staff had a marvelous time at theSkillsUSA 44th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference held June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo.

Mike Opp, dean of transportation and industry, headed the DCTC delegation, which included faculty members Ronald Gruenes and Mike Long along with students Brad Heinz, Adam Herrmann and Tiffany Purdy.

Opp, who has attended the national conference nine times during his career, serves on the SkillsUSA Minnesota board of directors. He remarked that the conference is always an amazing experience and keeps growing every year.

“More than 5,100 career and technical students from all over the nation compete in nearly 100 different fields during the SkillsUSA Championships,” Opp said. “TECHSPO takes place concurrently and that’s by far the largest trade show for technical education in the U.S.”

Jennifer Polz , executive director of SkillsUSA Minnesota, reported that the Minnesota delegation included some 200 students, advisors, voting delegates and national education team members. Competing students brought home 23 medallions in the college and high school divisions.

“More than 14,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from more than 1,100 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions attended the event,” Polz said. “Quality career and technical education was the centerpiece of the conference.”

Gruenes, an Electrical Construction & Maintenance Technology instructor, and Long, a Heavy Construction Equipment Technology instructor, serve as SkillsUSA advisors.

Long related that the conference was an awesome event due to its sheer size and scope. He was especially impressed with the KCMO convention facilities , which accommodated a vast array of exhibitors.

“The National Leadership and Skills Conference is one of those things you have to see to comprehend just how big it is,” Long said. “Every company you can think of or imagine comes out and puts their best foot forward.”

Brad Heinz, a second-year student in Long’s Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program, serves as the SkillsUSA Minnesota State Office Team treasurer and participates in the SkillsUSA national leadership as a voting delegate. Competing as a college/postsecondary student, Heinz took first place in Mechanics Dexterity at the 2008 SkillsUSA Minnesota competition.

Adam Herrmann, a graduate of the Electrical Construction & Maintenance Technology program, took first place in Residential Wiring at the same Minnesota competition. Competing in the SkillsUSA Championships in Kansas City, Herrmann earned a Skill Point Certificate, an award that spotlights outstanding technical knowledge and hands-on ability.

“Adam was just two points out of 1,000 away from winning a bronze medal in the nationals championships,” noted Opp. “That’s an incredible achievement and we are all very proud of him.”

Tiffany Purdy is a first-semester student in the same program as Herrmann. She competed in Related Technical Math at the Minnesota competition, taking first place, which qualified her to compete in the nationals.

Electrical Construction and Maintenance
  • Equipped with knowledge of the National Electrical Code, graduates of theElectrical Construction & Maintenance Technology program are prepared for apprenticeship in the electrical field.
  • Trained to engage electrical/electronic theory in practical applications, electricians have the ability to install electrical services legally and safely.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median hourly wage at $20.97 for fully trained electricians in the U.S. Top earners approach $35 per hour.
  • ISEEK, the Minnesota Internet System for Education and Employment Knowledge, gives $31.85 as the average hourly wage for electricians in the seven-county, Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Top earners in the same area average $38.43 per hour.
Heavy Construction Equipment Technology
  • Graduates of DCTC’s Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program are prepared to work as expert mechanics with heavy equipment dealers and contractors. Other major employers include government agencies as well as roadway and bridge construction companies.
  • Working at field sites or in shops, construction mechanics use precision tools to perform maintenance and repairs on high-tech construction equipment such as loaders, scrapers, crawlers, and motor graders to name a few. They work on advanced hydraulic, hydrostatic, engine, electrical, mechanical, and onboard computer systems.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy equipment mechanics who have completed postsecondary training programs will find excellent employment opportunities through the year 2016.
  • Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development reports that the median hourly wage for mobile heavy equipment mechanics in the seven-county metro area topped $24 in 2007 with the highest earners making more than $30 an hour.