Students from various high schools and colleges in northern Colorado visited the Automotive and Technology Center at Aims’ Windsor campus to compete in a variety of collision repair categories. Six Aims’ students placed to compete in the state competition in early April. Each category first-place finisher in the state competition will be invited to the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky.
SkillsUSA is a national career and technical education organization designed to ensure America has a skilled workforce. The organization serves middle school, high school and college/postsecondary students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations. Local, state and national programs are designed for students to develop and demonstrate personal, workplace and technical skills that serve as a blueprint for career readiness.
In the Post-Secondary Collision competition Aims’ students Frank Dabbnero of Brooklyn, NY took first place followed by Michael Kunkel from Greeley in second. Holyoke, Colorado’s Ramon Figueroa took second in Post-Secondary Repair with Alan Madrid, also from Holyoke and Will Adolf of Greeley tied for third. Megan Gee of Kalamazoo, MI took top honors in Secondary Refinishing. Gee expressed gratitude after taking a top spot as one of the few females in the competition. “I never thought I would be where I am today, doing what I love,” she said.
Students compete in the metal repair competition under judges’ watchful eyes
This is not the first time Aims students have succeeded in the SkillsUSA Challenge. Students in the Automotive program regularly compete at the state and national level. Last year Aims sent five students to the state competition and two moved on to nationals. Grant Kennedy finished in the top 10 in in the national post-secondary collision contest and Ben Falconer took first place overall in the high school refinishing division.
“Our automotive program is truly addressing both the skills gap and skilled worker shortages through our industry-driven skill based degree and certificate programs,” said Aims’ President Dr. Leah L. Bornstein. “I think Aims can proudly state that our work preparing automotive technicians is very much about America’s well-prepared future workforce.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a nine percent increase in demand for qualified automotive body repair technicians over the next decade, a better than average outlook compared to other fields. The average salary of auto body technicians is $41,570. Aims has programs in auto body repair and auto service technology, located in a state-of-the-art facility, where students are consistently placed in jobs with repair centers and automotive manufacturers.
Mike Hanscome, Aims Auto Collision Repair instructor said, “Hosting SkillsUSA is great for Aims Community College. Other schools and students come and see our state-of-the-art facility and what we do in Windsor. It is also great for our students and our instructors because we get to see our students in a different light. We see how they fit in with students from other programs and helps us assess our program.”