BRADENTON -- More than 500 students gathered Wednesday for the SkillsUSA regional competition at the Manatee Technical Institute's new campus on State Road 70.
Students from high schools, colleges and technical centers from Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Collier counties competed in written tests and demonstrations related to their fields of study. Southeast High School, Bayshore High School, MTI, and Fort Myers Institute of Technology are some of the schools that were represented. SkillsUSA is an organization designed for students entering technical fields and service occupations, including health care.
"Employers are looking for people who can work as a part of a team," said Mary Cantrell, the director of MTI. "These competitions not only develop leadership skills, but also teamwork skills."
Areas that students competed in included automotive service, cosmetology, dental assisting, first aid and CPR, marine service technology and welding.
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Some of the many gold medalists are:
n Marine service technology: Alex Dooley (high school) from MTI and George Benisek (high school) from MTI
n Welding: Jonathon Brockhoff (post secondary) from MTI and Christhian Acosta from MTI
n Cosmetology: Alicia Brickey (post secondary) from Fort Myers Institute of Technology and Cami Wilson (high school) from Sarasota County Technical Institute
n First Aid and CPR: Patricia Nuñez (post secondary) from MTI and Eva Quintero (high school) from MTI
The first- and second-place winners from each category will compete at the state level in Pensacola in late April. The national competition will be held in Kansas City the last week of June.
For more information about SkillsUSA competitions, visit their website at SkillsUSA.org.