Missouri SkillsUSA

Several TCC students to compete nationally
Posted on 04/24/2018

The most in recent memory, 11 Poplar Bluff Technical Career Center students placed in the Missouri SkillsUSA contest held Thursday through Saturday, April 5-7, at the State Technical College of Missouri in Linn.

Out of 30 participants who advanced from the district to state level – Luke Cook, Hailey Garrett, Jeramiah Gracia, Nick Loyd, Lara Pierce, Nickalas Richards, Lane White and Levi White have qualified to vie in the national competition June 25-29 in Louisville, Ky.

In addition, the aforementioned students each received $1,000-2,000 scholarships to Linn College, along with Brooke Francisco, Michaelyn Hatton and Tara Hutchinson, who also earned top placement. 

“This is an exceptional, well-balanced group of kids that are here to learn,” said TCC building trades instructor Jody Cochran, SkillsUSA senior advisor. “To make it to state or nationals speaks for our school system and lets people know what kind of education they can get out here.”

State events that TCC students excelled in included barbering, carpentry technical information, cosmetology, cosmetology tech info, culinary arts, esthetics, nurse assisting, T-shirt design and team works. More than 3,000 students, educators and industry officials were in attendance. 

The students going on to participate this summer plan to fundraise to offset uniform, registration and travel costs. Cochran referred to the opportunity as “life changing,” explaining that industry officials may be in attendance to recruit students into the workforce. 

“When you’re getting national recognition—the top of the top—there are trade people set up wanting to hire these students,” Cochran said. “There are folks retiring and lots of spots opening, and opportunities to make good money and have a good job for a long time.” 

More than 1,000 trade associations and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA through financial aid, in-kind contributions and involvement of their people in activities, according to a press release from the national organization. 


Cutline: TCC students who medaled at the Missouri SkillsUSA competition were (front row from left) Jeramiah Gracia, Brooke Francisco and Hailey Garrett; (second row) Lara Pierce and Nickalas Richards; (third row, left to right) Tara Hutchinson, Michaelyn Hatton and Levi White; and (back row) Nick Loyd, Lane White and Luke Cook.

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