(Media release from Georgia Northwestern Technical College):

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) students had an outstanding performance at the 2023 SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference, June 19-23, in Atlanta. GNTC competed in four categories and took home one gold medal.

Jacquelyn Beck, a resident of Polk County, took home the gold medal in Medical Assisting; seven students represented GNTC and the State of Georgia in the national competition. Last year a GNTC Medical Assisting student took home the bronze medal in that category at the national competition, which was GNTC’s first medal in this field of study at the national level.

“I am very proud of the students representing Georgia Northwestern Technical College at the SkillsUSA national competition,” said Dr. Heidi Popham, GNTC president.

“Last week, GNTC students showcased their skills and knowledge in each of their areas of expertise and represented the college exceptionally well. The students and advisors worked many hours preparing to compete for the national competition, and I congratulate each one for their success,” Popham said.

According to SkillsUSA, its annual National Leadership & Skills Conference showcases “the best career and technical education students in the nation. This multi-faceted convention features the SkillsUSA Championships, where state champions from across the nation compete head-to-head for bronze, silver and gold medals in over 100 trade, technical and leadership competitions.” The theme for the 2023 conference was “SkillsUSA: Our Time is Now.”

“After all the years that I have been going to the SkillsUSA state and national competition events, I am still blown away by the talent and dedication that our students bring to each event,” said Missy McLain, SkillsUSA advisor for GNTC. “Our students work hard and the dedication shows each year. I am so proud of all our competitors and their instructors.”

Listed below are competitors representing GNTC including the student’s name, competition and county of residence:

  • Jacquelyn Beck, Medical Assisting, Polk
  • Ashley Elliott, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) 3-Axis Milling Programmer, Walker
  • Paul Guerrero, Carpentry, Gordon
  • TeamWorks (team competition): Alexis Bautista, Whitfield; Christopher Herrera, Whitfield; Garrett Knight, Bartow; and Kevin Mateo, Floyd

Donny Holmes, director of Construction Management at GNTC, was the advisor for the Carpentry competition and TeamWorks construction competition team. Philip Shirley, instructor of Precision Machining and Manufacturing at GNTC, was the advisor for the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) 3-Axis Milling Programmer competition.

Jennifer Stephenson, director of Medical Assisting; Tracey Mercado, instructor of Medical Assisting; and Melissa Mitchell, instructor of Allied Health, were the GNTC advisors for the Medical Assisting competition.

According to SkillsUSA, more than 6,000 outstanding career and technical education students—all state contest winners—competed hands-on in 110 different trade, technical and leadership fields. Students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations. Contests were run with the assistance of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies were set by industry professionals.

Industry and education invested more than $36 million in the SkillsUSA Championships. The event required vast amounts of materials and equipment, including 2,000 computers, 12,500 bricks and 1,500 blocks, more than 60 stoves and ovens, more than 25 refrigerators, more than 100 welders, more than 50 manufacturing machines and complete laboratories for machining, welding, auto repair and painting, according to SkillsUSA.

GNTC student Jacquelyn Beck received the gold medal in Medical Assisting.