Hazard Technical Campus hosts 2024 SkillsUSA regional event, welcomes students from multiple counties | HCTC

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Hazard Technical Campus hosts 2024 SkillsUSA regional event, welcomes students from multiple counties

Students from Breathitt, Knott, Leslie and Letcher Area Technology Centers (ATCs) joined Hazard Community & Technical College (HCTC) students on Feb. 23 for the 2024 SkillsUSA regional competition hosted on the Technical Campus of HCTC.

"It's incredible witnessing our Technical Campus provide a space for the regional SkillsUSA competition," Dr. Jennifer Lindon, HCTC president and chief executive officer, said. "The event was a convening of young leaders, many of whom will pursue postsecondary opportunities in the skilled trades."

SkillsUSA is a career and technical student organization (CTSO) aligned with course curriculums in trade, technical and skilled service fields, strengthening hands-on skills, preparing workers for the skilled trades and growing a highly qualified workforce of professionals. The organization provides students with opportunities to hone their personal, workplace and technical skills.

During the event, students participated in skills and leadership contests. SkillsUSA categorizes contests into leadership, occupational-related and skilled and technical-related divisions. Students competed in automotive, electrical, construction and welding challenges and tested in tool identification, industry standards and more.

"Students competed in a wide range of skills and leadership contests," explained Tony Back, HCTC's academic dean of advanced & professional technologies. "This is the region — a chance for them to go to state. ... If they win at state, they go on to nationals." 

Back, who also serves as chief campus administrator at HCTC's Technical Campus, said that the state and national competitions will be held in Louisville and Atlanta, respectively. 

"We had 20 contests in total. We gave awards out, including medallions, certificates, scholarships, prizes — the list goes on and on," he continued. "It's a wonderful team event for the region to come together. It's all about the students, no matter what level they are: high school or college."  

Event winners include, in order by event name (alphabetically), schooling level and placement, and including their school: 

Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair (Secondary)

  • Jesse Stamper, HCTC, 1st place;
  • Jonathan Ison, HCTC, 2nd place; and

  • Ethan Campbell, HCTC, 3rd place. 

Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair (Post-secondary) 

  • Buford Jordan Ramey, HCTC, 1st place;

  • Aidan Heintzelman, HCTC,  2nd place; and

  • Austin Ramey, HCTC, 3rd place. 

Cabinet Design

  • Connor DeRose, Letcher ATC, 1st place. 

Carpentry (Secondary)

  • Waylon Roberts, Leslie ATC, 1st place; and

  • Seth Gross, Leslie ATC, 2nd place. 

Carpentry (Post-secondary) 

  • Jaden Brown, HCTC, 1st place; and

  • Ricky Smith, HCTC, 2nd place.

Carpentry I 

  • Hayden Wolfe, Leslie ATC, 1st place;

  • Rylan Simpson, Leslie ATC, 2nd place; and

  • Jathan Shell, Leslie ATC, 3rd place. 

Construction Tool Identification

  • Jacob Smith, Letcher ATC, 1st place;

  • Drake Brown, Letcher ATC, 2nd place; and

  • Samuel Adams, Letcher ATC, 3rd place. 

Electrical Construction Wiring

  • Willie Martin, Letcher ATC, 1st place;

  • Jacob Vailliencourt, Breathitt ATC, 2nd place; and

  • Jacob Parker, Breathitt ATC, 3rd place. 

Electrical Construction Wiring (Post-secondary)

  • James Hall, HCTC, 1st place;

  • Caleb Eversole, HCTC, 2nd place; and

  • Austin Coomer, HCTC, 3rd place. 

Elevator Story

  • Marcus Smith, Knott ATC, 1st place. 

Job Interview

  • Chase Hobbs, Breathitt ATC, 1st place. 

Job Skills Demonstration

  • Isaac Potter, Letcher ATC, 1st place;

  • Alex Caudill, Letcher ATC, 2nd place; and

  • Noah Johnson, Knott ATC, 3rd place. 

Promotional Bulletin Board

  • Mitchell Fields, Laken Johnston and Joseph Pack, Letcher ATC, 1st place; and

  • James Fouts and Ayden Lucas, Letcher ATC, 2nd place. 

Related Technical Mathematics

  • Gabriel Wireman, Knott ATC, 1st place. 

Transportation Tool Identification

  • Timothy Hollifield, Knott ATC, 1st place; and

  • Savannah Hollon, Breathitt ATC, 2nd place. 


  • Reily Fields, Letcher ATC, 1st place; 

  • Austin Bowling, Leslie ATC, 2nd place; and

  • Hayden Hampton, Letcher ATC, 3rd place. 

Welding (Post-secondary) 

  • Michael Salvador, HCTC, 1st place; 

  • Makhi Manns, HCTC, 2nd place; and

  • Ian Childers, HCTC, 3rd place. 

Welding I

  • Hayden Ison, HCTC, 1st place;

  • Evan Akemon, HCTC, 2nd place; and

  • Caden Shephard, Leslie ATC, 3rd place. 

According to competition participants, the opportunity to strengthen their skills and demonstrate their knowledge meant a lot. 

"Participating in the competition gave me a chance to put my skills ... to use in a new way," Austin Smith, a Breathitt ATC student, said. "I ... wasn't entirely fixated on the competition but ... the experience, that's what stood out to me. ... I want to thank the Hazard community and the SkillsUSA community for making this possible and inviting me for such a great opportunity and event." 

SkillsUSA’s core values align closely with HCTC’s mission of empowering students by providing equitable educational opportunities that lead to student success, rewarding careers and community enhancement. 

"Integrity, respect, responsibility, community and service — all integral parts of SkillsUSA, all integral parts of our work at HCTC," Dr. Lindon added. "The opportunities that lie ahead for these minds will be enriching for them and our communities in eastern Kentucky. We are honored to partner with organizations dedicated to training a highly-skilled workforce."