California students win national construction competition

TeamworkssamLast week, more than 5,000 high school and community college students descended upon Kansas City to compete in the national conference of SkillsUSA, formerly known as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America).

Skill competitions include carpentry, plumbing, welding, computer graphics, cosmetology, dental assisting, auto repair, and firefighting, plus many, many more. See the full amazing list of contests.

Among those competing, four students from Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo won first place in the TeamWorks construction event. There were 36 teams competing this year in TeamWorks, the largest number ever, taking over an entire auditorium.

In TeamWorks, students build a mock-up of an 8-by-8-foot bathroom over a period of three days, showing their skills in masonry, carpentry, electrical and plumbing. (Disclosure: My husband, a construction consultant, is a volunteer on the TeamWorks technical committee that created and administers the competition.)

Last year, the Cuesta College team placed third in the competition and came back this year with the goal to win gold. The winning team members from Cuesta are: James Schwind, Jordan Jacobsma, Guy Miller and Mark Millar.

(Photo: Sam Baker)

See the rest of the story, including more California winners


Teamworkssam2_2The competition is run by volunteers, including a small army sent by State Farm Insurance, and representatives from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and the Associated Building Contractors. And, it is supported by a slew of sponsors including Stanley Works, Bosch Tools, 84 Lumber, Louisiana-Pacific, Copper Development Association, Ferguson, Protecto Wrap, Pactiv, Simpson Strong Tie, Lowe’s, Irwin, the Steel Framing Alliance, USG, and Mortar Net.

See an excellent slide show of last year’s competition.

Here’s how the TeamWorks competition goes:

Day 1: Students get a one-hour orientation and then are given the plans for the bathroom. They have one hour to look at their plans and then make a presentation to a panel of judges. All students must wear official uniforms, or are docked points.

Day 2: Construction begins. The students are supplied with tools and materials to lay the foundation and make the floor. They must order from the “supply depot” all other materials, using laptop computers supplied by State Farm. The idea is to replicate the real world as much as possible. When each phase is completed, they get a building permit.

Day 3: Construction continues until 5 p.m. Each structure is judged for how much got completed, as well as the quality of the work.

Day 4: Students tear down the structures and 90 percent of it is carted away by Habitat for Humanity’s Restore to be sold, or it is recycled in some way. As a sign of the times, that’s a radical change from earlier years when barely 10 percent was recycled. After that, there is a debriefing, awards, prizes, and a pizza party.

Said one observer, when you see these hardworking kids, with their respectful attitudes, there is no reason to fear for the future.

Below is a list of other California winners in the national skills competition. I list them all here even though most are not related to construction or remodeling, because it’s likely their names will not be reported anywhere else in the media. For some reason, this is not big news. But on the Pardon Our Dust Blog, these kids rock.

Congratulations to all the other California winners, who are:

Automotive Service Technology, Gold, Daniel Lehmkuhl, San Luis Obispo High School, San Luis Obispo

Automotive Service Technology, Bronze, Eric Leach, Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Computer Programming, Bronze, Spencer Van Hoose, San Luis Obispo High School, San Luis Obispo,

Electronics Applications, bronze, Peter Dekluyver, Mount San Antonio College, Walnut

Firefighting, Silver, Edgar Garcia, Grace M Davis High School, Modesto

Graphic Communications, Silver, Mayda Salas, Riverside Community College, Riverside

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Silver, Matthew Griffiths, San Bernardino Valley College, San Bernardino

Job Skill Demonstration, Silver, Sonica Singh, Metropolitan Skills Center, Los Angeles

Motorcycle Service Technology, Silver, Brandon Freeman, Ramona High School, Ramona

Nail Care, Bronze, Osiris Ley, Belmont Community Adult School, Los Angeles

Nail Care, Bronze, Pedro Maritza, Belmont Community Adult School, Los Angeles

Promotional Bulletin Board, Gold, Esperanza Rivera, E L A Occupational Center, Los Angeles

Promotional Bulletin Board, Luis Sanchez, Gold, East L, A, Occupational Center, Los Angeles,

Technical Drafting, Silver, Nick Iturraran, Lodi High School, Lodi

Web Design, Gold, Thomas Kugler, North Valley Occupational Center, Mission Hills

Web Design, Gold, Heather Blake, North Valley Occupational Center, Mission Hills