Three St. Louis Community College students represented the automotive technology program at Forest Park in District Skills USA Contests earlier this year.
Juan Contreras competed in the event conducted Feb. 16, while Alex Sirles and Christian Benz competed in a Feb. 2 event.
The competition is a timed, hands-on contest that explores 10 different areas of the automotive industry. Each station is set up with questions, component identification, and diagnostic scenarios or problems for the student to diagnose. Once the allotted time for each station is up, a judge awards points to each student based on their performance. The points are tabulated and the contestant with the most points wins the competition. The top two scores move on to the state competition.
Contreras captured first place in the Jobs Skills Demonstration A contest at Lewis and Clark. He was required to develop and perform a 5-7 minute presentation that highlights a skill in the automotive industry to a panel of industry professionals. He was graded based on established criteria. He then advanced to the Missouri State Skills USA competition April 5 in Linn, Mo. Competing in the same category but a new demonstration, Contreras’ presentation highlighted the importance of lug nut torque and torque wrench operation. Contreras again captured first place and now will compete at the National Skills USA Competition June 25-29 in Louisville, Ky.
In their district event, Sirles earned a bronze medal for a third-place finish while Benz finished fifth. Sirles is a second-year student who works part time at a local Dobbs Tire and Auto Store. Benz is a first-year student.