Freshman Colby Gentry works underneath a vehicle on the lift in the auto shop. Photo by Eden Rodriguez
Atascadero High’s SkillsUSA Automotive Club not only prepares students for upcoming SkillsUSA competition, but is made up of students training for lucrative future careers in automotive technology. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry professionals working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.
The club’s mission is to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders, and responsible American citizens. Mr. Renteria, the instructor for the CTE Automotive Services program at AHS is the SkillsUSA Club faculty advisor, and all students in the automotive classes are also part of the club.
Member and freshman Colby Bercseny recalled why he enjoys the club: “It gives us skills to work on cars, and just gives us basic auto skills.” Freshman Colby Gentry said, “It gives you an opportunity to learn some basic skills you may need in life.” In addition, according to the SkillsUSA website, “SkillsUSA improves the quality of the nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of framework skills that include personal, workplace, and technical skills grounded in academics.”
SkillsUSA Clubs across the nation serve more than 360,000 students and instructors annually, which includes the 20,926 instructors who join as professional members. Including alumni, SkillsUSA membership totals over 400,000. The clubs have served more than 13.5 million annual members accumulated since 1965.
Students in SkillsUSA can compete at regional and state level competitions, and can also go on to compete at the national level. Astonishingly, more than 18,000 classrooms are conducting SkillsUSA training nationwide. When asked what interested him to join the club, Bercseny replied, “I’ve worked on trucks before, and I wanted to learn more.” Gentry was asked the same question, and he said, “I like to ride motorcycles and stuff, and it makes it even more interesting to know how much work I put into making them run.” When Nick Frappier was asked what he was hoping would come out of being part of the club, he said, “I’m excited to see if any of these engines will blow up so I can work on them longer.”
More than 600 businesses, corporations, trade associations and labor unions are partners at the nationwide level alone, with thousands more supporting at state level and local levels. Other competitions include WorldSkills competitions, a chance to design the National Leadership and Skills Conference Pin and the chance to have the participant’s photography published in Skills Champions magazine. Students here at AHS who are involved in SkillsUSA are excited to learn new mechanical skills and other life skills. SkillsUSA club meetings are during Study Hall and on Wednesdays in the Auto Shop, room I1 at the rear of the campus.