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Northwest Tech takes gold at SkillsUSA


Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

GOODLAND -- For the second straight year, a Northwest Tech student in the communications technology department has received the gold medal at SkillsUSA National Championships in telecommunications cabling.

Working against the clock and other contestants, second-year Northwest Tech student Allen Collins, Norton, proved his expertise in job skills and took home first place.

Telecommunications cabling is for students interested in voice and data network cabling and installation. The contests tests worldwide standards for data and voice connections, physical and logical networks and signal transmission. Contestants demonstrate skills in reading network design documentation, part list setup and purchase, pulling and mounting cable, choosing wiring closets, patch panel installation and termination, installing jacks, and cable testing. The contest stresses safety and working effectively in group environments.

The winners of the annual SkillsUSA Championships in Telecommunications Cabling were announced Friday at the Awards Ceremony of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo. More than 5,900 career and technical education students joined in the excitement of hands-on competition in 98 different trade, technical and leadership fields.

SkillsUSA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupations education. It sponsors the SkillsUSA Championships annually to recognize the achievements of career and technical education students and to encourage them to strive for excellence and pride in their chosen occupations.

The contests are planned by technical committees made up of representatives of labor and management and are designed to test the skills needed for a successful entry-level performance in given occupational fields. Safety practices and procedures -- an area of great concern to labor and management alike -- are judged and graded and constitute a portion of a contestant's score.

The 49th annual National SkillsUSA Championships was sponsored in part by Caterpillar, hosting television personality Mike Rowe as the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony.

Northwest Tech student Katlyn Topliff, Goodland, also competed in the related technical math division at the competition.