CASPER – SkillsUSA students from the Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) chapter competed at the SkillsUSA Wyoming state competition in Casper April 15-16.
Four students from EWC finished in first place and another finished in sixth. Trenton Taylor finished in first place in the individual metal fabrication and Bailey Martin finished sixth. The three-member team of Nathan Ostrander, Cody Shrewsbury and Trevor Sorg placed first in the team fabrication event.
“It was very stressful making sure I got my project built,” said Trenton Taylor. “I had to build an item that showcases the different welds and my cutting abilities.”
Taylor was given a blueprint for the project and had to demonstrate different skill sets to complete his project as close to what was shown on the blueprint. He didn’t expect to get first place, but he knew he would be able to compete for the title if he just focused and put everything he’s learned into practice.
When Taylor graduates from EWC, he plans to get into the welding field and move somewhere on his bucket list, like Alaska.
“I’m looking to get some welding jobs and hopefully travel around the US,” Taylor said. “I’m mainly interested in structural welding, working on bridges and stuff like that.”
The three-member team of Nathan Ostrander, Cody Shrewsbury and Trevor Sorg had to build a director’s chair from a set of blueprints that were given to them. The group had some previous experience working together, but the pandemic limited the amount of time they worked as a team in the classroom, and they had to rely on each other and their education to pull out the win.
“We worked together before, so we knew what it was like to work together,” said Cody Shrewsbury. “We just made a plan and followed through with it.”
While the group had some experience working together in the past, participating in the state competition still brought some stress to the table.
“It was a little stressful trying to get it done in the time limit,” said Trevor Sorg. “Everybody in the competition builds the same project and they just score you on your welds; if everything is square and if it’s to the blueprint.”
The group didn’t have much experience competing in SkillsUSA competitions, but Sorg had a few years of previous experience dating back to his sophomore year of high school.
After college Ostrander and Shrewsbury will be heading off to Gillette to work for L and H Industrial and will be working on mines, oil, gas, railroad and windmills. Sorg is currently looking for a job but plans to do something with welding and wants to stay in Wyoming.
SkillsUSA instructor Stan Nicolls said he was really proud of his students and how they represented Eastern Wyoming College well at the state competition.
“These students competed, and represented the EWC welding program well,” said Stan Nicolls, SkillsUSA instructor. “I am extremely proud of our students, they worked exceptionally hard and accomplished a great deal of success.”
SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, instructors and industry professionals who work together to ensure a skilled workforce in America. It is a nonprofit national education association that works with middle school, high school and college/postsecondary education students preparing them for a career in the trade occupations.
According to the SkillsUSA website, “SkillsUSA serves more than 372,655 students and instructors annually. This includes 20,598 instructors who join as professional members. Including alumni, SkillsUSA membership totals over 434,000. SkillsUSA has served 13.6 million annual members cumulatively since 1965 and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor as a successful model of employer-driven workforce development.”