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Walker wins 'gold' at SkillsUSA

Bryan places third

Author: ICC News/Monday, August 11, 2014/Categories: Press Releases

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            Itawamba Community College sophomore Marcus Walker of Hamilton placed first in the Job Interview with focus in Automotive and Collision Repair Technology category at the national SkillsUSA competition this summer.

            “Marcus devoted hours of preparation to the job interview contest,” said ICC automotive technology instructor Brad Crowder. He competed against 18 other students from across the United States. The two rounds of interviewing included selection of the top eight in the first and the overall winner in the second. “Marcus did an excellent job at representing ICC as a professional competitor and bringing home the gold,” Crowder noted.

            Walker’s preparation included a mock interview, resume’ tips and review of SkillsUSA contest regulations to understand competition scoring. The national competition was divided into three phases: completion of employment applications, preliminary interviews with receptionist and in-depth interviews. Contestants were evaluated on their understanding of employment procedures faced in applying for positions in the occupational areas for which they are training.

            Walker said that he attended the national conference when he was a senior at Hamilton High School but he didn’t make it to the final round. “It really upset me,” he said, “but it also gave me the drive and determination to work hard, prepare and succeed to the second round the next time.”

            Working against the clock and each other, the participants proved their expertise in job skills for occupations such as electronics, technical drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. There were also competitions in leadership skills, such as extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure. The contests were designed and planned by representatives of labor and management. The contests tested the skills needed for a successful entry-level performance in occupations, and the non-occupationally-specific leadership contests represented a variety of communications, goal setting and teamwork skills, all geared to enhance a student’s qualities of leadership, responsibility and character.

            “Returning to Kansas City on a college level was very different,” Walker said. “I wasn’t only competing against college students, but college students who were much older than I, and some had big families and owned their own business. It was intimidating, but I kept a sound mind, remembered my training and focused on the task, advancing to the final round.”

            Walker said he stayed in his room the entire first three days continuing to prepare for the event although he missed a Major League baseball game.

            Throughout the competition, he helped other students to improve their speeches and resumes before the final round.  “I did my best, and that’s all that matters,” he said after the final round. And his best was good enough to “bring home the Gold.”

            At ICC, Walker, who is majoring in automotive technology, is president of the Tupelo Campus Student Government Association and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Indian Delegation and the Chieftain staff. He is the son of Mark Walker and Connie Whitfield.

            In addition, Ben Bryan of Fulton placed third in Computer Maintenance Technology. Others who competed were Brandon Robbins of Hamilton, Ala., Internetworking and Andrew Green of Mooreville, Diesel Equipment Technology.

            More than 15,000 people including students, teachers and business partners participated in the National Leadership and Skills conference, which was June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo.

            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 organization’s theme for 2014-15 is Champions at Work.

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