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,”
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
“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
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.
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.