As part of its ongoing commitment to training and education, Milton CAT hosted the Diesel Equipment Technology portion of the SkillsUSA state competition at its facility in Milford, Mass.
SkillsUSA, a national nonprofit organization, is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives, working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. SkillsUSA serves teachers, as well as high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. SkillsUSA programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills.
“These young men are all Diesel Equipment Technology district winners; they come from technical and vocational high schools from all over Massachusetts and they are now competing at the state level,” said Richard Smith, Milton CAT’s technician recruiting and development manager.
The winners from each state competition will then go to Kansas City, Mo., in June for the national competition and then to a global event.
Milton CAT’s compact equipment service area was cleared for the event, and tables were set up as “stations” where contestants demonstrated their skills to the event’s judges.
Each station represented a specific facet of knowledge or skills that are crucial for a professional diesel equipment technician. They included shop skills as well as knowledge of the heavy-duty drive train, electronic diagnosis, safety, hydraulic components, precision measurements, inspection and analysis, live engine testing and the basics of power generation.
Eleven young men answered questions, executed walkarounds, identified parts, used an electronic diagnostics tool and picked which safety items belonged with a particular job from a large display.
Keith Tavarez and Charles Connelly were two of the contestants. Tavarez said he he felt that his school, Upper Cape Cod Tech, had prepared him well for the test, and what he didn’t learn at school he learned at his job. He works at South East Truck Center and with his father.
Tavarez said he found the heavy-duty power train station the toughest one, but had no problem with the other stations, and was pleased with how he had handled the electronic diagnosis test and the safety portion.
Connelly said his biggest challenge was the shop skills test, where contestants were given a piece of steel, a diagram, and the tools needed to complete the job. Connelly said his favorite part was the electronic diagnosis.
According Milton CAT, “the atmosphere was one of pride and hope,” and “you could feel the competitiveness in the air, and also the seriousness with which the contestants were executing the tasks at each station.”
The judges consisted of Milton CAT volunteers and organizers and of representatives from community colleges that were looking to recruit promising students.
According to Milton CAT, the judges, “were all clearly enthusiastic about the sight of those motivated, committed young people who were giving our working youth a good name.” CEG