Skills Camp introduces area students to possible careers

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Brookfield Middle School students visited the Linn County Area Career and Technical Center May 10 to learn about possible careers through Skills Camp.

Skills Camp was started this year by technical center teacher Tonya Washam. Washam is the lead advisor for the technical center’s Skills USA organization, as well.

Skills Camp took place May 10 at the Linn County Area Career and Technical Center. Starting at 8 a.m. Brookfield Middle School students went to the technical center to get a preview of the programs offered there. Eight stations were set up around the technical center for the students. The stations included: Early childhood development, building trades, automotive, welding, health sciences, computer networking, business and graphic arts.

According to Linn County Area Career and Technical Center director Carrie Smith, she wants to show the students more learning possibilities.

“We want to show these students what’s available to them and everything we offer here,” Smith said.

Students spent time at each station asking questions and getting first hand experience from the instructors and technical center students. Students learned how to use a welding gun, basic construction skills and how to change a tire.

According to Brookfield Middle School student Marissa Woodard, Skills Camp allowed her to learn in a new environment.

“It was an awesome day, I got to learn things I normally wouldn’t in school,” Woodard said.

Skills USA is a student organization, which gets students ready for the workplace. The organization has competitions, which allow the students to meet industry professionals and learn more about careers before they enter the workforce. Members of Skills USA are juniors and seniors in high school. All technical center students are allowed to participate in Skills USA.

Linn County Area Career and Technical Center welding teacher Adam Melton says Skills USA gives students job readiness.

“Skills USA allows students to get information about different industries. They get exposed to many new people including professionals,” Melton said. “All of my welding students have been introduced to many welding companies in the area.”

Linn County Area Career and Technical Center student Ashlynn Jones says Skills USA has allowed her to receive valuable experience.

“I have been able to meet a lot of new people,” Jones said. “Skills USA has also taught me how to get ready for a job and what I should be prepared for.”

Jones placed third in districts for medical math. Medical math challenges students to find correct dosages of drugs needed for hospital patients. Jones went to the state Skills USA competition. Her chapter earned gold there. She plans to be a registered nurse after college and travel across the country.

Smith plans to make Skills Camp an annual event. She’s happy to bring more students to the technical center to show what is available to Linn County students.