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WITC students take top spots at national competition

Chris LaPage, left, program instructor Dave Brown and Dan Cunningham. Two WITC-New Richmond grads recently competed in SkillsUSA national competition in Kansas City. Cunningham took first place in Marine and LaPage secured 8th in the nation for Motorcycle.

(7/14/14): Two Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College graduates recently competed and received highest honors at the 50th National Skills USA conference in Kansas City. From the WITC-New Richmond campus, Dan Cunningham won first place in marine; Austin Cooper, a WITC-Rice Lake campus graduate, placed first in cabinetmaking. In addition, Chris LaPage from WITC-New Richmond, placed 8th in the motorcycle competition. All graduated from WITC in May.

“To have three WITC students in the top 10 – and two in first place – is beyond significant,” says Joe Huftel, campus administrator, WITC-New Richmond. “The level of competency necessary to get to this level demonstrates these students are the best of the best. And being number one in the country, well, that speaks for itself.”

Austin Cooper, left, and his instructor Scott Theilig, WITC-Rice Lake, are pictured following the annual SkillsUSA cabinetmaking competition in Kansas City where Cooper placed first in the nation.

Cunningham and LaPage graduated from WITC-New Richmond’s motorcycle, marine and outdoor power products program, and Cooper graduated from WITC-Rice Lake’s residential construction and cabinetmaking program.

SkillsUSA’s annual National Leadership and Skills Conference is a showcase of career and technical education students. More than 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from more than 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated in 99 hands-on skill and leadership competitions. The nonprofit organization serves teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health.

WITC-New Richmond’s motorcycle, marine and outdoor power equipment technician program prepares students in two-semesters to troubleshoot, service, and repair recreational equipment. Also, because WITC is an accredited Equipment & Engine Training Council (EETC) testing facility, students have the opportunity to become industry certified.

Unique in Wisconsin, WITC-Rice Lake’s four semester residential construction and cabinetmaking program gives students the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the construction industry. One element of the curriculum is to use hand and power tools commonly used in construction to fabricate and assemble wood products and build a house.