SkillsUSA stresses interpersonal skills as well as technical ones

Central Carolina Community College student Rosalio Avalos (center) receives the gold medal for internetworking at the recent SkillsUSA national championships in Atlanta. (Photo: CCCC)

Students in SkillsUSA competitions not only learn and demonstrate key technical skills. They also must hone the “essential traits” that employers highly value.

Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) student Rosalio “Leo” Avalos won the gold medal for internetworking in the recent SkillsUSA national championships in Atlanta. He was one of four students from the North Carolina college who finished first in the state championships and competed nationally.

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The national internet-working competition consisted of five parts: network design, troubleshooting, end-to-end equipment configuration, a technical assistance center call and a written exam.

SkillsUSA mentors and prepares students for the job market, Avalos says: “It tests your (technical) knowledge as well as your communication and problem-solving skills. These skills are highly sought after when you are looking to pursue a career.”

He says that one of his biggest takeaways from the experience was the importance of being able to communicate effectively with customers.

“Whether it’s assisting them with a technical difficulty or delivering a presentation, we must keep in mind who our audience is,” he says.

CCCC IT and networking instructor John Ainsworth says Avalos’s participation “afforded him the opportunity to directly speak with Cisco employees (who were) judges at the competition, and I believe something really good will be coming out of that, if that’s the path he chooses to take. He — and the team — now have a few more options than they had previously, and the training process has just made them all that much better at their craft.”

About the Author

Dennis Pierce
Dennis Pierce is an education writer based in Boston.
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