NPC_skills_usaFor the past 14 years Northland Pioneer College Career and Technical Education (CTE) students have demonstrated both their skills and career readiness at SkillsUSA regional, state and national competitions for secondary and college students.

In 2015, NPC students won 23 medals at the state competition with two NPC Cosmetology students, Cassandra Gardner, Show Low, and Nayeli Morales, St. Johns, earning gold medals in the Job Demo and Job Interview events, respectively. The two then went on to represent the state of Arizona at the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), where Gardner finished in sixth place and Morales ninth place in their events.

“SkillsUSA is a big step in helping students become leaders. When students compete, they’re on their own with no instructors. That encourages them to use and rely on the not only their technical skills, but also the leadership skills we’ve helped them develop, and that will help them in their future careers,” said Frank Pinnell, NPC department chair for Automotive Technology and Welding and SkillsUSA coordinator.

“We’re seeing that teaching communication skills along with technical skills helps them become supervisors, run their own business or even be the trusted employees in whatever profession they go into. As instructors, we help students attain that level of competence by teaching them the skills that are outside the scope of textbooks; the interpersonal skills, the interviewing skills, the skills needed to have them enter the workforce and become leaders,” said Pinnell.

NPC has incorporated this well-rounded teaching approach into all of its CTE programs and has seen success as employers are noticing and now seeking out NPC graduates.