The SkillsUSA Championships are a collection of 100 competitions showcasing thousands of the best career and technical education high school and college students in the nation. This year’s conference will take place June 20-24 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.
“As the collision repair ‘level of difficulty’ grows along with the sophisticated advances OEMs are making in technology and materials, we as an industry need to look at how we can attract, train and maintain qualified technicians to repair innovative new vehicles,” said Richard Perry, OEM and strategic account sales manager for Chief. “SkillsUSA brings us the top high school and college students from around the country to compete for a national collision repair technology title. I invite anyone in the industry to come and see what our future looks like. I know they will be impressed.”
The multi-day collision competition covers all aspects of collision repair. Contestants take written tests and go through an application for work process where they present a resume and have an interview with a volunteer judge. In the structural analysis segment of the competition, students use three types of measuring devices – centerline gauges, mechanical and computerized systems – to identify damage in the test vehicles. The overall appearance of the finished product, speed and proper safety practices are all part of the contest.
Chief will provide two different measuring and pulling systems for the contest. A collision-damaged truck will be measured on a Chief Impulse-E/VHT frame rack using the Chief UMS “Universal Mechanical System.” A damaged unibody car will be held on a Globaljig presented by Chief bench and measured with a Chief LaserLock LiveMapping computerized measuring system.
SkillsUSA committee members and judges are all volunteers who take a week out of their schedules each year to support the largest gathering of vocational students in North America. The CRT committee has the responsibility to develop the structural written test, locate project vehicles, set up equipment and vehicles, present and monitor the written test, and schedule judges for the hands-on portion of the contest. Volunteers include Perry; Ken Boylan, Chief University global training manager; Mike Croker, Chief Central/Northeast sales manager; Bob Keith of CARSTAR; Quinn Machan of Pompano Ford; John Ressler and Tom Beachem of Nationwide Insurance; and chairman Ken Soupene of Collision Train, who was a senior Chief University instructor for many years.
The winning college and high school CRT Champion students each will receive a free registration for any upcoming Chief University course, a $985 value.