Home > Building, Events > CDA Encourages Youth Participation in SkillsUSA (Part 2)

CDA Encourages Youth Participation in SkillsUSA (Part 2)

June 16th, 2010

By Harold Moret, CDA Project Manager and Piping Applications Specialist

Harold Moret, a CDA piping applications specialist, spends each June judging young people participating in the SkillsUSA Championships, sponsored by the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC). More than 15,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners come to the event each year in Kansas City. The 46th annual event in 2010 will be June 20-25 in Kansas City.

If it’s not in a kid’s blood to become a lawyer or a doctor, a trade is an alternative career for them. SkillsUSA works in conjunction with high schools and technical colleges so kids can learn trade skills that help them to be successful in pursuing a career.  As a part of the program, they can also choose to show their skills by competing against one another in local, state and national competitions.  The SkillsUSA Championships is the final, premier showcase of their skills.  There are all kinds of trades represented at the conference – plumbing, electronics, hair cutting, air craft mechanics – and more.

June 2010 will be the 5th year I’ve participated as a judge in the SkillsUSA plumbing contest. The contests are run through donations by the industry and with the help of people like me, who’ve been in the business a long time and want to help students to learn their trades properly from the bottom up.

My part is to judge the copper installation.  In the contest, copper is used for all of the water lines.  The plumbing students have a platform that represents a bathroom – it’s eight feet by four feet.  There’s a sink, shower, and commode all on the little table and they have 8 hours to put them all together and to make them work.  They have to install all the fixtures, the water going to them, and the drain and vent lines.  There’s a group of seven or eight judges who judge each part and make sure that all contestants work in a safe manner.  It’s tough to watch them start out as they shake out their nerves.  It gives us all a sense of pride when the students do a good job and also have fun with each other as they compete.

But there’s still a lot of work to do in educating our young people. I tell the young students, if they apply themselves, the sky’s the limit in any industry they decide to go into. A lot of them are there because they know they can make good money. But I also want to see them put their heart into their work.

I find teaching very satisfying, especially when I help a journeyman understand how to work to today’s installation standards. They tell me, “You know, I’ve been doing this wrong for 20 years.” It feels good when they see how my approach makes sense. I tell them it will feel awkward at first and you feel like you’re starting all over again. But it doesn’t take long for them to put a joint together so easily they don’t even have to think about it. It feels great to teach the older people how to do it properly too. If they do it well, they can then pass on that skill to their apprentices.

Categories: Building, Events Tags:
Comments are closed.