Madison College Students Make their Mark at SkillsUSA National Competition


Ten Madison College students traveled to Atlanta in June to compete in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC). Three of the students medaled, and all students had very impressive showings.

The NLSC is the equivalent of a sports’ team national championship for those students who are perfecting a skilled trade.

Tom Wozniak, Madison College diesel technology instructor and immediate past SkillsUSA-Wisconsin Postsecondary State Director explained, “The SkillsUSA NLSC celebrates students who are learning career skills and are very talented in that path.”

He went on to explain that the benefits of competition go far beyond bragging rights noting that, at this level, major corporations are involved as sponsors and/or judges which provides an opportunity for the students to showcase their skills in front of potential employers. Corporations like Toyota, Snap On, Cummins and others often provide valuable prizes for medalists and engage with the students, creating an opportunity for access the students wouldn’t otherwise have.

In addition, medalists at the NLSC have an opportunity to earn a position representing Team USA and compete internationally in the biannual WorldSkills International competition. In October 2024, the WorldSkills International conference will be held in Lyon, France.

SkillsUSA - Carlos and Cody
Students Armand Carlo Agbulous and Cody Buchanan take home 2nd place in Additive Manufacturing
SkillsUSA - Katie
Collision Technology student Katie Maurer (right) placed 3rd in Pin Design

For Wozniak, another benefit is the ability for both the students and the advisors to benchmark themselves and their programs against national competition. “It's great for programs like our diesel program for example, how does our program stack up against other programs not only in the state but other programs across the nation?”

Whether they medal or not, the students can see that their scores were high in a tight competition, or a first-year student can gain confidence in their skills knowing that they held their own against students who have been at it for three or four years.

This year’s Madison College representatives at the SkillsUSA NLSC include:

  • Armand Carlo Agbulous and Cody Buchanan who placed 2nd and took home a silver medal in Additive Manufacturing. They also won $1,000 in scholarships. (Advisors: Ryan Ubersox and Jon Helt)
  • Katie Maurer, a Collision Technology student placed 3rd in Pin Design and took home a bronze medal. (Advisor: Aaron Stroot)
  • Machine Tool student Wyatt McLaughlin, a first-year student competing against two- and four-year programs took home 12th place in CNC Programming. (Advisor: JR Colvin)
  • Andrea King took 6th place in cosmetology earning 949 of the possible 1,000 points in a very tight competition. (Advisor: Melissa Brainerd)
  • First-year student Jacob Breunig placed 11th in the Diesel Equipment Technology competing against two and four-year programs. (Advisor: Aron Kershaw)
  • The Welding Fabrication team of Brayden Brown, Evan Obregon and Braden Ripp placed 7th representing a one-year program competing against two- and four-year program. (Advisors: Al Weishoff and Sam Morrison)
  • Welding Sculpture – Welding student Amanda Neumaier placed 12th with her sculpture against two- and four-year art students. (Advisor: Al Weishoff)

Madison College has been competing as part of SkillsUSA for about 30 years, consistently performing well. One factor that drives that performance is the quality of the advisors year-in and year-out.

“At Madison College we have probably a dozen or more programs that belong to SkillsUSA and under each one of those programs there are one to two advisors,” explained Wozniak. “So, I'm looking at anywhere from about a dozen to two dozen advisors that are each very very strong as far as SkillsUSA.”

The opportunity to showcase the skills that these students have developed celebrates, not just these students, but the paths they have chosen in mastering skills that can lead to fulfilling careers in the community.