By Haide Hernandez
Hundreds of high-school students from around California turned pieces of metal into art at the SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference held at Santa Ana College April 11.
Each school had a four student team in general welding categories.
Contestants were required to complete job applications, a resume and go through an interview process as a way to promote education and leadership skills to students interested in technical vocations.
Sculptures were completed before the event because of its time consuming nature.
Teams turned in a notebook with their work, documenting what was accomplished, what they purchased to complete the art piece, pictures of each step in the process and how it was created.
“Training in welding, you need people skills to be able to do an interview and get the job,” said George Moreno, full-time faculty member of the welding department.
Certified welders and members of the American Welding Society served as the judges.
The competition was held at the college because it has the space and certified people to be able to run the event. Although SAC students did not compete, they did set up the machinery.
“Bringing in Skills USA is not just training them how to weld but training them how to get a job, how to move up and how to be a leader,” Moore said. The goal is not just to be a welder but a foreman, a supervisor and anything to further their education.