SANFORD - Nine Central Carolina Community College Welding students recently won honors in the North Carolina SkillsUSA virtual championships, a competition developing career and technical skills for students in middle school, high school, and college.
The two first-place winners - Michael Sikinger and Dylan Smith -- have the opportunity to participate in the SkillsUSA national championships.
CCCC students competing in the state SkillsUSA competition and their place of finish were:
Also, two teams from CCCC competed in the Metalworking Showcase Competition. Participants were:
The Metalworking Showcase students built a 6" Pipe Assembly using the Stick and Tig Welding Processes. During the six-week project, they documented their progress and submitted a notebook for judging.
"Our Welding students have performed very well," said Charles Bell, CCCC Welding Program Director. "They went above and beyond to complete their qualifier tests, online video presentations, hands-on work, and prepared and submitted multiple page step-by-step notebooks online as to how they fabricated their projects."
Dylan Smith, of Sanford, won first place for his welding project in the SkillsUSA state competition. "The welding project I was required to do was to make a part and place the welding to a specific size and length on the part. The part was pretty much a V groove plate welded to a piece of channel stock and stood up on the plate," said Smith. "We used a variety of rods for the competition like 7024, 7018, and 6010 welding rods. We also had to cut out shapes on a piece of half-inch steel plate to the required sizes."
Smith noted that he became interested in studying welding when he was at Lee County High School and heard about the Caterpillar apprenticeship program. "This (the CCCC Welding) program has been part of my life for four years now since I was in the Caterpillar apprenticeship program and it has been one of the best choices I've made. Being in the welding program has led me to secure a valuable skill and a very nice job right out of college," said Smith.
Michael Sikinger, who is a 2021 Lee Early College graduate and recipient of the CCCC Welding Technology Outstanding Student Award, finished first in the Welding Sculpture category in the SkillsUSA state competition.
"It is a bear mostly made from stick welding stubs and other scrap I found," Sikinger, of Sanford, said of his project. "The entire project was done with only an oxy-acetylene gas torch and hand tools. The hand tools only thing wasn't a requirement. It's just something I decided to do for fun and as a personal challenge."
Sikinger said he earned the welding merit badge in the Boy Scouts. "I've worked as a blacksmith and a welder-fabricator since then and I really can't imagine myself in a job that doesn't involve some sort of metalworking. It's just something I'm very passionate about," said Sikinger.
The Central Carolina Community College Welding Technology students can earn one of the following credentials -- associate, diploma, and certificate. Learn more about this program at www.cccc.edu/curriculum/majors/weldingtechnology.
For more information on Central Carolina Community College - which is dedicated to providing pathways to achievable dreams, visit www.cccc.edu.
Dylan Smith shows off a welding creation.
Dylan Smith at work on a welding project.
Michael Sikinger at work on a welding project.
Here is a welding sculpture creation by Michael Sikinger.