It’s a win/win/win for Washburn Tech, SkillsUSA & GM

December 14, 2017

Topeka, Kan. – A shiny new four-wheel training tool rolled into the automotive service technician program earlier this semester. The vehicle, a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado, will be used for training purposes, courtesy of General Motors. The donation of the truck, however, was first put into gear in June when Washburn Tech student Josh Wilhelm, of Holton, won a silver medal in the SkillsUSA automotive service technology contest, high school division.

“As well as walking away with an estimated $25k worth of prizes, scholarships and job opportunities from the sponsors of the competition, the schools of each medalist received prizes, foremost a vehicle for instructional purposes,” said Emiliano Arzate, instructor, auto service technician.

The participation of Washburn Tech students in SkillsUSA is also a plus for their career potential as they strengthen their employability skills, such as dependability, positive attitude and spirit of teamwork.

According to David J. Worden, program director, SkillsUSA Championships, the vehicles are only awarded to technical colleges that are certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

“GM has donated vehicles to all six of the medalists’ schools (college and high school) for the last few years, if the school is NATEF certified,” he said, noting the beneficial relationship SkillsUSA has had with GM for more than 20 years. Arzate noted his appreciation for the achievements of former student Josh Wilhelm.

“I can’t begin to explain how thrilled I am to be even just a part of Josh’s journey to the top, and him taking Washburn Tech with him. Washburn Tech receiving a vehicle to train future generations of students with, is just icing on the cake. It’s nice to look at this truck and remind myself this kind of success is always within our grasp.”