On January 31, students representing 12 different high schools across Southwest Washington competed at the SkillsUSA Regional Welding Competition at Kelso High School in Kelso, Washington. After competing a serires of written, visual, and technical challenges, the medal winners at this year’s competition were:

  • Gold Medal: Carter Huff, Kelso High School, Kelso School District
  • Silver Medal: Tucker Salisbury, Kelso High School, Kelso School District
  • Bronze Medal: Steven Jacka, Cascadia Tech, Evergreen School District

The three southwest regional winners will advance to the state competition, which will be held on March 22 in Tacoma at Clover Park Technical College.

This annual welding competition tests job readiness skills learned in the classroom.

“Our students get to experience firsthand the challenges and rewards of the welding profession,” said Lance Ganieany, welding teacher at Kelso High School. “It’s not just about the technical skills, but also about developing problem-solving abilities, precision, and a strong work ethic. These are the qualities that will make them successful in any career path they choose.”.

Welding is one of many subjects taught in Career & Technical Education programs at schools across the country. Career & Technical Education courses center on hands-on job-readiness learning to prepare students for jobs in high-demand career fields. The SkillsUSA Regional Welding Competition occurs just in time to kick off Career & Technical Education Month, an annual celebration of job readiness education throughout February.

“Seeing these students apply their learning in a competitive environment not only tests their abilities but also prepares them for the real-world challenges they’ll face in the welding industry. It’s inspiring to see how these young welders take on complex tasks with such precision and dedication,” said Don O’Brien, metal arts teacher at Washougal High School.

Learn more about Career & Technical Education (CTE) and the CTE program at Kelso High School.