A Tegra Medical high school student co-op has won a gold medal in the SkillsUSA state competition.
Ethan Blake, a CNC machine operator who grinds intricate points on different types of medical needles, has earned the gold medal in the competition. As a junior at Blackstone Valley Tech, Blake participated in the CNC milling specialist category as part of the manufacturing sector of the competition. Other sectors of the competition included graphic design, carpentry, plumbing, welding, nursing, culinary arts, information technology, robotics and firefighting.
The program is a partnership of education and industry to help enable a skilled workforce in the U.S.
“SkillsUSA is an amazing program,” Ken Giacomuzzi, Tegra Medical Tool Crib coordinator and SkillsUSA volunteer, said. “It helps kids be job-ready immediately after they graduate.”
The SkillsUSA competition starts at a local level, then becomes a state and national competition. Blake won a silver medal in in local district competition in March, which qualified him to enter the Massachusetts state competition. He prepared for the state competition by refining his programming skills. The competition itself included two hours of programming a part on a simulator, as well as 15 minutes of execution to test if the program ran successfully.
“I was the last one to do the test,” Blake said. “We didn’t get any feedback until the award ceremony the next day. But I felt pretty confident. I really enjoy programming and I had time to test my work before my two hours was up.”
Blake’s program ran smoothly, which earned him a perfect score, gold medal and a chance to compete on the national level on June 25.
“we are proud, excited and not surprised at his success,” Tom Rabe, a manufacturing supervisor at Tegra Medical, said. “From day one, he’s been a model employee who absorbed and picked up the job quicker than we ever imagine. He’s proven, especially with winning gold at SkillsUSA, that the sky is the limit for him.”