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TCAT McMinnville cosmetology student brings home a gold medal from the annual statewide SkillsUSA competition in Chattanooga

Students from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology McMinnville recently competed in the post-secondary career and technical education fields at the annual SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference in Chattanooga.

Kai Sage, a 4th-trimester Cosmetology student, brought home the gold first-place medal in the nail care competition.

“TCAT – McMinnville is so proud of our students and instructors who participated in the state Skills USA competition. They represented our school well, and we were especially pleased to bring back the gold medal for nails. We are looking forward to attending the national Skills USA competition.” Said Dr. Melody Edmonds, President TCAT – McMinnville.

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Other TCAT McMinnville students who competed were Jacob Blankenship, Miguel Lomas, and Kyler Hopkins, all from the welding program.

“I knew that Kai would be perfect for this competition as she has a desired passion for the nail industry. Through her passion and dedication to the nail industry, I knew she would excel in this competition, and she did just that. I am so proud of Kai and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes at the Skills USA national competition in Atlanta Georgia.” Said Kristy Myers, Cosmetology Instructor at TCAT-McMinnville.

The competition is not over yet for Kai, who will be going on to the national competition to be held in Atlanta June 19-23.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. A nonprofit national education association, SkillsUSA serves middle-school, high- school, and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations. SkillsUSA has served nearly 14 million annual members cumulatively since 1965 and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor as a successful model of employer-driven workforce development.

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State chapters, including SkillsUSA Tennessee, hold annual competitions in scores of trade, technical and leadership fields. The 2023 Tennessee State Leadership and Skills Conference, held in Chattanooga April 16-19, was a showcase of career and technical education students, with more than 2,000 participants, including students, teachers, judges and business partners.

During the competitions, students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting, culinary arts and many more. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry. Leadership contestants will demonstrate skills including extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.

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