Yamaha Marine supported the 2023 National SkillsUSA Competition in Atlanta, Ga., June 19-23, through the organization and facilitation of the Marine Service Technology competition segment. In addition to the marine technology events, the national competition, which took place at the Georgia World Congress Center, also featured welding, construction trades, manufacturing, transportation, health care, hospitality, human services and more.
SkillsUSA is a national membership association serving college/postsecondary, high school and middle school students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skill service occupations. The organization gives students opportunities to test their skills against others for a chance to compete on a national level to earn scholarships and other prizes.
“SkillsUSA has helped build my resume and confidence competing in front of audiences,” said Dalton Hoyt, student, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. “In addition, Yamaha gave me an opportunity to further my education outside of school and helped me secure a job in the marine industry. The networking benefits provided through SkillsUSA with companies like Yamaha can really give aspiring technicians a jump start to their careers.”
Gregg Snyder, Yamaha Marine Training Department Manager, and Mark Harden, Yamaha Marine Regional Service Manager, served as National Technical Chairperson and National Technical Co-Chairperson of the Marine Technology Competition during the 2023 SkillsUSA National Competition, positions they assumed in 2019.
“We understood the importance of this competition when Yamaha Marine began attending the national competition in 2015,” said Snyder. “In an effort to develop a pipeline of qualified technicians for our dealer partners, we devote substantial time and resources to SkillsUSA on an annual basis, not only for our dealers and technical schools but also for students attending those schools.”
Yamaha sponsored 15 labs at the competition, which included individual skill stations, interviews and a written test. The hands-on test stations featured many aspects of two-stroke and four-stroke outboards, stern drive and inboard troubleshooting and repair. The written test included diagnostics, service and repair of marine accessory items. The labs tested the abilities of marine contestants by evaluating their skills in areas such as precision measuring, electrical testing, component identification, repair, diagnostics and more.
“Competing in SkillsUSA events challenges me while giving the chance to learn new things that I otherwise do not have exposure to through my school. Because of Yamaha’s donation of outboard motors to SkillsUSA, I now have a solid base of knowledge I can use to develop my career,” said Hannah Vaughn, Student, Carteret Community College. “I’m excited to venture into the marine service field.”
State and regional SkillsUSA competitions give Yamaha the opportunity to work directly with Technical School Partners (TSPs) to place talented, skilled professionals with certified Yamaha dealers. Yamaha Marine currently has more than 115 Technical School Partners that offer Yamaha-certified marine technical training curriculum to students. Yamaha works with technical schools to improve their curriculum and classroom training aids.
In 2018, 2019 and 2022, five of the six overall winners were affiliated with Yamaha Technical School Partners and in 2023, three of the six overall winners were affiliated.
SkillsUSA competitions also serve as excellent opportunities for marine dealers to recruit qualified technicians at the state level. Yamaha Marine Service team members attend roughly 10 state SkillsUSA competitions during the year to support Yamaha students. Yamaha Marine dealers also attend these competitions to observe the students in action and network for future opportunities within their dealerships.
SkillsUSA has served about 14 million members since it was founded in 1965. This membership includes more than 394,000 students, instructors, alumni and advisors annually. SkillsUSA has more than 19,000 local chapters and represents 130 occupational titles, or one-quarter of the jobs offered in the U.S.