EOC Tech hosts Service Careers SkillsUSA Regional Competition

Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center hosted the SkillsUSA Job Readiness Competition on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, which provided 64 students in various Service Careers programs from 5 Technology Centers, as well as EOC Tech, the ability to compete and the opportunity to advance on to the State level on April 21-22, 2024. The Job Readiness Competition was organized by EOC Tech Service Careers Instructor Jeff Foresee and welcomed Canadian Valley, El Reno Technology Center, Western Technology Center, Francis Tuttle Technology Center and High Plains Technology Center to compete, alongside EOC Tech.  

The 13 competitions that took place on Feb.8 ranged from Floral Design to Horticulture and even to Welding. Students who placed in the top 3 advance on to State SkillsUSA in April. 

Judges for the competition were  pulled from local businesses and both former and current EOC Tech staff helped judge as well. 

“Harrah Chamber of Commerce was invaluable in helping us locate judges,” Foresee said. “We had judges from local businesses such as The Floral Emporium and even former Instructors came to help out with the competitions.” 

Although the hosting site for the Regional competition changes each year,  the primary purpose remains the same. 

“The skills competitions for our students are a lot of self-actualization, ” Foresee said. “I think service careers students competing alongside each other and seeing their own progress is really beneficial and is a huge confidence booster for students who don’t typically get to show off their abilities.” 

Foresee said there is a special design and purpose for the Job Readiness competition, centered around the student and their future. 

 “We are very careful to only have competitions of actual practical work-based skills; we’re not doing anything that you wouldn’t do daily on a job site,” he said. “We also synthesize them with our certification skills, so the exact same hard-service maintenance mopping techniques we do for the competition is verbatim what is required for certification testing, so prepping for one gets you ready for the other. That is really important to all the instructors of Service Careers programs across the State.”

This year marked the first SkillsUSA Job Readiness competition that EOC Tech hosted since Foresee has been an Instructor and although he played a large part in preparing everything for the competition, he said it was truly a group effort. 

“Everyone on campus put aside a lot of important things to make sure this event went off well,” he said. “It was pretty fantastic and resulted in a really fun day for everyone involved.”

The sense of accomplishment and community from the group effort required to organize the event,  just means that more people get to see the joy and pride students gain from the competition; a factor that Foresee believes makes everything worthwhile. 

“I think for any educator, the best part of the whole experience is being able to see all the milestones; getting to watch the benchmarks get cleared, getting to watch the first ‘Ah-ha’s’ and ‘I get it’s’, and we have the absolute best awards ceremony,” he said. “Seeing these kids get rewarded for working hard is just the best.”

In addition to Foresee organizing SkillsUSA Job Readiness at EOC Tech for the first time in his 7 years as an Instructor, he is also in a brand-new program space for the 2023-2024 school year. 

“We were awarded a Grant opportunity and ended up receiving a partial award so we were able to really outfit this space,” he said. “We’re really fortunate – we have all new equipment this year, including an oven, which we’ve never had before and now that we’re up here around other programs, people are smelling the food we make, coming in to try it and offering feedback, which has added a whole different dynamic to our program.”

Spread the word. Share this post!