ETA Sponsors Telecommunications Cabling Contest at SkillsUSA

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ETA® International recently participated in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference by sponsoring the Telecommunications Cabling contest for the 13th year in a row. SkillsUSA showcases the best career and technical education students in the nation with this year’s theme: Champions at Work - Preparing America’s Skilled Workforce.

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Pictured (front L-R): Darnell, Hassard, Secondary Medalists: Ward, Woozley, Paris, Technical Chair Maher, Phelps, (back L-R): Dickerson, Post-Secondary Medalists Carriker, Dionne, Rucker, Joe Maher.

The SkillsUSA T-com Cabling contest recently learned that charter committee member Robert Dickerson will be retiring from the Technical Committee and has set up and torn down his last T-com Cabling contest.

The SkillsUSA Championships have been a premier event since 1967, remaining the largest skill competition in the world. The philosophy of the Championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs. This philosophy is the guiding principle that inspires ETA® International to continue to sponsor the National Telecommunications Cabling Championship.

Unique to SkillsUSA, the Telecommunications Cabling Championship utilizes many of the competencies and hands-on skills that make up ETA’s Data Cabling Installer (DCI) and Customer Service Specialist (CSS) certifications. Students interested in voice and data network cabling and installation soon find out that industry indicates 80 percent of the problems in computer networks, security systems installations and others are caused by cabling connector issues and not computers, servers, switches, etc. This competition tests to worldwide industry standards related to cabling for data and voice connections, physical and logical networks and signal transmission. Contestants demonstrate skills in fiber and copper cable termination, pulling and mounting cable, patch panel installation and termination, installing jacks, cable testing and troubleshooting, and providing customer service. Both copper and fiber optics cable are represented. The contest stresses safety in all activities.

The T-com Cabling contestants arrived early in the morning ready for a long day of competition. Divided into groups, they entered their first test area after clothing inspections and tool kits checks. Their hands-on skills were assessed in the areas of 25-pair cable installation, cable termination, copper and fiber cable construction, copper and fiber troubleshooting, and technical support. Each area rotation was 90 minutes long.

Congratulations to the tough competitors who vied for medals and awards in the Telecommunications Cabling contest and especially to the six contestants who took home gold, silver and bronze medals for themselves and their schools!

Secondary: Gold – Mason Woozley, Dennis Technical Education Center, Boise ID; Silver – Joshua Ward, Weaver Academy, Greensboro NC; Bronze – John Boris Paris, ESC Sup Voc Metropolitana Miguel Such, Rio Piedras PR.

Post-Secondary: Gold – Tyler Dionne, Manchester Community College, Manchester NH; Silver – William Carriker, Stanly Community College, Albemarle NC; Bronze – David Rucker, College of Western Idaho, Nampa ID.

The contests are planned by the Skills Technical Committee and designed to test the aptitude needed for successful entry-level performance in the field. The National Education Team and the Technical Team from industry developed the Telecommunications Cabling contest content, built and set up the rotation areas as well as conducted both the orientation and competition. All contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations, and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry. In addition, leadership contestants demonstrated their skills, which included extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.

The 53rd annual SkillsUSA Championships, held in Louisville, KY, took place June 20-22, 2017. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. This multi-million dollar event occupied a space equivalent to 16 football fields. Over 6,000 high school and post-secondary students competed in 100 different hands-on trade, technical and leadership contests at the Olympic-type event. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations with test competencies set by industry.

Including the T-com judges, supporters and contributors to the T-comm Cabling Championship come from departments of public instruction, community colleges, proprietary training groups, and companies such as ETA, Dymo, eITprep, Corning Optical Communications, CWA, Panduit, Fluke Networks, Cisco, Kobalt Tools, Light Brigade, Keysight Technologies, Southwire, Milwaukee Tools, Wiley Publishing, MetroNet, Bland Technologies and BICSI.

The SkillsUSA Telecommunications Cabling contest for the National Skills and Leadership Conference recently learned that charter committee member Robert Dickerson, of Apex, NC, will be retiring from the Technical Committee and has set up and torn down his last T-com Cabling contest. Formerly with the Department of Public Instruction in North Carolina, Dickerson started as the contest’s National Education Team Chair and has been with the contest since its inception in 2002.

“Bob has a sharp eye for contest logistics along with the myriad details that needed to be taken care of in the days leading up to the competition and we are certainly going to miss his levelheadedness,” said T-com Technical Chair and ETA International President Teresa Maher, CSS.

She said he was known for entertaining the technical and education team with colorful stories from his military and educational background. His laugh and his ideas will be sorely missed by the team. Dickerson was honored with a plaque at a dinner with the T-com Cabling and Internetworking teams on June 22, 2017.

“Bob made it a goal to improve each contest over the previous year and always achieved that goal for the student competitors,” Maher said, adding, “Thank you, Bob, for your years of faithful service to Career and Technical Education”.

National technical and educational committees for Telecommunications Cabling Championship: Technical Chair Teresa Maher, CSS - ETA (IN); Robert Dickerson, Department of Public Instruction, retired (NC); and Richard Darnell, Commscope (UT); Dan Parmer, DCI and Jeff Swearingen, both of Stanly Community College (NC); and Dede Starnes, Corning Optical Communications (NC). ETA gives special thanks to the Telecommunications Cabling Championship judges: Bill Phelps, Dymo (NC); Nick Hart, Bland Technologies, KY); and Tom Maher, MetroNet (IN); Allison Hassard, SWIFT, Inc. (VA); Derek Benson, Corning Optical Communications (NC) and Mark Damiter, Corning Optical Communications (NC).

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About ETA - Since 1978, ETA has delivered over 200,000 professional certifications, over 65,500 fiber optic certifications and nearly 40,000 FCC license exams. Widely recognized and frequently used in worker job selection, hiring processes, pay increases, and advancements, ETA certifications are often required as companies bid on contracts. ETA’s certifications are personal and portable worldwide, thus traveling with the individual, regardless of employment or status change. ETA certifications measure and validate competencies of persons, not products or vendors. All ETA certifications are accredited through the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC) and align with the ISO-17024 standard.

About SkillsUSA - SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 300,000 member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to:

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Michele Altman
ETA International
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