The SkillsUSA competition is a showcase of career and technical education students.

TACOMA, Wash. – Bates Technical College Fire Service student Adam McKee took home a silver medal at last month’s SkillsUSA championships, held in Louisville, Ky.

McKee, a resident volunteer at the Enumclaw Fire Department, competed in the firefighting category against eight students nationwide.

The fourth-quarter student said the experience was exciting. “I enjoyed meeting other students learning fire service and watching portions of other competitions happening at the event,” he said. “I also visited and toured fire stations in the city, which gave me the opportunity to learn what stations look like and how they operate in different parts of the country.”

The firefighting contest evaluates the participants’ preparation for firefighting careers through hands-on skill demonstrations, written and oral presentations. The students tested against the clock and each other in the following areas: safety; breathing apparatus; fire streams; ladders; ropes, knots and hoses; fire control; ventilation; emergency medical care and rescue; and protecting fire cause evidence. The students are evaluated using National Fire Protection Association-established standards.

McKee said the four-day event allowed him to gain an additional perspective on the industry. “I came away from the experience knowing that my program at Bates is preparing me well for this career field,” he said.

The 51st annual National Leadership and Skills Conference attracted more than 6,000 high school and postsecondary/college career and technical education students to compete on the national level in categories that range from practical nursing and information technology to customer service and job interview. Each contestant is a state-level gold medalist.

To learn more about Bates’ Fire Service program, go to, or call 253.680.7400. To learn more about SkillsUSA, go to

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps all students excel in their training programs and future technical, skilled and service careers, including health occupations. Nationally, SkillsUSA serves more than 300,000 high school and college/postsecondary students and their chapter advisors who are professional members. Learn more:


SkillsUSA 2015