In the news: Austin Shirley, 17, of Plainfield, won first place in the electrical trade category at the state Skills USA challenge in Meriden earlier this month.
Aspiring engineer: Shirley became the fourth consecutive Norwich Regional Technical High School student to win the electrical competition at the state contest, and will now head to Louisville, Ky., in June to represent Connecticut in the nationals. He’ll go to work full-time at Noank Electric in Groton when he graduates in June.
Precision work: At the state contest, Shirley, a senior, had to complete a pipe bending and commercial wiring project that required him to come up with his own diagrams before completing the task. He said the troubleshooting and critical thinking that goes into the field is what appeals to him. He chose the field during exploratory programming as a freshman.
About SkillsUSA: It empowers members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens, according to its website. It claims to improve the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training. It serves than 300,000 students and instructors annually and has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations. More than 14,500 instructors and administrators are professional members of SkillsUSA, according to its website.
Quotable: “It’s always a challenge, and it’s about troubleshooting things that don’t work right and figuring it all out. I like the problem solving. Our teachers are very, very detail oriented, and lot of time goes into shaping us as workers.”