A Cherokee County School District student is nationally ranked for his automotive transportation career skills – the first-ever CCSD student to be named to the top 5!
Cherokee High School rising senior Austin Ledbetter competed at the Skills USA National contest this summer in Louisville and now is ranked No. 5 in the Nation in collision repair technology! Students who earned gold at their state SkillsUSA competition were invited to the National event to test their hands-on career skills.
“We’re dedicated to ensuring students have opportunities to hone their career skills and are so proud of Austin’s success,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Through our Career Pathways classes, students learn valuable skills and industry certifications to prepare them for success whether they enter the workforce immediately or continue their technical education. We want every student to graduate ‘future ready.’”
Austin, who is a student of Cherokee HS automotive teacher Mike Hagan, prepared for the competition throughout the spring with training support from various local shops and Matt Beard of the Metro Atlanta Automobile Association.
Contestants must demonstrate their ability to perform tasks set by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the ASE Education Foundation including metal straightening, attachment methods, plastic repair and structural analysis. They are judged on overall appearance of the finished product, speed and proper safety practices. Students also complete written tests on estimating, structural analysis, and ASE knowledge, and fill out a job application, present a resume, and participate in mock interviews.
His participation in the National competition was funded through sponsorships from Finish Masters and the Transportation Education Foundation of Georgia.
Austin already is looking forward to besting his record.
“I can’t wait to come up next year and compete,” said Austin, who hopes to earn his accreditation and attend Universal Technical Institute, for which he already has earned scholarships, and then pursue a career in the collision repair industry.