Skills take SCCTC student to top level
BY STACI WILSON
As the need for skilled workers rises in the United States, one organization is promoting a partnership of teachers, students and industry – Skills USA. And among the national organization’s most ardent supporters is Cody Franklin, a Susquehanna County Career and Technology graduate and post-secondary student.
Franklin, 21, of Springville, recently returned from the Skills USA National Leadership Conference held in Kansas City, Mo. There he competed in Extemporaneous Speaking – and placed 15th in the national competition out of a field of 65 in his division.
His topic: “What is the purpose of Skills USA and how does it affect you?”
Although he used all five minutes of his allotted prep time, Franklin is perhaps one of the non-profit organization’s biggest cheerleaders – passionate about the ideals of Skills USA.
Franklin came to SCCTC as a culinary arts student in 10th grade; returned to the school as an adult in the cosmetology program; and plans to continue on at SCCTC to obtain his cosmetology teaching credentials.
He became involved in Skills USA – first competing in the high school division and continuing throughout his time as an adult student at SCCTC.
“Customer service is my thing,” Franklin said.
Dr. Alice Davis, SCCTC administrative director said, “Cody relates well to everybody. Everybody is his friend.”
This was the first year Franklin competed in the Extemporaneous Speaking category. Franklin said there is no age limit in the adult division. One inspiring competitor, he said, was a grandmother of five.
Skills USA adviser and SCCTC teacher Bruce Castelli said, “To finished fifteenth in the country, from a little school in Susquehanna County – that’s big.”
“Speaking is my specialty,” Franklin smiled. “I don’t care what I compete in at Skills USA. I’m not there to win – I’m there to represent my school.”
Although it’s a competition, Franklin also said, “There are no winners or losers. We all know how to do team work.”
That team work is developed through competitions at the local, district, state and national level.
After his first Skills USA competition at the local level while in high school, Franklin knew he wanted to participate more fully in the organization.
He then became the SCCTC delegate at the state leadership conference and is president of the career center’s Skills USA chapter.
Davis said, “He’s the voice of the students.” Franklin acts as a liaison between the students, faculty and administration, Davis explained.
Franklin’s passion for skilled trades and service equals that of television Mike Rowe – guest speaker at the Skills USA National Leadership Conference.
Franklin said he can relate to Rowe in a lot of ways and the keynote address inspired him to give back as much as he can to the organization by joining the alumni organization.
“I’ll be carrying Skills USA with me until I’m in the grave,” Franklin joked.
Davis said the extra work students put into preparing for Skills USA is more than readying for competition. “It’s building a portfolio of your life,” she said.
“These are the awesome moments,” Davis said of Franklin’s success, “when you see where they can go.”
Franklin doesn’t take sole credit for his success. “These advisers busted their chops for us,” he said, adding his thanks and appreciation to all of the teachers, staff, administration and school board members.
Looking to the future, in addition to returning to SCCTC to complete his training to teach cosmetology, Franklin also plans to work at a local salon and also plans to open a small salon at his home and pursue training in barbering.