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Students Compete in SkillsUSA Championship

Posted on: May 6th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

SkillsUSANine MCTC students demonstrated their technical skills in the statewide SkillsUSA Championship last month. Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) student Joey Gomes placed third in the HVACR contest, continuing the College’s tradition of placing a student within the top three spots in this category each year since 1995.

“I was pretty confident going in,” he said. “It was challenging but I was unnerved.”

Nearly 17,000 schools compete in SkillsUSA championships on local, state and national levels. Each championship is made up of separate contests where students showcase their career, technology and technical skills and are judged by professionals from their respective industries. More than 1,100 business, industry and labor sponsors contribute to SkillsUSA in the form of judges and financial aid to contest winners.

Students who place first in each state-level contest earn the opportunity to compete in the national championship. MCTC HVACR Instructor Greg Skudlarek has been actively involved with SkillsUSA since he was a technical student, and has continued his participation as SkillsUSA advisor during his 26 years of teaching.

“Students benefit from these championships because if they do well, they’re recognized by the industry and opportunities open up,” he said.

Photo: HVACR contest students Jeff Stee, Joey Gomes, Molly Morgan and John Brown

MCTC Students Participate in, Volunteer for AWS Welding Competition

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments
Welding at MCTC

MCTC Welding Instructor Todd Bridigum works with a student.

MCTC was host to the “Behind the Mask” welding competition sponsored by the American Welding Society on Feb. 26. During the event, around 100 welding students from across Minnesota and Wisconsin competed in categories including gas metal arc welding, shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding and oxy-acetylene cutting.

In addition to participating in the competition, MCTC welding students managed traffic flow, set up booths with prints and materials, supervised the contestants and timed each competition.

MCTC Welding Instructor Todd Bridigum reports that the event was a big success. “This was the third time MCTC has hosted Behind the Mask,” he said. “A lot of work goes into an event like this.”

The American Welding Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of welding.  The Northwest section of the AWS uses part of the money earned during this event to pay for scholarships for students in various welding programs across the state, including MCTC.

MCTC Students Participate in SkillsUSA Minnesota Competition

Posted on: April 8th, 2014 by insidemctc 1 Comment

SkillsUSA 2014 ParticipantsEleven Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) students recently competed in the SkillsUSA Minnesota leadership and skills conference. Several students won awards for their hard work and creative projects in the fields of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) and Electrical Construction. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations as well as health occupations.

“We’re fortunate our students were able to compete at actual industry sites this year,” said Greg Skudlarek, MCTC HVACR instructor. “Not only do they get real industry experience, it also makes the playing field more level for students coming from across the state.” The competition drew more than 800 career and technical education students who competed in more than 80 hands-on trade, technical and leadership contests. Students from 25 campuses of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and 30 high schools from across Minnesota participated in the competition in Bloomington.

MCTC students have participated in the SkillsUSA competition for several years. In addition to students from the College’s HVACR and Electrical Construction programs, competing students in past years have represented the Machine Tool Technology and Welding and Metal Fabrication programs.

The 2014 national competition will take place this July in Kansas City.

Photo: MCTC students participated in the 2014 SkillsUSA state competition in Bloomington. From left to right: Stalin Ballesteros, Electrical Construction; Andrew Oliver, Electrical Construction; Dylan Mudgett, HVACR; Dave Archambault, HVACR; Alex MacDinald, HVACR.

MCTC Open House, STEM Fair and Skills Rodeo April 8

Posted on: April 3rd, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Open House banner

You are invited to join us for three amazing events at MCTC on April 8! Activities start at 10 a.m. and wrap up at 7 p.m. There’s something for everyone at MCTC on this action-packed day!

  • Open House, 57 p.m., T Plaza and 2nd floor
  • STEM Fair, 10 a.m.7 p.m., T Plaza
  • Skills Rodeo, 57 p.m., T Skyway

Open House, 5–7 p.m., T Plaza and 2nd floor
Whether exploring what the College has to offer, choosing your major or finding clubs that spark your interest, the Open House is for you! Invite your friends and family, stay for the other exciting events and be sure to pre-register! More information and registration are available here.


STEM Fair, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., T Plaza
Celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs, clubs and activities! At the STEM Fair you can:

  • Light your way through a cave lined with prehistoric cave paintings from across the world
  • Explore the Exploradome and its two distinct programs: a tour across the universe and a trip through the heart
  • Meet MCTC Engineering students and learn about their projects with a high altitude balloon, helicopters, a flight simulator and a drone
  • See MCTC student research projects previously highlighted at the state Capitol
  • Explore Biotechnology and other science demonstrations, hands-on activities and a human evolution display
  • Attend a presentation by Princeton University Molecular Biology professor Dr. Bonnie Bassler about how bacteria talk to one another
  • Watch the work of flesh-eating beetles, learn about animal decomposition and familiarize yourself with the flora of Loring Park
  • Learn more about MCTC’s STEM programs and student clubs!

Skills Rodeo, 57 p.m., T Skyway
Students from five career and technical programs will compete against one another in a chance to demonstrate their skills and vie for $2,500 in scholarships!

  • Photography: PHDI (Photography and Digital Imaging) participants will be asked to photograph portraits in front of a bright window. Students will have to balance studio lights with background light in order to create a mixed-light portrait.
  • Sound Arts: Sound Arts students will compete in a 10-minute sound frequency identification accuracy test involving music, frequency bands and filtering.
  • Barbering: Two Barbering students will compete by demonstrating their skills on live models in barber chairs, creating specific and specialized haircuts based on Minnesota State Barber Licensing exams. They will also present the logos they created for their proposed barber or hair salon business plans.
  • Culinary Arts: Culinary Arts student chefs will compete by creating the same dish which will be judged by a panel. The student with the highest score wins the scholarship, and the audience will be able to judge for themselves and eat the work of the competitors!
  • WeldingWelding students will compete at stations in the T Building welding labs to create specific challenging and sculptural welding projects within a limited time frame. A live video feed of the competition will be streamed to the T Skyway.

DJ music will be provided by students in The Sound Society student club.

Please join us for any of these amazing events April 8!

A welding instructor with a liberal arts background

Posted on: April 10th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments
Todd Bridigum, MCTC instructor

MCTC welding instructor Todd Bridigum inspects the work of a student

What sort of academic background would you expect of a welding instructor who also teaches machine tool technology and HVAC-R, and dabbles in the art of printmaking?

Todd Bridigum has a bachelor’s degree in English.

Todd fell in love with visual arts and sculpture while he was studying for his bachelor’s degree. After completing his degree he went back to school for welding and metal fabrication. He worked in a manufacturing company for several years before joining Minneapolis Community and Technical College as a welding instructor and faculty coordinator. He also has his own studio space where he continues his studies in printmaking, drawing and metal sculpture.

Todd’s liberal arts background has come in handy—he was given an offer to write a book on welding. Since its publication, his book How to Weld has received international demand.

Read more about Todd here.