Dallas College News Update


During the SkillsUSA competition, Brycen McLaurin constructed a four-foot wall.

Media Contact: Debra Dennis; DDennis@DallasCollege.edu

For immediate release — July 10, 2023

(DALLAS) — Brycen McLaurin knew he wanted to win. Undaunted by fellow competitors, he meticulously constructed a four-foot, double-wide wall with bricks and blocks. McLaurin, who is studying masonry at Dallas College North Lake Campus, is familiar with this oldest form of construction because he had decided in high school to make it part of his life’s work.

“I’ve been doing this since high school,” said McLaurin, 20, a graduate of Grand Prairie High School. “You want to be as accurate as possible. It was a pretty large project with more than 100 bricks, but I did it alone. It was intensive, and there’s a lot of strategy and time management that goes into it. You must have insight into how things work.”

“I think it’s good to be recognized for something you’ve put a lot of work in, and it looks good to employers,” said McLaurin, who wants to become a construction manager. For his diligence and craftsmanship, he was awarded a silver medal at last month’s SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta.

As employers move to skills-based hiring, Dallas College students are following their lead and qualifying for apprenticeships and training opportunities that require work-ready abilities for businesses eager to hire. Last month, Dallas College students were awarded nine gold, silver and bronze medals at the annual SkillsUSA competition. They are among the 6,000 students who showcased their skills in front of an array of industry leaders who are eager to hire.

In addition to McLaurin, the Dallas College winners are:

  • Jesse Serrano and Shaina Albert, students at Dallas College Richland Campus, who were gold winners in the interactive application and video game development category
  • Brookhaven students Meshack Mashua, Orlando Silva and Tabitha Tudor, who were awarded bronze for community service
  • Frida Hutchinson, a student at El Centro Campus, who won bronze in culinary arts
  • El Centro student Tairan Lockett, who won bronze for extemporaneous speaking
  • Cedar Valley Campus student Omar Vazquez, who won bronze for power equipment technology
Brycen McLaurin celebrates his silver medal at the Skills USA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

“These students are creating new pathways for success in technical career fields,” said Noeli Piccoli-Biggs, senior manager for special academic programs at Dallas College. “Students build confidence and enhance their technical, work and personal skills while participating at the national competition.

“Our students learn what the industry expects and requires from them. These medals prove that Dallas College students are ready to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible citizens,” she said.

In addition to networking and reinforcing employability skills, students learn teamwork and leadership development.

Twenty-one Dallas College students and eight faculty members attended the event. In addition to competing, students explored career opportunities and sought advice from industry leaders.

“Their success is partly due to the support from our great Dallas College faculty members who worked tirelessly with our students throughout the year and even into the late hours of the night during the conference,” said Juan Garcia, chief of staff for Dallas College.

SkillsUSA is a partnership that brings together educators, students and industry leaders who are interested in trade, technical and skilled service careers, including health occupations. A national nonprofit, the organization serves more than 300,000 students and instructors. SkillsUSA is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education.

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