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Cattin Shines at SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference

Western Dakota Tech Welding and Fabrication student Jerhett Cattin can take pride in his accomplishments at the recent SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky. 

As the South Dakota SkillsUSA Welding gold medal winner, Cattin qualified for nationals and competed in 10 different categories covering a wide-range of welding processes and procedures, including visual inspections, written tests, and practical welding tests. Cattin finished 13th overall against 37 other state champion welders from across the country. In August, Cattin, of Chadron, Neb., will be entering his second year at Western Dakota Tech.

“We are extremely proud of Jerhett,” said Troy Barry, Western Dakota Tech Welding and Fabrication Instructor and Jerhett's SkillsUSA Advisor. “He had a very respectable finish for a first-year welding student, and we are already excited to work on some things this school year and be even more prepared for the 2019 competitions.”  

Cattin received a 2018 mikeroweWORKS scholarship, to be used for travel expenses to the conference, after winning first place in the SkillsUSA South Dakota welding competition. Cattin’s father John attended the conference with him as his chaperone/advisor and they had the opportunity to meet Mike Rowe. Rowe is a TV host, writer, narrator, producer, actor, spokesman, and  founder of mikeroweWORKS, a PR campaign designed to reinvigorate the skilled trades. 

Western Dakota Tech also thanks the following companies whose support made the trip to the national event possible: Peabody Energy, L&H Industrial, Adams-ISC, True North Steel, and Matheson Gas.

Cattin was one of 65 in the South Dakota delegation attending the National Leadership and Skills Conference. The delegation included students and advisers from High Schools and Technical colleges.

During their stay, students participated as competitors or as voting delegates where they elect their national officers for the year and conduct the business of SkillsUSA. Students also met with business and industry representatives and heard from government officials. And, they had fun, too.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that serves technical, skilled and service occupation instructional programs in public high schools, career and technical centers and schools and two- and four-year colleges. SkillsUSA annually serves more than 360,000 student members annually, organized into more than 3,900 schools and 52 state and territorial associations (including the Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).

SkillsUSA helps students discover and grow their career passions. As a nationwide partnership of students, instructors and industry working together, SkillsUSA works to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

SkillsUSA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and is cited as a successful model of employer-driven youth development training program by the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information, go to:

L-R: Jerhett Cattin, Mike Rowe, and Jerhett's father John at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky. 
About Western Dakota Tech

Western Dakota Tech was established in 1968 and is the only technical college that serves the western South Dakota region. 

Western Dakota Tech offers programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction and Manufacturing, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Health Sciences, Legal and Public Services, and Transportation Technologies. 

More than 96 percent of Western Dakota Tech's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or are enlisted in the military.

Western Dakota Tech faculty, staff, and administration focus their efforts on helping students gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed. Through hands-on learning, internships, and industry partnerships, Western Dakota Tech students graduate ready to make a real and immediate contribution to their employers and to their communities. 

For information about Western Dakota Tech, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Visit us on the web at

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