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Aims Hosts SkillsUSA Competition in Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing

Aims Community College hosted a SkillsUSA Regional Competition on February 2 at the Automotive & Technology Center on the Windsor Campus. Nineteen students from Aims and Morgan Community College participated in this competition. 

Group shot of Aims Automotive Students
Aims students with top honors in the 2023 SkillsUSA regional competition. Pictured left to right, Jesus Conejo, Kayleigh Kerr, Danielle Wilson, Darion Cordova, Jesse Manuel and Mario Saenz.

Professionals from Denver, Cheyenne and northern Colorado were on hand to judge the students’ work and proficiency in various aspects of automotive refinishing technology. “The judges are people out in the shops every day,” said Mike Hanscome, an Aims automotive instructor and advisor for the SkillsUSA team at Aims. In addition to getting feedback from industry pros, networking with potential employers is “probably the biggest thing that the students get out of it.”

SkillsUSA is also beneficial to instructors to see how students perform under pressure since participants must complete each task in one hour or less. “Being able to put them in this situation is about the closest that we can do stress level-wise other than putting them in a shop,” Hanscome said. “So it shows us as far as instructors, what they retained as far as information, how well they put that retention to work and how well they critically think their way through a stressful situation.”

The top finishers in each category will compete in the Colorado State Leadership and Skills Conference on April 3-5 in Pueblo. Winners of the statewide contest move to the national competition that will be held June 19-23 in Atlanta. The Aims students moving on to state include:

Post-Secondary Refinishing
Kayleigh Kerr | first place
Danielle Wilson | second place

Secondary Refinishing
Jesus Conejo |first place

Post-Secondary Damage Appraisal
Jesse Manuel | first place

Secondary Damage Appraisal
Mario Saenz | first place

Post-Secondary Collision Repair
Darion Cordova | first place

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. This event begins the eleventh year that the Aims has participated in the SkillsUSA program. The Aims Automotive SkillsUSA National medal count to 11 podium finishes and seven National Championships in the ten years that Aims has competed. 

Aims Community College automotive degree programs are nationally recognized and certified in secondary and post-secondary educational systems, with the National Automotive Technicians and Education Foundation accreditation. The Aims Automotive & Technology Center is on the Windsor Campus. Get more info at