Navajo Technical University

NTU SkillsUSA TEAM poses for a group photo after the SkillsUSA state competition.

CROWNPOINT, NM – On April 8, 2022, Navajo Technical University (NTU) students competed in the NM SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference Albuquerque, NM. SkillsUSA is a national organization that connects students, educators, business, and industry partners in training a better and stronger American work force. Every year, SkillsUSA chapters across the U.S. conduct a Leadership and Skills state conference. Because of the pandemic, the past two New Mexico state conferences were held virtually, but this year NM SkillsUSA once again held an in-person conference where students competed, using skills they’ve learned in the course of their academic endeavors at both the high school and college levels.

NTU brought a total of 17 competitors to the conference and brought home 5 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze (one bronze was a 3-person team competition) medals in a variety of competition areas. The five gold medal winners are eligible to compete in their respective competitions at the National SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference that will be held in Atlanta, Georgia this June and represent not only New Mexico but also the Navajo Nation and NTU. “SkillsUSA helps each student excel. The organization provides educational programs, events, and competitions that support career and technical education in the nation’s classrooms. I love being involved with the students and seeing their transformation into professionals as they engage in SkillsUSA events and activities” said Julie Bales, coordinator for the NTU SkillsUSA Team.

The NTU gold medalists are Chris Wesley for Automotive Service Technology; Araya Yazzie for Carpentry; Vivianne Joe for Culinary Arts; Tyson Tsosie for Electrical Construction Wiring; and Antonio Platero for Job Skill Demo A.

The NTU silver medalists are Kelly Bitsoi for Culinary Arts, Nilsson Wood for Electrical Construction Wiring; Angela Shepherd for Job Skills Demo A.

The NTU bronze medalists are Rozanne Manuelito for Related Technical Math and the team of Kanisha Faber, Marcus Burbank, and Ashton Jones for Welding Fabrication.

Advisors, Steve Kollas, Automotive Service Technology; Tom Bebo, Carpentry; Walter Cloud, Culinary Arts; Virgil House, Electrical Construction wiring; Julie Bales, Job Skill Demo A, Shasha Han, Related Technical Math and Chris Store, Welding Fabrication could not be prouder of their students’ accomplishments and cannot wait to see more opportunities for their students’ professional development as they prepare to compete on the national level this June.

For more information about NM SkillsUSA you may visit their website at and for more information about the NTU SkillsUSA Chapter, contact Julie Bales at