JJC Automotive Students Place at SkillsUSA State Conference

Three Joliet Junior College students placed at the 2023 SkillsUSA state conference in Peoria, Illinois, in the automotive service technology competition. 

Sophomore Nathan Bulthuis won gold, sophomore Joshua Zydch won silver, and freshman Austin Miller won bronze. Bulthuis and Zydch both improved from their respective silver and bronze medals at last year’s state conference competition. 

Thirty-five JJC automotive students took the online qualifying exam to participate in the conference, and 15 qualified.  

“This was a great accomplishment in and of itself,” said automotive service technology assistant professor James Tiberi. “All the students worked so hard studying on their lunch breaks and at home trying to be as prepared as possible for this event. All of us in the automotive program are very proud of all our students that participated.” 

Students who participated in the competition had to diagnose, service, interview and take Automotive Service Excellence style exams in 20 stations.  

“The competition helps to boost confidence in our students,” Tiberi said. “All of us working in the automotive program here at JJC work very hard to provide our students with the best possible opportunities for employment in the automotive industry. Using our combined wealth of industry knowledge, teaching experience, facilities and industry partners, we are able to produce a high level of technicians.” 

The SkillsUSA conference also serves as an opportunity to boost the enrollment of JJC’s automotive program.  

“A handful of our feeder high schools also participate in the competition,” Tiberi said. "So when they see JJC automotive students on the podium, that just sells our program and commitment to our students’ education here at JJC.” 

As a gold medalist, Bulthuis has advanced to the national SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta from June 19-23.

For media inquiries, please contact Media and Communications Manager, Katherine Smith at katherine.smith@jjc.edu or 815-280-2844.