Each fall, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) partners with the Iowa Automotive Dealers Association (IADA) to host the High School Automotive Skills Contest. The purpose of this contest is to encourage any students interested in auto mechanics to thoroughly study and understand basic automotive principles, experience the technical skills required of professional technicians working in the automotive service and repair industry, and explore the excellent automotive training programs at DMACC. Students learn about the multiple scholarships that IADA provides for prospective students, compete for DMACC scholarships, tools, and other prizes, and tour the auto labs where they can continue their training after graduation.
The Skills Contest is conducted in two parts, a written exam and a hands-on competition. The top eight schools who place highest in the written portion of the competition are invited to bring back two students from the junior/senior grades to compete in the hands-on portion of the contest a few months later. Although freshman and sophomores are not able to participate in the hands-on portion of the Skills Contest, one freshman and one sophomore with the highest scores in the written portion are invited back to receive a special prize.
2015 marked the 24th annual contest that is held at DMACC. The written portion was held on October 14, 2015 with nearly 300 students from 17 high schools participating. The hands-on competition was held on December 11, 2015.
The top eight schools invited back included Algona High School, Ames DMACC Career Academy, Ankeny DMACC Career Academy, Des Moines Central Campus, Mt. Pleasant High School, Nodaway Valley High School, Perry High School, and West Delaware High School.
Two West Delaware High School students, Austin Schumacher of Masonville and Alex Fangmann of Manchester, captured first-place in the hands-on competition. They received numerous tools and supplies donated by the Iowa Automotive Dealers Association. The two students are being sponsored by the IADA to compete in the National Automotive Technology Competition in New York in 2016.