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San Jacinto College
News Release
Monday, August 22, 2011

San Jacinto College graduate brings home first place from SkillsUSA competition

PASADENA, Texas —San Jacinto College (SJC) graduate Jonathan Couch of Spring is this year's SkillsUSA winner in automotive technology for the state of Texas.

The 28-year-old owner of Couch's Automotive Racing Services recently competed when he was a SJC student in the SkillsUSA state competition in San Antonio. He later went on to place 15th in the country at the SkillsUSA national competition. Although this was Couch's first year to display his skills on a competitive level, he is no stranger to working under stressful conditions and on a tight deadline.

"I've built competition engines for a living for 10 years and have been in a lot more stressful situations," said Couch. "I wanted to compete this year in SkillsUSA because San Jacinto College has done a lot for me. So, naturally, I wanted to go to state and represent the College."

In the state competition, Couch was tested on his knowledge and capabilities in automotive technology, specific to real-world shopping settings. His SJC peer, Greg Miller of Houston, placed second in the state. At nationals, Couch was required to compete alongside 51 other competitors from across the country and follow automotive manufacturer's procedures.

"I would like for other students to know that competing in SkillsUSA is something that can go on your résumé,” said Couch. “It takes two years of full-time experience to become Society of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified. Without that experience, it's hard to get recognized as a skilled technician. Going to a SkillsUSA competition, and doing well, puts you head and shoulders above everyone else who's graduating and helps future employers recognize you as a skilled technician."

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations.

Couch's mentor and SJC SkillsUSA advisor, David Castillo, said the automotive department sends the very best to represent the College each year.

"SkillsUSA gives them a great chance to show what they've learned here in school,” said Castillo. “Prior to competition, we drill the students to figure out their weaknesses and look at the areas they need to improve. Jonathan was a great student and a great competitor to represent San Jacinto College."

With both his experience and his associate degree, Couch said he plans to one day come back to the College and teach others what he has learned in the automotive industry.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for 50 years. The College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of more than 29,000 students in over 140 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career-track choices. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or find us on Facebook at

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