SuperTalk Mississippi

You’re Gonna Need Ear Plugs for This One: The Skills USA Competition

JACKSON, Miss.–Go ahead and put in your ear plugs, then come on in to the big room at the Mississippi Trade Mart. That’s where 300 of the state’s finest construction students were for two days this week, competing for prizes and showcasing the future of Mississippi’s work force.

The Miss. Construction Education Foundation Skills USA competition was Tuesday and Wednesday and inside the Trade Mart were future welders and craftsmen, competing in 11 categories. They included high school and community college students and apprentices.

They were building storage rooms and working on cabinets, electric, ACs and heaters, plumbing and sheet metal.

The first thing that hits you, though, when you walk in the doors is the sound. Saws are screaming, hammers are clacking and welding arcs sound like the sparks on an old Frankenstein movie.

It’s the sounds of Mississippi’s future, the sounds of your new house being built, and the sounds of students building skills and character.

Two of the men News Mississippi talked with were building a storage shed, but neither actually planned to go into the construction business when the started high school at Meridian High.

“Actually, I want to be a broadcaster,” said one of the guys. His buddy said he had wanted to be a mechanic.

“I got in the class, couldn’t go into the mechanical class, ended up being good at construction.”

Whether or not they make it in broadcasting or the auto mechanical field, the construction skills the guys have learned are likely to be handy as a solid fall back or in their own lives, on their own property.

SkillsUSA is a national program that partners students, teachers and industry to make sure that Mississippi and America have a strong, skilled work force, said the MCEF website.


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