Hundreds of high school students show-off technical skills - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Hundreds of high school students show off technical skills in area competition

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Menomonie (WQOW) - There's a lot of interest to fill technology and manufacturing jobs. The problem is, many of those who are interested aren't even old enough to vote yet.  A competition in Menomonie on Friday involved the workforce of tomorrow.

Hundreds of high school students from across the state gathered on UW-Stout's campus, for the 30th annual SkillsUSA Competition.

They were faced with the challenge of balancing speed versus accuracy. 

Brent Kindred, the SkillsUSA Wisconsin State Director, says," I have a strong belief that through the spirit of competition, it encourages students to reach higher and further than they would at any other point in their high school or middle school career."

Students competed in a variety of different competitions, including welding, precision machining and photography.  Each final product was given a grade. 

UW-Stout Lecturer, Mike Lorenzen, says,"When they graduate from high school many of them are going to go onto technical college or UW-Stout, and it's a resume builder for them. I think if you've been paying attention at all you'll notice that there's a critical shortage of welders right now."

Kindred says,"Given the work shortage, given the aging workforce that we have in Wisconsin and across the nation, it's really critical that we engage students in career pathways as early as possible."

Students who won first place in their perspective competitions Friday will move onto the state competition in April. 

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