Thousands of teens compete in skills competition in Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hundreds of potential jobs are up for grabs at the State Fairgrounds this week.
It is all part of the annual Skills USA competition. More than 6,000 students from across the country are competing in areas like manufacturing, engineering, construction and building technology. Some will even leave with a job in one of those fields.
"Skills USA brings the best of the best from across the country," said John Darr, Skills USA Public Relations Director.
Darr navigated us through the competition and introduced us to technical students who are considered the best of the best.
"So, we have 6,000 students -- competitors who are gold medalists in their own state -- with 900 teachers assisting them here in Louisville," Darr said.
"We went to a state competition and we faced against other fabrication teams from Indiana and we made it," explained Marissa Sauceda, a student at North Harrison High School in southern Indiana.
"Each one of these students is not only competing, not only to be the best in their field, but they're also competing in front of industry experts who are evaluating them so it's kind of like an on the job interview," said Darr.
"Our industry is short on qualified technicians so we are constantly looking for good technicians and this is a great venue," said employer Alan Craighead.
The competitions also includes welding, water purification, cosmetology and even urban rescue robotics.
"So these are the robots that would go into a tunnel or go into a home and provide a rescue assistance for the police officers or for the rescue team," Darr said.
"Welcome to the automotive refinish technology national competition. In this competition they're going to compete in four segments," said Craighead to a group of students ready to compete. "At the end of the competition, we always do a review of each segment that they competed in and let them know what they could have done a little bit better and what they did good."
The competition is steep.
"Most of my friends are just spending the summer like normal teenagers going to the pool, swimming," said Sauceda.
But students and organizers believe giving up a week at the pool will pay off.
"I'm hoping that a future employer will see us here and offer us jobs, helping our future," Sauceda said.
"I spoke to a company earlier who said they hired 8 of our winners just last year," said Darr.
The annual event is expected to host more than 10,000 people and will be held in Louisville for the next five years.
The competition wraps up with a citywide community service project on Friday.
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