More than 350 high school students from all over southern Indiana put their expertise to the test on Saturday in the Skills USA Regional competition. The teens showcased their abilities in a variety of categories, including welding, carpentry and engine mechanics.
Skills USA Regional Coordinator, Michael Wehrman says, “Skills USA is important because it allows high school students and post-secondary students to increase their skills. Their skill set that they have in relation to performing jobs that they’re going to go out and do in the state of Indiana.”
Professors at Vincennes University enjoy hosting Skills USA not only for the healthy competition, but also to award scholarships and to get to know potential students.
Wehrman says, “the good thing for us is I’m allowed to give away $170,000 worth of scholarships. Hopefully they decide that V-U is the place to show up and go to school.”
The Skills USA organization exposes students to various career paths and encourages success in their selected vocations. But V-U professors say that it is the high school teachers who are doing a lot of work to get students involved early on.
Wehrman says, “the high school instructors are really working with these students to develop the skills that are going to be needed in the state of Indiana. And we get the opportunity to test them on those skills.”
High school teachers are exactly why one participant entered his talents into the construction trades category. He got involved because his teacher owns a construction company, but he’s keeping up with it because he sees the value in building for himself.
Bedford North Lawrence High School Student, Kyler Sherrill, says, “it’d just be nice to fix things yourself and not have to hire everybody to do something basic. I just think it’s something you need to know to live your life, really.”
Students who advance to the next round will compete at the state Leadership and Skills Conference in Indianapolis on April 15th.