Students test skills and passions at SkillsUSA

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Whether it's construction, or robotics, or anything else hands on, SkillsUSA has a competition for it. Students from around Nebraska join the program in hopes of getting a jump start on their careers.

“I didn't really know what I wanted to do so it kind of helped me narrow down,” Grand Island Senior High Student Michael Noziska said. “I like to work on cars so I do something I like to do as a passion.”

Over 2700 students were involved in 2018. Educators say SkillsUSA helps kids get their hands dirty in the careers their interested in.

Some find that taking the courses helps narrow down what they want to do

“It helped me see what I am interested in and with this first aid CPR and any other skills here it helps me see if I am interested in it or if I am not,” York High School Student Piper Fernau said.

Culinary students learn how to refine the foods they make, electrical students learn how to properly wire a house, and mechanics get elbow deep in truck engines.

“So our industry and business partnership is really critical for this work to take place,” Commissioner of Education Matt Blomstedt said. “At a local level we tend to have business partners that are working with local programs and then statewide.”

Some students don't know their path yet, but they enjoy learning unique skills they may not get another chance to have.

“It's really cool. I kind of envy all these people because I feel like my skills aren't really that applicable but then I see all these people doing all these crazy things with computers and what not and it's really cool,” Hastings High School Students Kalim Dumas said.

Educators say they want well educated workers to want to stay and grow Nebraska's workforce.