Hundreds to compete in state’s largest-ever craft championship

Annual event helps prepare more Mississippians to become skilled construction professionals

PEARL ― Hundreds of Mississippi career and technical students along with aspiring apprentices are heading to Jackson for one of the state’s largest-ever craft competitions.

Slated for Feb. 28 – March 1 at the Mississippi Trade Mart & Equine Center, the annual MCEF SkillsUSA State Championship will feature more than 300 top-notch competitors from around the state in conjunction with the Passport to Careers (P2C) Expo and Counselors and CTE Directors Workshop.

The event is part of the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation’s Building Futures initiative aimed at ensuring the state’s need for more craft professionals is met by qualified Mississippians who have graduated from one of the state’s accredited career and technical education programs.

“This is one of the most important weeks of the year,” said MCEF president Mike Barkett. “The reach of this statewide competition will take us to new heights in equipping students to fill the 80,000 craft positions needed in Mississippi by 2019.”

The MCEF SkillsUSA Championship showcases Mississippi’s most outstanding career and technical education students from high schools and community colleges around the state along with rising apprentices from the construction industry. Contestants will work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as carpentry, cabinet making, electrical-residential, electrical-commercial, HVAC, masonry, plumbing, sheet metal, welding fabrication, welding-structural, and teamworks.

Contests are run with the help of industry partners and contractors, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry.

The top three finishers in the secondary and post-secondary competitions will advance to Louisville, Ky., June 19-23 for the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of more than 16,000 career and technical education students. Meanwhile, winners of the apprenticeship competition will represent Mississippi in next year’s National Craft Championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fl.

“SkillsUSA is one of the largest career and technical student organizations in the United States and a proven talent pipeline for career-ready employees,” said Barkett. “We are proud to partner with them on opportunities that promote individual achievement while addressing the skilled trades job gap with the hands-on expertise and talent these careers require.”

The mission of the non-profit MCEF is to promote careers, recruit capable individuals and train a quality workforce for the construction and manufacturing industries in the state of Mississippi. MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades.

Learn more about MCEF at http://mcef.net.

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