Northern Michigan University’s Jacobetti Technology Complex was abuzz when over 220 CTE high school students from across the Upper Peninsula showcased their skills during the UP Skills Challenge! Students competed in building construction, automotive technology, CADD and welding. Many students took home valuable prizes, a couple students received $500 scholarships!
“The event provides a unique venue for students of the trades,” said Tony Retaskie, Executive Director, U.P. Construction Council. “This is a great segue into their senior year or maybe a construction career. It also offers them an opportunity to take a look at what Northern Michigan University has to offer. We have apprenticeship programs that may take some of these students, in fact some of the judges in today’s programs went through this competition a few years back. We've had a couple of people talk to the students about what they're going to do after they graduate and I think there's some good leads going on here."
The annual event divided student into four categories: construction skills, welding, automotive service technology, and computer aided drafting and design. They spend the day building or designing a project.
Organizers said the event helps students figure out if they’re cut out for a technical career path.
“It allows students to have that level of competition against other students that are their peers to find out how they stack up against them,” NMU Instructor of Technology and Occupational Sciences John Centko said. “It's a wonderful alternative compared to going to the skills challenge downstate, which takes three days out of their schedule and costs much more to do.”
Members of the winning team in each category received a Carhartt jacket or other items donated by local businesses. The day ended with an awards ceremony.