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Southern Arizona students sharpen their skills in construction, manufacturing

Posted at 3:49 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 20:16:43-05

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — This year's Region 6 Construction Champions were comprised of 10 different schools and programs; totaling close to 175 students.

Mark Riggi, the chairman of Skills U.S.A. said he hopes events like these help disprove society's depiction of construction being a second-rate occupation.

"Our ultimate goal here is to get students, teachers and parents the understanding that construction and manufacturing is a viable options for a career path," said Riggi.

Friday's competitions included cabinetry, plumbing, HVAC and much more. Tucker Wood, a senior at Amphitheater High School, competed in HVAC this year.

"Skills U.S.A. is a good way to show the skills you have learned over the past year, couple years, however long you've taken the program, and be able to articulate those skills when scholarships, go to state, go to nationals and work your way up. You can really do a lot and see your progress with how you do in Skills," said Wood.

Skills U.S.A. wants the students to have good experiences. Riggi said the leaders involved try to elevate the students' competitive spirits and hardworking attitudes when it comes to the events.

"In out industry, there's not a lot of tradesmen and we're not seeing a lot of training going on in the schools. So we're trying to get that energy going into the program so we see more people into the future here," said Riggi.

Skills U.S.A's sheet metal competition is on Saturday. If the students place at Region 6, the next competition will be state in April and after that, nationals.

Research shows that 99-percent of career and technical education students graduate high school, according to Governor Doug Ducey's office. Those students graduate with certifications and are in high demand once they finish school. New grants from the federal government could help bolster these programs. Last year alone, career and technical education programs received more than a billion dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of Education.