Local students prep for national Skills USA Challenge

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HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Students geared up to compete against one another during the “Workers of the Future Skills Challenge” at the Cabell County Career and Technology Center on the morning of Thursday, February 27, 2020.

It was a friendly competition ahead of April’s Skill USA Challenge, where students will be competing against other technical schools across the nation.

“It’s our varsity sport,” said Principal and Director Frank Barnett. “They get an idea today of what it takes to actually be competitive in a shop, be competitive in a job market, and work on safety and quality control.”

Much like sports, the competition teaches kids about job responsibility, deadlines, and working under pressure. Competitions took place in the automotive, welding, and H-VACC shops, as well as in the cosmetology and law enforcement programs where students had to process a simulated crime scene.

“[I learned] I can work well under pressure,” said Natalie Reynolds, a student in the cosmetology program. “I was really, really nervous at first, [but then] I showed somebody how to braid, and then I got more comfortable.”

While the Skills USA Challenge is still a couple of months away, Thursday’s competition serves as good practice for students before they compete against other career and technical centers. The Cabell County Career and Technology Center graduates job-ready students.

“When something happens at your home, or something happens in your automobile, the first thing you say is ‘let’s call the guy.’ Well, we train the guy,” Barnett said.

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