Students Show Off at Skills Competition in Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Students Show Off at Skills Competition in Reno

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Nevada's economy and population are growing, causing a hiring blitz in industries that haven't seen growth in a while. And that's good news for high school students who are developing some marketable skills even before they graduate.

High schools all over the state sent students to the Skills USA competition in Reno Thursday, to demonstrate what they have learned in an array of trades. School officials said at the competition that it's more important than ever for kids to develop skills in fields that are hiring, even as early as high school.

"Students that have a certain skill set are employable," ACE High School Assistant Principal Adam Nicely said. "And if they know what they want to do, they can get a leg up on their competition, which is the other people that are trying to get jobs."

About 1,000 students demonstrated what they've learned in fields like engineering, architecture, construction, and mechanics.

At the Reno Ballroom, students directed robots and displayed their programming skills. Teams at the Reno Livestock Events Center built little houses from the ground up.

Instructors there said they have inboxes full of emails from prospective employers who can't wait to hire students who come already trained and certified. That's true especially in construction, with a major labor gap and a lot of new projects in Reno right now.

"It makes me feel confident," ACE High School senior Cameron Schaupp said. "I mean, I don't have a doubt in my mind that I could walk out of this door and get a job within the next hour because of all my certifications and skills that I've learned."

The winners of Thursday's competition will head to the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky, in June.

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