UP Skills Challenge encourages students to work in skilled trades

More than 100 students competed in the U.P. Skills Challenge focusing on skilled trades Friday.
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 6:13 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - More than 100 students were at the Union Carpenters and Millwrights Skilled Training Center for the annual U.P. Skills Challenge. The challenge includes construction, welding and electrical components.

Erich Ziegler is the Career and Technical Education Director for the Marquette Alger RESA. He says this is a great chance for students to learn from those already in the industry.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity to build partnerships with the trades, with adults out working in the profession right now, it’s really neat for our high school students to be able to meet these people that are working, also, it’s a chance for them to compete and use those hands-on skills that they’re learning in the classroom,” Ziegler said.

The challenge is also an opportunity for students to seriously consider careers in the skilled trades.

“Currently we don’t have enough certified, trained folks, if all the construction took off at the same time right now, we’d be in trouble, to compound that, in the next seven years 40 percent of us will be eligible to retire, so, we’re doing everything we can in order to attract and retain those students for one heck of a career,” said Michael Smith, Upper Peninsula Construction Council executive director.

The efforts to attract students to this line of work are already paying off. Austin Mannisto, a senior from Munising High School, says he’s considering a career in welding.

“I’d like to go into welding, maybe the pipelines, maybe a union, join the union and travel the country, I could get into that, maybe some fabrication, I’m not sure yet,” Mannisto said. “You don’t have to go to college to get a good job, you can do this stuff, like construction, welding, you can do that without having to go into debt.”

The full results from this year’s Skills Challenge are posted below.

Construction Winners - First Place Copper Country ISD (total points 272.15)

  • Eric Simonson
  • Sharon Colbert
  • Mitchell Halonen
  • Lance Hammerstrom
  • John Huuki
  • Second Place Manistique team 2 (total points 267.75)
  • Dylan Carlson
  • Christian Carroll
  • Nik Wing
  • Jeff Rice
  • Steven Holmes
  • Nick Thayer

Construction Winners - Third Place Dickinson Iron ISD (total points 248.90)

  • Marcus Verrette
  • Luke Wolfe
  • Connor Quick
  • Sam McKissack
  • Gage Gendron
  • Bradon Walstrom

Welding Winners - Wire

  • First Place: Cameron McKenzie Delta Schoolcraft ISD
  • Second Place: Jacob Charlebois MARESA
  • Third Place: Cole Smith Sault Area Career Center

Welding Winners - Stick

  • First Place: Logan Sitta MARESA
  • Second Place: Luke Eagle Sault Area Career Center
  • Third Place: Bryce Markham Westwood High School

Welding Winners - Advanced

  • First Place: Adair Porter MARESA
  • Second Place: Thomas Seablom Westwood High School
  • Third Place: Trevor Degrand Delta Schoolcraft ISD