MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH)- More than one thousand high school technical students are showing off their handy work for the Skills USA national competition. 17 technical high schools from all over the state are simulating on the job challenges. This is the 38th annual competition for Skills USA. Students are going head to head with other students showing off what they can do.

Heidi Balch, the State Director for Skills USA Connecticut said, “there’s a work contest in every occupational area you can think of, automotive will be having several different stations from breaks and windshield wiper stations. We do plumbing. We will be building a water closet. We have carpentry and hairdressing. You name the trade and we have a competition.”

Students say with hands-on training it will prepare them for the workforce. Technical Student, Jacob Marsh said, “It’s harder for me to learn by someone telling me what to do, with hands on I pick up the stuff much easier and it stays with me throughout my life.” Superintendent of Schools Connecticut Technical High School System, Nivea Lisandra Torres added, “this is the talent pool that we need to fill the necessary job within the state of Connecticut.

Norwich Technical High School student, Antonio Vargas told NEWS8, “because of Skills USA and because of the Connecticut high school system I can walk out of high school being college and career ready. I know that I have the skills that America needs to fill that skills gap.” Some crowned winners will go on to the Skills USA national competition.