Adairsville High School students, right, pose for a photo with other medalists from the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in June in Louisville, Ky.

Georgia high school students recognized at national skills competition

Four Bartow County high school students received national recognition for their work at a skills competition in Kentucky.

The teens, students at Adairsville High School in Adairsville, received bronze medals at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference for their work on a plumbing project that showcased their trade skills and teamwork. SkillsUSA is a nonprofit that advocates for skills training in middle schools, high schools and colleges across the country. 

Carter Arrington, Hamilton Noggle, Jason Burdette, and Jarrod Rollins received a travel scholarship to attend the event after placing first in a Georgia SkillsUSA event, according to a release from the Charles Koch Foundation, which contributed to the scholarships. Seven Georgia students received the need-based travel scholarships to attend the national conference. 

“The skills gap is not only real, it’s a reflection of what we value,” said Mike Rowe, CEO of mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which also sponsored the scholarship. “To close the gap, we need to change the way the country feels about work.” 

According to the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Employment Outlook 2017 survey, only 20 percent of workers who leave their skilled trades are replaced. 

Georgia has several initiatives to enhance the number of people working skilled trades, including Trade 5, through the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Workforce Division, which works to increase awareness of careers in construction, energy, logistics, manufacturing and telecommunication.