Vocational Education Students Shine In Statewide Competition

More than 700 high school and college students from across Mississippi are showing off the skills they've learned through vocational education. Students say they've chosen their educational route for a number of reasons.

Matt Remel says he likes to work with cars. That's why he signed up for the automotive program. Remel says academically, he doesn't do that well. He says he enjoys working with his hands and seeing what's going on. Tina Giardano also likes building, creating and seeing the finished product. She says she started college after she got out of the Navy, but changed her mind. Giardano is now taking classes in residential carpentry.

Students say there will always be a need for people with a vocational background. Tina Giardano says there's a big construction boom on the coast right now, and she wants to take advantage of it.

Assistant Vocational Dean Glynn McDaniel says the program is popular because some people don't have time to go to college. Another plus is the job availability. He says once students finish the program, it's easy for them to get a job.

Landing a job is why the students spend so much time sharpening their skills and competing to be the best. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College hosted the USA-VICA contest. The state winners will go on to compete in the national competition in Kansas City in May.

By: Trang Pham-Bui