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The four members of Chattooga High School’s State Champion Metal Fabrication Team were part of the more than 6,000 participants (all state winners) from across America who took part in the the 53rd annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC).

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The Welding Fabrication Team members, Tufton Blanks, John Hunter, Sam Mangan, and CE Massey, along with welding instructor Jeff Owings, traveled to Louisville to compete in the National Skills and Leadership Conference in the Bluegrass State held June 19-24 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

In Louisville, the Chattooga students worked against the clock and the other teams, proving their expertise in welding. On Friday night at the awards ceremony the team saw their efforts paid off as the Indian welders finished ninth in the nation.

“This was a wonderful trip, the boys worked their butts off and enjoyed the experience,” commented Owings.

Chattooga High School offers a wide variety of SkillsUSA pathways for students to choose from, in addition to their traditional dipolma. Students graduating from Chattooga are not only prepared for college but, through the CTAE pathways, students are ready to enter the work place with all the skills required to earn a significant living and build a career.

While not everyone chooses to attend college after high school, everyone will have to work. Welders, mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and mechatronics technicians are all good, stable career fields. Chattooga High School’s Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) prepares students for the next phase of their life after high school–college, beginning a career, registered apprenticeships, or the military.

There are over six-million jobs available in the United States right now, with six-hundred-thousand in manufacturing alone, and 75% do not require a four-year college education. SkillsUSA is a pipeline for employers.

Watch TV personality Mike Rowe talk about the importance of a skilled education.

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Casie Bryant is the NW Georgia Regional Manager for AllOnGeorgia.

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