Members of Ohio’s Building Trades were out in force today at the SkillsUSA Statewide competition at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

SkillsUSA Ohio is the second largest state organization in the country, with more than 30,000 members in high school throughout the state. Their mission is to “empower members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.” Workforce development is key to their mission, and SkillsUSA promotes a “structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training.”

Juniors and seniors were in Columbus this week to compete in the statewide championships. Building Trades members were judging the Sheet Metal, Plumbing, Electrical, Welding, Masonry, and Carpentry competitions. Judges are chosen for the quality of their craftsmanship and knowledge of the trade, said judge Eugene Frazier (pictured above, left), Training Director at Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 JATC in Dayton. Frazier was instrumental in founding and building the statewide competition.

“It’s nice to have have everyone together in one place and catch up,” said fellow judge Joe Thayer (pictured above, center), Training Coordinator for Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 JATC in Cleveland. “It gives us an opportunity to hear what is going on in each area of the state, with each trade.

Statewide champions in over 80 competitions will be announce on April 25 at an awards ceremony.