- Wisconsin officials want to grow the economy through manufacturing.
Those employers look for properly trained workers.
A welding competition helped students get ready to fill those manufacturing jobs.
You'll see plenty of sparks at factories in the Northwoods.
But for these high school students, a welding competition is their chance to shine.
"Expect anything and everything. You just gotta be ready for whatever comes at you." said Wausau competitor, Kyle Stein.
12 welders competed at the Advanced Welding Institute in Eagle River for the Skills Competition.
"What we were doing in there is real world. You get a blue print and you gotta follow the blue print to exact tolerance; sometimes within a thousand of an inch," Stein said.
"If we're doing something like that in there, it's going to prepare you for what you're going to see in the workplace."
The real world feel puts some pressure on competitors.
"The hardest part about this competition was coming into a new shop with unfamiliar welders and not knowing what their settings are going to be," Stein said.
"Then having to tune that welder so that you can get it so that it will well decent."
The winner goes to compete in Wisconsin Dells.
After that then they go to Nationals.
Rachel Fleischman was close to representing Wisconsin last year.
"I really hope I make it to nationals because last year I took second in state. I didn't get to make it to nationals," Fleischman said.
"I was really looking forward to nationals."
Those hopes help students get ready for the workforce.
"This is practice. This is what you're going to be doing when you get out into the job. Why not be ready for that before you jump feet first into it?" said Stein.
Written By: Shardaa Gray