They've got skills.

Further proof of that was evident when several Carbon Career & Technical Institute students performed at the Life Skills USA State Competitors.

Two of those students, Jalissa Kuehner, a sophomore from the Palmerton Area School District, and Thomas Smith, a freshman from the Panther Valley School District, garnered medals.

Kuehner placed first in the Customer Service category at the District I competition, and then placed second in the state competition. Smith placed third in the State competition in the Telecommunications category.

Though the competition was fierce, Kuehner said it only served to build her confidence.

"Competing at the Skills USA/VICA competition was an incredible opportunity for me to apply my knowledge and skills from my Marketing Class in a real life scenario," Kuehner said. "Placing second in the state was a huge surprise and a great honor."

Kuehner has already set the bar high for next year.

"I look forward to gaining more knowledge and experience in my technical area for next year's competition," she said. "My goal is to compete at the national level by my senior year."

Smith said the experience he gained at the competition was invaluable.

"It was hard competing as a ninth-grader, but it will only enhance my chance to win next year," Smith said.

Other CCTI students who fared well were James Newman, a senior from the Jim Thorpe Area School District, who placed first in Industrial Motor Control in districts and sixth at States; as well as Harley Paluch, a senior from Weatherly Area School District, who placed second in HVAC in districts and ninth at states.

Melissa Rivera, a sophomore from Jim Thorpe Area School District, served as delegate for States.

Skills is a national student organization that develops employability, participatory and leadership skills to complement the occupational technical education classrooms or work-based learning sites.

At CCTI, all the students and faculty are enrolled in Skills. Students are chosen by their instructors or academic teachers to compete in the district competition, which this year was held at the Wilkes-Barre VoTech.

Only first place winners of each competition - unless unable to attend then second place has the opportunity to go - are able to compete at the State Level, which was held last month at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey.

First place winners of the state level then advance to Nationals, which will be held in Kansas City, MO, in June.