Carbon Career & Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe was transformed into competition central Thursday as more than 400 students from various vo-tech schools converged to compete in the annual SkillsUSA competition.

According to the SkillsUSA website, "SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce."

Lisa Walck, CCTI's SkillsUSA adviser, added that the competition promotes leadership, teamwork and motivational skills in high school students in technical areas.

"CCTI believes the association helps their students gain confidence and a competitive edge in today's workforce."

The school has 100 percent participation with the program, under the direction of the advisers Jeremy Pease, Kevin Kuehner, and Walck.

Competitors in yesterday's District One SkillsUSA competition included students from Wallenpaupack, West Side, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Delaware Valley, Susquehanna, Lackawanna, Tunkhannock and Carbon Career & Technical Institute.

Walck explained that the schools chose their best students to compete in over 60 categories. Competition areas included photography, welding, automotive repair, HVAC, plumbing, nursing cosmetology, computer animated design, as well as many other hands-on fields. It also included leadership contests in the areas of speech, job interviewing, customer service and employment application processes.

Each year, the competition rotates between the schools in the district.