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About 1,900 high school and college students from all across North Carolina are literally putting their job skills to the test.

They are competing in 120 different trade and industrial skills that include everything from traditional construction trades like carpentry and masonry to cosmetology, technology and even firefighting. It’s all part of the 50th annual “Leadership and Skills Conference” put on by SkillsUSA NC.

SKILLS USA is a student organization that promotes industrial and trade education.

SKILLS USA representative Peyton Holland says there is a tremendous need for skilled people to do important jobs.

“This is critical because our country facing a skills gap,” Holland said. “By 2020, we’re going to be short 10 million skilled workers in this nation. There’s going to be 10 million jobs and not the skills to fill it. The folks behind me have the skills to fill that skills gap. We’re preparing these students for leadership in the world of work and give them the technical skills we need to build the backbone of our economy.”