Workforce Weekly

Houston-Area High School Student Takes Home Gold Medal at ABC’s National Craft Championships in Fort Lauderdale

Photo courtesy of Construction  Citizen

Houston, TX,– Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston and Construction &  Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) announced that Israel Picon, Jr. won the gold medal in the structural welding competition at the 30th annual National Craft Championships (NCC).  Picon was presented with the award at ABC’s Careers in Construction Awards Breakfast March 3 at the conclusion of ABC’s Workforce Week ’17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“This year’s field of the top construction apprentices and trainees truly represents the very best the merit shop construction industry has to offer, and Associated Builders and Contractors could not be more proud of these talented men and women,” said 2017 ABC National Chair Chuck Goodrich, president of Gaylor Electric, Indianapolis. “Gaylor Electric and our fellow ABC member companies are truly fortunate to employ such a talented group of highly trained and incredibly skilled craft professionals who represent the future of our great industry.”

Picon is 18 years old and is finishing up his high school education at Dr. Kirk Lewis Career & Technical High School, an Accredited Training and Education Facility and a partner of CMEF. In addition to the medal, he also took home a cash prize of $750.

This was Israel’s first time competing in an event of this stature. We couldn’t be more proud of him and the work he has done—with students such as Israel, we are one step closer to closing the skilled labor shortage our industry is facing,” said Michael Richter, Vice President of Workforce Development at ABC Greater Houston/CMEF.

NCC is a part of ABC’s effort to raise the profile of careers in construction and highlight the $1.1 billion that ABC member companies spend annually on workforce development.

This year’s field of competitors featured nearly 170 craft professionals from 28 states competing for top honors in 13 competitions across 11 crafts. Competitors first took an intense, two-hour written exam and then competed in a daylong hands-on practical performance test.

The competition was developed in 1987 to help celebrate and recognize craft training in construction careers. Each year, the competition draws some of the nation’s most talented craft professionals and highlights the important role that skilled trades training plays in the construction industry. The National Craft Championships Committee, which is composed of leading merit shop construction firms, plans all year for the two-day competition.

A list of the winners is available on ABC’s website.

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