Alison Gordee carefully guides a power saw through a sheet of oriented strand board during an annual skill competition for Wisconsin’s top construction apprentices.
Held at Washington County Fair Park, the day-long event convened 33 third-, fourth- and fifth-year apprentices representing five technical colleges in the trades of carpentry, electrical, HVAC and plumbing. Their skills were put to the test in a four-hour practical competition followed by a written exam.
Gordee, who’s an apprentice with Fond du Lac-based Steve Wirtz Builders Inc., took first place in carpentry, making her one of four Wisconsin apprentices who will compete at the National Craft Championships in Orlando, Florida, on March 16.
Now in its third decade, the Associated Builders and Contractors Apprenticeship Skill Competition aims to give industry up and comers the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zones and show what they’ve learned on the job.
“A number of apprentices say they are nervous before the event but then come to appreciate the new skills and confidence they acquire as a result. Most of them just love it and many who are eligible come back for a second year,” said Leigh Emrick, apprenticeship director for ABC of Wisconsin.