Number of tech school students rising in Missouri

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LINN - More than 5,000 high-school students throughout Missouri are showing off their tech skills at a conference at State Technical College in Linn.

Competitions featured everything from welding to car mechanics to nuclear technology.

Tech schools are on the rise in Missouri. SkillUSA Missouri, which works with high school student in tech fields, just surpassed 11,000 members putting it in the top ten states in the country.

State Tech saw it's biggest freshman class ever last fall, and expects and even bigger one this fall.

Brandon McElwain, the marketing director at Linn State, said the growth is due to a greater need in the community for these type of skilled workers.

"We basically are the lifeline for Missouri's workforce," he said.

McElwain said the increase is helping students to develop skills that will not only get them a job, but help save Missouri's labor pool.

"The best part about the growth that we're seeing is that we know we are helping Missouri's workforce," he said.

Student Brianna Vanderlaan, secretary of SkillUSA Missouri, said she believes job are what's driving some of the numbers.

"No matter who you are or what your background you come from there's always a career that will fit you and fit you economically," she said.

She said the money those job's offer is a great motivator.

"I think everyone loves money," Vanderlaan said. "For us to be able to, as high school students, see how successful of a future we can have, because of wages and opportunities, is inspiring and brings more people in."

McElwain said students are seeing job offers that range between high five to low six digit salaries.