KANKAKEE — Six students from the Kankakee Area Career Center earned top rankings in the SkillsUSA Illinois Leadership and Skills Conference held April 28-30 in Peoria.

The SkillsUSA conference is the state’s largest showcase of career and technical education. Each competition is designed and run by representatives of respective industries, allowing students to gain experience and insight.

“The need for a highly skilled workforce has never been greater or more clear,” said KACC Executive Assistant Amy Gorecki. “Our students have proven they are prepared for a successful future.”

Student awards include:

• Grace Shepard from Beecher High School earned first place in automobile maintenance and light repair as well as third place in the job interview category.

• Hailey Barber from Herscher High School earned third place in the nurse assisting.

• Steven Castaneda from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School earned third place in carpentry.

• Kalyn Alberts and Jackson Harrington from Clifton Central High School and Gavin Mericle from BBCHS earned second place in crime scene investigation.

In taking first place at the state competition, Shepard will be heading to Atlanta in late June for the National Leadership & Skills Conference.

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