NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodSouth Omaha


School competition helps Omaha students find career-focused jobs

More than 180 students compete, one placed 3rd in the country last year
Posted at 5:47 PM, Dec 11, 2023


  • High school and college students can both compete .
  • Local employers volunteer to judge participants.
  • Video shows different types of competitions and damaged vehicles.

More than 180 students competed in the Metro Omaha Trades Invitational, a competition that’s led many students to a full-time job and finding their niche in trades.

Metro Community College staff member Joe Baker says the awards go beyond the medals.

“The students who compete in things like Metro Omaha Trade Invitational- those are the ones the employers want to hire,” he says.

High school and college students were excited and nervous to showcase their skills in front of local business owners.

The Metro Omaha Trades Invitational is the event some at the college look forward to. It features skills of both newcomers and returning students in categories like trade and other high demand careers.

A returning participant Joe Lytle says the program helped mold his career.

“I was the one tearing down the cars for the writers and then eventually they moved me up and trained me to become an actual writer," he says.

Lytle says he’s always liked cars. Today, he works at B Street Collision Center as an estimate writer. He says it all started with his childhood collection.

“If I pulled out that tote bin from under my bed, it probably has over a thousand hot wheels,” he added.

The program at Metro helped him turn it into a job.

Baker says their hard work pays off. “So the people that are hiring these students are actually saying seeing their work skills happen and then they can take that some of them even ask the students you know hey are you working some where or do you want to work somewhere?” Baker says participants come back years down the road.

The top 3 who place will move onto state and then nationals in April 2024.