PEARL ― The Mississippi Construction Education Foundation is celebrating the state’s top-performing craft instructors and school for hard work and dedication to vocational education.

Recognized recently as part of the Mississippi Associated Builders & Contractor’s annual Merit Awards program were Jason Holland, Paul Lavallee, and the Kosciusko-Attala County Career Technology Center.

All were honored during the Mississippi Associated Builders & Contractor’s recent Virtual Merit Awards celebration.

Holland, a carpentry teacher at George County High School Career Tech Center, is being recognized as Mississippi’s top high school craft instructor of the year for his innovative teaching style.

Lavallee, an electrical instructor in MCEF’s adult craft training program for the past seven years, is being honored as Mississippi’s adult craft instructor of the year for going above and beyond to prepare students for career and technical professions.

The Kosciusko-Attala County Career Technology Center is being honored as the best in class for its passion to equip students with the skills they need for successful occupations. Center director Tony Holder accepted the award.

"If Mississippi is going to have the skilled workforce that’s needed for tomorrow, we must encourage and train those workers today,” said Mike Barkett, MCEF president. “We congratulate our winners for their commitment to prepare our students for career and technical professions and for ensuring that Mississippi has the resources required to support its growing construction and manufacturing industries."

The mission of the non-profit MCEF is to promote careers, recruit capable individuals and train a quality workforce for the construction industry in Mississippi. MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades.