PEARL ― Helping students find their path is the goal of Damien Rosetti of Biloxi, recipient of the President’s Hard Hat Outstanding Counselor of the Year award from the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation.

“The earlier that students can find a career path that matches their interests, the more likely they’ll be able to graduate with a strong foundation for the future,” said Rosetti, a counselor at Biloxi High School’s Career Tech Center. “In today’s career and technical education programs, we’re giving students more opportunities to do what they like and make better choices.”

MCEF’s statewide award recognizes CTE counselors in Mississippi who have been instrumental in helping students achieve success in academics and career development. Rosetti, a native of Biloxi, joined the BHS Career Tech Center staff in 2014 after serving as an academic school counselor for several years.

“Damien is not only a helpful resource for career tech students, but he also includes parents in his outreach efforts to make sure they’re part of the journey,” said Mike Barkett, MCEF president. “He understands that positive student outcomes are rooted in family support, and he’s done a great job of providing the structure and resources that are necessary to help students get a strong head start on building their careers.”

Since becoming a CTE counselor seven years ago, Rosetti has been impressed by how quickly CTE programs have adapted to changing workforce needs and also how they’re expanding to include more career paths credentialed by the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

“In the past, you would take a class and then take a state test, and that was it,” he explained. “Now that we’re offering programs accredited by NCCER, students can graduate with high-value national credentials in a growing number of career paths, including engineering, robotics and automotive service. It’s a great innovation in our CTE programs that means a lot to employers.”

Going to work for the Career Tech Center wasn’t his first brush with career and technical education. When Rosetti was growing up, his father, Jake Rosetti, was employed at Biloxi High School as a construction and building trades teacher, and other family members were skilled trade professionals.

“My maternal grandfather and his brothers were all master electricians,” Rosetti said. “I would go with them on trouble calls when they would work on boats around here, so I’ve seen plenty of engine rooms on big ships.”

It was Rosetti’s interest in sports that determined his path after graduating from Mercy Cross High School in Biloxi. He was a kicker on football teams at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Belhaven University, where he earned a degree in history. After a short stint in law school, he chose to pursue a career in education.

“Things fell into place for me, and it helps if you do what you like,” Rosetti said. “It’s rewarding to see the progress that students make every day, and it’s exciting to be adding new programs like drafting, marketing and hospitality management to our curriculum. I’m expecting to see even more growth in the future as more students discover the long-term value and rewards of career and technical education.”

MCEF is a non-profit educational foundation that provides NCCER craft training and credentialing in more than 100 career and technical programs across the state. The foundation’s mission is to train individuals for the construction and manufacturing industries in Mississippi.

MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades. Learn more about MCEF at