Ask Tim

What Hasn't Changed

Executive Director Tim Lawrence has known SkillsUSA as a student member, instructor, industry partner and state director. Got a question? He can help.

Q: I understand that nationally, our organization’s official name became “SkillsUSA” on Sept. 1. How does that affect my chapter at home?

Tim: In 1965, our founders envisioned the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America as a way to enhance students’ leadership, employability, technical and academic skills.

Entering our 40th year as an organization, we look back with pride on this history. Over 8.5 million former members have worked hard each day to design, build, repair, maintain and serve our nation while supporting their families and communities. As VICA, the organization lifted up these “champions at work” and helped hundreds of thousands of teachers provide a quality local chapter experience.

This will not change. As we move into the future as SkillsUSA, our heritage will always be a part of who we are, and we will continue to provide the programs and services to help every student excel.

In our experience, “SkillsUSA–VICA” was confusing to future members and the news media, in part because it sounded like a combination of two organizations. In “SkillsUSA,” our members have a single name, and in the new national slogan, “SkillsUSA: Champions at Work,” a clear message to describe what we do.

We’re asking all our state associations to change their names to reflect that we are all members of one organization. There are ways your chapter can help promote a strong image, too, starting with the suggestions in the "Toolbox" section. We encourage you to use either the SkillsUSA logo alone or the slogan mark on all your materials.

With some items, you don’t need to drop the “VICA.” All existing official attire, such as blazers and work clothing, will continue to be honored as official and appropriate for meetings and competitions. See for details.

As we move forward, I’m reminded of a a letter sent to me by one of our founders, Lowell Burkett, who’s now 92 years old.

I believe what Mr. Burkett had to say illustrates how far we’ve come in 40 years:

“The SkillsUSA [annual] report reflects what many of us had hoped would be accomplished and much more. This report reflects outstanding leadership and shows how industry and labor support is outstanding and indeed is so essential [to the organization’s success]. In the waning years of my life, SkillsUSA makes me proud.”

I hope we will all share Mr. Burkett’s outlook and fulfill his vision as Champions at Work. Welcome to a new year! End of story

Got questions about SkillsUSA or other topics? E-mail or send a letter to SkillsUSA / P.O. Box 3000 / Leesburg, VA 20177. Put “Ask Tim” in the subject line or mail address.

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SkillsUSA Champions | Fall 2004 | Volume 39, No. 1
Copyright ©2004 SkillsUSA. All rights reserved.