Recruitment Ideas

Idea No. 1: Recruiting Members, One Student at a Time

Member Recruitment Ideas by Janice Laster, SkillsUSA advisor and cosmetology teacher at Hiram High School

Membership recruitment is vital to your program. It is a continual process that allows you to reach more students with more opportunities. It’s also an integral part of being able to provide comprehensive exposure to career and technical education. What value is career training in the classroom if you can’t practice what you’ve learned? SkillsUSA supports your curriculum with interactive, hands-on experience. It is also the best way to equip students with leadership and employability skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

recruitingmembersIn that regard, it’s important to view your program and SkillsUSA as one and the same. They are interchangeable. You cannot have a complete program without SkillsUSA, and you cannot have SkillsUSA without career and technical education. When you approach the two with this mindset, you inherently convey the importance of both to your students. If you make SkillsUSA a priority, your students will make it a priority. Joining SkillsUSA will be something they want to do, not something they have to do. It will also make your job of recruiting new members a lot easier.

Steps to Success

Step 1: Use the Professional Development Program (PDP).

  • Make the connection between the PDP and involvement in SkillsUSA
  • Send a letter home about the PDP, and have students and parents sign it
  • Give students the option of joining SkillsUSA to earn PDP points
  • Follow through on the grading system for the PDP
  • Review how the program is working with each student, and make plans for improvement

Step 2: Promote SkillsUSA in the classroom. Use opportunities within the classroom to market SkillsUSA.

  • Review upcoming SkillsUSA events a few times each week
  • Hold chapter meetings during the school day to encourage attendance
  • Have a speaker series to discuss different leadership topics (can be held during chapter meeting)
  • Show SkillsUSA videos and use promotional materials to get students interested
  • Have the chapter officers talk to classes about competitions, activities and other opportunities

Step 3: Conduct activities to keep students interested. Make involvement in SkillsUSA fun!

  • Host social activities (barbecue, trivia night, movie night) every one to two months
  • Create networking opportunities with professionals in the community
  • Research and implement valuable community services
  • Encourage students to attend SkillsUSA leadership development events
  • If money is an issue, conduct fundraisers or recruit sponsors to fund SkillsUSA activities

Step 4: Encourage students to compete. Use competition as a motivator to test their skills.

  • Provide an overview of competitions during a monthly meeting
  • Secure a mandatory date for those interested in competing
  • Host a classroom mini-competition to build interest in competition
  • Hold a countywide competition (or with nearby schools) a month before regionals
  • Set up mandatory practice dates for students competing

Idea No. 2 – In-Class Recruitment

Importance: One of the easiest ways to entice students to join SkillsUSA is through in-class recruitment. In-class recruitment involves all students, nonmembers and members, and it doesn’t require a lot of teacher direction. Students gain experience interacting with their peers as they develop workplace skills without leaving campus.

Value to Your Program

Chapter members who participate gain workplace readiness skills including:

  • Persuasion
  • Organization
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Salesmanship
  • Communication of belief
  • Relationship building skills
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership

Students who are not members hear about the benefits of SkillsUSA from members firsthand. They also experience some of the fun that comes from membership. If they decide to join, they are likely to become active members after experiencing the recruitment challenge.

Why It Works

A recruitment competition offers these advantages:

  • Healthy competition heightens interest
  • Incentives motivate members
  • The challenge of meeting a targeted goal creates awareness
  • Current members have the opportunity to grow among members
  • This is a student-led activity
  • It’s a win-win for all students
Steps to Success

Step 1: Put together a committee of active, committed and motivated members.

  • One committee from each class is ideal
  • One overall committee with a chairperson or lead representative from each class is also effective

Step 2: Meet to introduce them to the idea, set membership goals and plan the competition:

  • Be sure to set a deadline
  • Outline rules and guidelines

Step 3: Develop an incentive program — for instance, a pizza party, T-shirts or field trip for the winning class.

Step 4: Incentives can be used periodically to maintain enthusiasm and momentum.

  • Prizes could be given every week to the top class
  • A traveling banner could be hung in the top classroom for the week

Step 5: Create a visual barometer to chart progress, and hang it in a visible area of the department.

Step 6: As the advisor, promote the competition. Encourage, support, assist and provide resources to the leaders.

Step 7: Follow through with recognition for winning classes. Consider hosting a chapterwide event with the new members recruited during the competition.

NOTE: In a small program, this competition can be set up among members. The one who signs up the most, wins.

Idea No. 3 – Adopt a Member

Importance: The Adopt-a-Member program is a great example of the importance of peer-to-peer recruitment. This program is simple to implement as it pairs an upperclassman (mentor) with an incoming student (typically a freshman). Through example and encouragement, upperclassmen recruit students to join SkillsUSA.

Value to Your Program

This program brings tremendous value because you are recruiting new members through the talents and skills of existing members. Upperclassmen or mentors are given an opportunity to share experience and insight with prospective members while developing mentorship skills that are valuable in the workplace. Incoming students get to experience SkillsUSA from those who know it best. If they join, they are likely to become active members, because something about their mentor inspired them.

Skills developed include:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Service orientation
  • Mentoring skills
  • Time management
  • Communication skills
Why It Works

Peer-to-peer recruitment works because:

  • Students are less apt to attend chapter activities or join a chapter if they don’t know anyone
  • One-to-one invitations from older, respected students are very effective
  • Mentors can share their own personal experience
  • New students are often seeking involvement but are unsure of opportunities
  • Students who have mentors will strive to be mentors themselves
Steps to Success

Step 1: Begin planning the activity a few months before school starts.

Step 2: Select student role models to serve as mentors: members of high character who are passionate about SkillsUSA.

Step 3: Personally invite the mentors to participate in the program.

Step 4: Conduct a meeting to train the mentors.

  • Training should include but is not limited to:
  • Expectations of the program and their role
  • Relationship-building skills
  • Communication Skills: conversations and listening
  • Time management
  • Set goals for mentor involvement:
  • How often should mentors meet with students?
  • What are some good ways to expose new students to SkillsUSA?
  • What is the process of registering those who want to become members?

Step 5: Implement the program:

  • Identify incoming students
  • Have them complete a student interest survey
  • Assign partners based on common interests

Step 6: Evaluate the program and record suggestions.

Step 7: Celebrate success:

  • Welcome new members at a chapter meeting
  • Host a lunch with new members and their mentors
  • Post photos of new members in the classroom