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History and Brand Resources

Learn about SkillsUSA’s History, SkillsUSA’s brand and more.

History

1965

The Vocational Industrial Clubs of America Inc. (VICA) was founded by students and teachers who were serious about their professions and saw the need for more training in the areas of leadership to complement their chosen vocation. In Nashville, Tenn., 14 states were represented, as VICA chose its name, colors, motto, purposes and goals.

1966

VICA membership was 29,534 in 1,074 clubs in 26 chartered states and territories.

The first issue of the VICA magazine was produced.

1967

VICA added five more states, began holding competitive events and introduced uniform. Membership was well over 40,000.

1968

Plans were announced for the national VICA center to be located near Washington, D.C.

VICA members were received by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Cabinet Room of the White House. The students give the President a handmade gavel and sounding block inscribed, “To Lyndon B. Johnson – America’s Great Educational President.”

1969

VICA membership hit 82,000 with new chapters, college/technical membership and VICA’s yearly themes. The first theme was “Speak Up for America.”

The organization’s Postsecondary Division (now College/Postsecondary) was approved at a constitutional convention in Memphis, Tenn. Seven “founding states” were Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Utah and Washington.

1970

The VICA Leadership Handbook was published for the first time, and a student campaign to raise funds for the National Leadership Center got underway. The theme was “Skills Build America.”

1971

At the seventh annual National Leadership Conference, there were 25 competitive activities.

1972

VICA membership rises to 125,000.

1973

VICA membership exceeds 150,000.

1974

VICA purchased land for the new National Leadership Center in Leesburg, VA.

VICA members met with President Gerald Ford.

1975

VICA celebrated its 10th anniversary with the induction of the 1 millionth member.

1976

5,000 VICA members attended the U.S. Skill Olympics in Miami Beach.

Membership reached a quarter of a million with 10,000 active chapters.

1977

Contributions from VICA alumni, friends and members to purchase the land where the National Leadership Center now sits topped $56,000.

1978

Ground breaking began for the National Leadership Center in Leesburg, Va.

1979

The National Leadership Center was dedicated after 15 years of planning and fundraising.

1980

VICA started the Youth Development Foundation Committee to ensure our programs were relevant to both students’ and industry’s needs, and that financing was available to support them.

1981

VICA played host to the International Youth Skill Olympics, where VICA members joined 274 international contestants from 14 countries in 33 contests.

Nearly 7,000 VICA members attended the National Leadership Conference and U.S. Skill Olympics.

1982

The first year VICA incorporated industry update seminars as part of the National Leadership Conference.

1983

President Ronald Reagan spoke at the National Leadership Conference and said, “American industry as well as American educational institutions should take note of the VICA experience.”

1984

The organization attained its three-and-a-half-millionth member.

1985

VICA’s 20th anniversary; membership had grown to 12,632 chapters. The U.S. Skill Olympics had gone from five competitive events to 38.

The first International Skill Olympics gold medal was awarded to the United States. Dennis Falls of Arizona brought home the Graphic Design gold medal.

1986

The board of directors opened its membership to representatives of technical and health occupations education.

An ex-officio board position was created for the chairman of the Youth Development Foundation Committee.

1987

The Professional Development Program was created, and in testing Level 1, 6,500 students and teachers took part.

1988

The board of directors appointed Stephen Denby as executive director; efforts began to organize VICA chapters in Ontario, Canada.

VICA released the Professional Development Program nationwide.

1989

An ex-officio position on the board of directors was created for the State VICA Directors’ Association.

1990

VICA celebrated its 25th anniversary.

1991

Robert Pope won the gold medal for Welding in the Amsterdam International Youth Skill Olympics. He made history by receiving the first gold medal in Welding for the United States, and by obtaining the most points in any IYSO contest since its beginning.

1992

VICA won the Vocational Instructional Materials (VIM) Outstanding Mediated Instructional Award for its parliamentary procedure video entitled “Rules of the Game.”

1993

Nicholas Peterson won the bronze medal in Welding at the International Youth Skills Olympics in Taiwan.

1994

The new name of the United States Skill Olympics was announced. The competition’s name would be the SkillsUSA Championships — to become effective during the National Leadership and Skills Conference in 1995.

1995

Branden Muehlbrandt won the silver medal in Welding at the International Youth Skill Competitions (IYSC, officially renamed from the International Youth Skill Olympics).

The SkillsUSA Championships became the new official name of the national competition.

VICA received its official designation as a CEU sponsor.

The new Professional Development Program and the Total Quality Curriculum were introduced to the public.

1996

VICA received the Oracle Award by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) for the new Professional Development Program (PDP).

VICA received the Vocational Instructional Materials (VIM) Award of Excellence for the PDP.

U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and J.D. Hoye, executive director of the Department of Education’s School to Work Office, spoke at VICA’s Washington Leadership Training Institute’s Congressional Breakfast.

1997

VICA held its first School-to-Work Conference at the NLSC.

VICA was given a Grand Award for its website by the Awards for Publication Excellence (APEX).

1998

The board of directors voted to change the name of the organization to SkillsUSA–VICA.

Robert Flint of Caterpillar Inc. was the first business representative elected to chair the board of directors.

1999

VICA officially changed to SkillsUSA–VICA on July 4, 1999, at the National Leadership and Skills Conference.

Students competing in the WorldSkills Competition in Montreal placed higher than ever before.

Nationwide, chapter members began an image campaign in which they spoke to community leaders about the value of skilled employees, their training and SkillsUSA–VICA membership.

2001

Timothy W. Lawrence, a former student member, became national executive director. Formerly national director of business and industry partnerships, Lawrence had also been a classroom instructor, industry employee, state association director and member of the board of directors.

An ex-officio position was created for National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium.

2002

The board of directors approved shortening the name of the national organization from SkillsUSA–VICA to SkillsUSA, effective Sept. 1, 2004.

2003

An ex-officio position on the board of directors was created for a college/postsecondary representative.

2004

On Sept. 1, the organization’s name officially changed to SkillsUSA.

2005

The mortgage was paid off on the National Leadership Center.

2006

A student liaison was added to the national board of directors. The board approved having the chair of the national officers’ Joint Executive Council fill this role. The first to serve was Nicole Dillard of Wyoming.

2008

SkillsUSA released the first Skill Connect Assessments as part of its new Work Force Ready System. Driven by industry, the technical knowledge and skill assessments correspond to many career cluster areas of training.

2017

SkillsUSA received a Grand Award for its magazine’s digital edition from APEX (Awards for Publication Excellence).

The SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite was introduced, including SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Foundations, SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences (replacing the Professional Development Program) and SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Assessments (formerly the Work Force Ready System and Skill Connect Assessments).

Keynote Speakers

Over the years, SkillsUSA has been fortunate to have many excellent keynote speakers at the National Leadership and Skills Conference. Some of them include:

President Ronald Reagan
Lou Holtz
General Chuck Yeager
Janet Evans
Mary Lou Retton
Dick Vitale
Terry Bradshaw
Dan Jansen
Capt. James Lovell
Col. Joe Engle
Terry Bowden
Wendy Venturini
Stephen Paletta
Mike Holmes
Mike Rowe
Kayleen McCabe
Nick Tokman
Brad Keselowski

SkillsUSA’s Alumni and Friends Association

The SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association’s mission is to help promote SkillsUSA in terms of time, talent and financial resources at all levels (local, district, state and national).

SkillsUSA Motto and Pledge

SkillsUSA Motto

Preparing for leadership in the world of work.

SkillsUSA Pledge

Upon my honor, I pledge:

  • To prepare myself by diligent study and ardent practice to become a worker whose services will be recognized as honorable by my employer and fellow workers.
  • To base my expectations of reward upon the solid foundation of service.
  • To honor and respect my vocation in such a way as to bring repute to myself.
  • And further, to spare no effort in upholding the ideals of SkillsUSA.

Meaning of the Pledge

Upon my honor, I pledge: This is a very strong statement. It means you are committed to follow through on your promise.

To prepare myself: Preparation requires self-control. It means effort without immediate reward but with the knowledge that the effort will pay off when the preparation is completed.

By diligent study: Diligence implies something far beyond a quick review of assignments. Diligence means perseverance, concentration and not always taking the easy route.

And ardent practice: A person of character makes every effort in spite of setbacks or personal loss.

To become a worker: SkillsUSA members take pride in making things happen, in being good workers and in their employers.

Whose services: Doing things for others is the basis of many occupations. SkillsUSA members strive to be active in their schools and communities.

Will be recognized as honorable: The result of preparation, study, practice, work and service is the respect and honor given SkillsUSA members.

To base my expectations of reward upon the solid foundation of service: This statement reinforces the attitude that we must first serve in order to gain. This attitude is important to success.

To respect my vocation: SkillsUSA members recognize the need to find their vocation and strive to understand its traditions, skills, leaders and potential.

To bring repute to myself: SkillsUSA members strive to have a good reputation among their peers, fellow workers, teachers, parents and employers.

To spare no effort in upholding these ideals: This means service to the community, school and SkillsUSA chapter – getting things done and becoming a leader, all with the ideals of SkillsUSA in mind.

SkillsUSA Creed

I believe in the dignity of work

I hold that society has advanced to its present culture through the use of the worker's hands and mind. I will maintain a feeling of humbleness for the knowledge and skills that I receive from professionals, and I will conduct myself with dignity in the work I do.

I believe in the American way of life

I know our culture is the result of freedom of action and opportunities won by the founders of our American republic, and I will uphold their ideals.

I believe in education

I will endeavor to make the best use of knowledge, skills and experience that I will learn in order that I may be a better worker in my chosen occupation and a better citizen in my community. To this end, I will continue my learning now and in the future.

I believe in fair play

I will, through honesty and fair play, respect the rights of others. I will always conduct myself in the manner of the best professionals in my occupation and treat those with whom I work as I would like to be treated.

I believe satisfaction is achieved by good work

I feel that compensation and personal satisfaction received for my work and services will be in proportion to my creative and productive ability.

I believe in high moral and spiritual standards

I will endeavor to conduct myself in such a manner as to set an example for others by living a wholesome life and by fulfilling my responsibilities as a citizen of my community.

SkillsUSA Emblem, Colors and Official Attire

Symbolism of the SkillsUSA Emblem

emblemThe shield represents patriotism
The shield denotes our belief in democracy, liberty and the American way of life.

The gear represents the industrial society
The gear, symbolic of the industrial society, denotes the interdependence and cooperation of the individual working with labor and management for the betterment of mankind.

The torch represents knowledge
The flaming torch reflects the light of knowledge, which dispels the darkness of ignorance. In the light of the torch, progress will be made toward the vocational goals of the individual.

The orbital circles represent technology
The circles represent the challenge of modern technology and the training needed to accept and master the challenge of new technical frontiers and the need for continuous education.

The hands represent the individual
The hands portray a search for knowledge and our desire to acquire a skill. In the process of attaining knowledge and skill, we will develop a respect for the dignity of work and become productive and responsible citizens.

Note: The emblem should not be used to represent the organization. Please use official SkillsUSA logos.

SkillsUSA Emblem Ceremony

The Emblem Ceremony is an important part of chapter meetings.

The demonstration below is provided as an example of how the ceremony could be conducted. It is NOT intended to represent a competition level performance.

Downloads

SkillsUSA Colors

The colors red, white, blue and gold represent the national SkillsUSA organization.

Red and white represent the individual states and chapters.

Blue represents the common union of the states and of the chapters.

Gold represents the individual, the most important element of the organization.

SkillsUSA Attire

Wearing the official SkillsUSA attire adds a sense of unity and identification, as well as enthusiasm, to meetings, ceremonies, presentations and activities. Members are encouraged to strictly follow the guidelines for official attire during ceremonies, visits with dignitaries, officer campaigns and similar occasions.

Official Attire
  • Red SkillsUSA blazer, windbreaker or sweater, or black or red SkillsUSA jacket
  • Button-up, collared, white dress shirt (accompanied by a plain, solid black tie), white blouse (collarless or small-collared) or white turtleneck, with any collar not to extend into the lapel area of the blazer, sweater, windbreaker or jacket
  • Black dress slacks (accompanied by black dress socks or black or skin-tone seamless hose) or black dress skirt (knee-length) (accompanied by black or skin-tone seamless hose)
  • Black dress shoes

To order official clothing and work uniforms for competition, go to the SkillsUSA Supply Service.

SkillsUSA Logos and Graphic Standards

Brand-Center screenshotThe SkillsUSA Brand Center is officially open at: www.skillsusabrandcenter.org.

This online system will help unify SkillsUSA’s visual identity among our state associations and local chapters. An overarching goal is to help all members understand the importance of consistency in how SkillsUSA is communicated and help them advocate for our brand.

The interactive website makes it much easier for our state leaders and local members to download existing SkillsUSA logos (national, state and slogan art). Users can now search for the particular logo they need and download it in the proper format for an individual job (EPS, JPG, PNG).

An all-new function allows local members to create their own personalized SkillsUSA logo with the name of the chapter. Some of the templates we've provided electronically in the membership kits — local brochures, meeting fliers, letters to parents and administrators, and presentation — are also available.

Members will be asked to register when first visiting the site, which enables them to save specific sections as favorites. Then users will see a column on the left side of the webpage with a menu of options, from identity standards and applications to downloads and the personalized logo generator.

Later stages of the brand center will introduce customizable items such as meeting covers, posters, newsletters, business cards and letterhead. We also plan to add an image bank of high-resolution photos that can be used by national staff, state SkillsUSA directors and others with their own visual communications.

Downloads