SkillsUSA Week

February 4-10, 2018

SkillsUSA Week is celebrated the second week of February each year.

Coahoma Community College SkillsUSA members with Clarksdale (Miss.) Mayor Bill Luckett.

SkillsUSA Week gives state associations, advisors and student members the opportunity to promote SkillsUSA programs and activities at the local and state levels.

During SkillsUSA week, members can also help raise awareness of SkillsUSA. This can be accomplished through field trips to local businesses, an open house for parents or industry partners, a visit to local community organizations to make a brief presentation about SkillsUSA, or providing news releases and public service announcements to local media outlets for possible distribution.

Involvement in activities such as these brings positive recognition to SkillsUSA, and to local schools and their students. Also, it underscores the importance of SkillsUSA’s purposes and mission, which is to help prepare America’s high performance workers in public career and technical programs.

SkillsUSA Week Video Competition, Presented by Carhartt

Top Three Videos

SkillsUSA Week: A Time to Celebrate Framework Skill Development in Students
 Pike-Lincoln Technical Center, Eolia, Mo. (Sydney Rothbard)

Keene High School, Keene, N.H. (Mallory Snide, Kaylie Benoit, Elizabeth Squires, Christian Cook, and Jennifer Smalley)

Cheshire Career Center, Keene, N.H. (Nikolas Morton)

Classroom Tools for Teachers

Monday, Feb. 6

Tuesday, Feb. 7

Discussion Prompts for Video Part 1:

  1. What is the “skills gap?”
    Answer: The gap between what employers want or need their employees to be able to do, and what those employees can actually do when they walk into work
  1. According to Mike Rowe, how many jobs are currently unfilled because of the “skills gap?”
    Answer: 5.8 million
  1. Carhartt is an official sponsor of SkillsUSA. What skilled careers are available within Carhartt?
    Answer: General maintenance, mechanic, technical maintenance, sewing operator, production specialist, forklift operator, technical designer, telecommunications specialist, network engineer, network analyst, product designer, security manager, systems technician, product developer, engineer, and fashion designer
  1. What contributes to the skills gap?
    Answer: Employees or potential employees are unwilling to learn or be trained a new skill, unwilling to relocate to where the jobs are, and have unrealistic expectations for a “dream job” with excellent salary and in their ZIP code
  1. How does SkillsUSA help narrow the skills gap?
    Answer: SkillsUSA and career and technical education (CTE) train students to become technicians, skilled trades workers, production operators and laborers
  1. How can we help people at the local level become more aware of the importance and value of CTE?
    Answer: Responses will vary

Optional Activity for Video Part 1:

Time: 5 minutes

Materials needed: Paper (one piece per pair) and writing utensil (one per pair)

Divide students into pairs. Each pair needs one piece of paper and a writing utensil. Give these instructions:

“Look around this room. (Pause) Notice the structure, furniture, technology and design. What skilled careers have made all of this possible? With your partner, brainstorm a list of all the careers. What questions do you have? (Pause) You have two minutes.“

Monitor students’ work. After two minutes, have pairs each share a few responses with the class. Responses will vary but might include: brick mason, cabinetmaker, electrician, carpenter, plumber, cement and concrete mason, air conditioning mechanic, video and audio equipment technologist, computer support specialist, painter, service installer, plasterer and roofer

For more information about the skills gap, visit:

Wednesday, Feb. 8

Discussion prompts for Video Part 2:

  1. What does Mike Rowe mean by “white collar” jobs?
    Answer: White-collar jobs are typically performed in an office, cubicle or other administrative setting. This is a working class known for earning high average salaries and not performing manual labor on the job. Examples include: computer programmer, accountant, administrative assistant, newspaper reporter, human resources manager
  1. What does Mike Rowe mean by “blue collar” jobs?
    Answer: Blue-collar jobs often require manual labor. Often something is physically built or maintained. Examples include: mining, sanitation, construction, skilled or unskilled manufacturing, firefighting, technical installation, mechanical maintenance or warehousing. (Note to instructor: This is an appropriate time to point out a third working-class category, which is “pink collar.” These jobs are related to customer interaction, entertainment and sales)
  1. Why is balance between blue- and white-collar jobs important?
    Answer: Both types of jobs are important and rely upon each other
  1. Carhartt is an official sponsor of SkillsUSA and specifically SkillsUSA Week. Describe the balance between blue, white and pink careers within a large compzny
    Answer: The balance will vary based on the type of business. Carhartt has a good product (clothing), so it has a wide variety of jobs ranging from sewing-machine operation to fashion design and marketing to maintenance. Each job is essential to the success of the company
  1. What would you say to an administrator or legislator who thinks funding for career and technical education (CTE) programs should be low-priority?
    Answer: Responses will vary
  1. Who encouraged you to pursue CTE? How can you encourage others to pursue a skilled career?
    Answer: Responses will vary

Optional Activity for Video Part 2:

Time: 7 minutes

Materials needed: Post-it notes (several per pair) and writing utensil (one per pair)

Divide students into pairs. Give each several Post-it notes and say:

“There are benefits to every career. Today, let’s think about skilled trades such as the “blue collar” jobs. With your partner, discuss the benefit of being professional in those jobs. You will list one benefit per Post-it note. You have 90 seconds to brainstorm. What questions do you have? (Pause) Brainstorm!”

Monitor students’ work. After 90 seconds, give these instructions:

“As a pair, place your Post-it notes on the wall while reading the notes of others. If you see similar notes, put them together. What questions are there? (Pause) You have three minutes to put your notes on the wall and sort.”

After three minutes, briefly highlight the benefits listed. Responses will vary but might include: Training programs and education may be shorter and less expensive, well paid, job security because the jobs cannot be outsourced, job availability, job satisfaction, and health and fitness.

Thursday, Feb. 9

Discussion Prompts for Video Part 3:

  1. Why do Mike Rowe and his foundation support SkillsUSA?
    Answer: Students need to be challenged, and SkillsUSA does this. The mission and beliefs of SkillsUSA are closely aligned with his foundation in regard to what is a good job, what opportunity looks like and the role of personal responsibility. As a public figure, he can bring awareness to our organization and mission
  1. How does SkillsUSA challenge students to grow and learn?
    Answer: Responses will vary but might include: teaching of the SkillsUSA Framework, participation in competitions, conducting activities of the Program of Work, attendance at conferences and work experiences
  1. Carhartt is an official sponsor of SkillsUSA and specifically SkillsUSA Week. Why does Carhartt support SkillsUSA?
    Answer: SkillsUSA supports and builds the American workforce. Carhartt dresses the American workforce. Corporations and businesses support youth organizations to make positive contributions in their communities and get good publicity. Since Carhartt hires many skilled workers, it may be helping to educate and train its future employees.
  1. Why is promotion of SkillsUSA important?
    Answer: Answers will vary but might include: increase enrollment and membership, increase awareness and support, increase financial support and funding of the program, create a demand for the program, and train more skilled workers
  1. How can we promote SkillsUSA in our school? In our community?
    Answer: Answers will vary

Optional Activity for Video Part 3:

Time: 15 minutes

Materials needed: Paper (one piece per student) and markers

Each student needs one piece of paper and markers. Give these instructions:

“Think about SkillsUSA and everything you have participated in, experienced and gained from our organization. (Pause) You will select one word to describe SkillsUSA. When you have chosen a word, you will write it on your paper using the markers. You will have three minutes to work, and then you will share with the class. What questions are there? (Pause) Begin!” 

Monitor students’ work. After three minutes, have students form a circle. If time is limited, divide and form two circles. Have each student share the one word and give a short explanation of his or her selection of the word.

The words can be used in a variety of additional ways to promote SkillsUSA.

  • Papers may be collected and used to create bulletin board to promote SkillsUSA.
  • Words can be combined into a word cloud to be shared through social media.
  • A short video can be created with each student sharing his or her word. The video can be posted to social media or played to kick off events or exploratory classes.

For more information about marketing your chapter, visit:

Friday, Feb. 10

Discussion Prompts for Video Part 4:

  1. Why is private industry interested in helping train the future American workforce?
    Answer: These businesses need skilled employees. If private industry does not provide funding or resources to train the future workforce, it will not be able to hire the right candidates for its jobs.
  1. How can our chapter build positive relationships with private industry?
    Answer: Answers will vary
  1. Why did you join SkillsUSA?
    Answer: Answers will vary
  1. What benefit and career value does SkillsUSA offer members?
    Answer: “SkillsUSA activities develop positive attitudes, build self-esteem and empower students to excel. They give students a head start in developing valuable professional skills such as communications, interpersonal abilities, time management, teamwork and more. Because SkillsUSA works hand-in-hand with business and industry, students get the skills employers want.”
  1. Private industries want employees to have a certain skill set when hired. However, additional education and training are often provided. Carhartt is an official partner of SkillsUSA and specifically SkillsUSA Week. What training and educational opportunities are available for Carhartt, and other private industry, employees?
    Answer: Answers will vary, but should include: education reimbursement, seminar enrollment, specific skill training, management training and more.

Optional Activity for Video Part 4:

Time: 11 minutes

Materials needed: Paper (one piece per student) and writing utensil (one per student)

Each student needs one piece of paper and a writing utensil. Give these instructions:

“For a challenging decision, it is often helpful to create a list of pros and cons of the activity or action so you can evaluate and make a sound decision. Individually, you will think about the pros and cons of joining SkillsUSA. List the pros on the left side of your paper and the cons on the right. You will have 90 seconds to list. What questions do you have? (Pause) List!” 

Monitor students’ work. After 90 seconds, put students into small groups of four. Give these instructions:

“We will start by sharing the positive effects of joining SkillsUSA within your small groups. Be sure everyone gets a chance to read his or her ‘pro’ list. Then one person will share the first ‘con’ on his or her list. Other group members will counteract this negative by turning it into a positive. For example, if the ‘con’ is that joining SkillsUSA would require the member to attend a monthly meeting, students will counteract by explaining what is positive about the meetings, such as snacks, an opportunity to see friends, a door-prize drawing or even that the meeting could get someone out of having to babysit that evening. Students should be honest with their responses. You will repeat this for every ‘con’ on the lists. What questions are there? (Pause) Start sharing, positive then negative.”

Monitor students’ work. Allow about eight minutes for sharing, using the conversation level of the groups to gauge when they are finished. Wrap up by explaining that students can use the suggestions and brainstorming from this activity to help them encourage others to join SkillsUSA.

For more information about marketing your chapter and visiting private businesses, go to:

Plan SkillsUSA Week Activities

Have student members plan and host events that include administrators, business leaders and legislators. You can participate in SkillsUSA Week lots of different ways: hold an open house, invite local media to tour your programs, conduct a community service project, work with area businesses to build more meaningful partnerships, or engage with policymakers to talk about the value of technical education.

For a sample calendar, proclamation and press release, see the RESOURCES box on the right side of this page. (If viewing on a mobile device, it may be at the bottom of the page)

Enter the SkillsUSA Week Video Contest

What a cool opportunity for your members to capture the excitement of SkillsUSA! “SkillsUSA Week: A Time to Celebrate Framework Skill Development in Students” is the topic for the video. While it is ideal to capture events that are taking place during SkillsUSA Week, it is not mandatory for the video. So don’t delay, have members begin the video today!(See full details below at:

Order SkillsUSA Week T-shirt

The SkillsUSA Store has created a SkillsUSA Week T-shirt for $12. Visit to order your shirt and a whole host of products that are ready for your week of celebration!

Issue a SkillsUSA Week Press Release

Use the template to let your congressional representatives, senators and local media outlets know about SkillsUSA Week and Career and Technical Education Month during the month of February. Personalize and use the parts of the template that work for you. You can send an email to up to five media outlets at a time. After the release is submitted, follow up with media outlets by calling or visiting. To use the SkillsUSA advocacy site, go to:, click on the “SkillsUSA Week, Feb. 5-11” heading, and fill in your ZIP code; the rest should be self-explanatory. If you have questions, contact Jane Short at 703-737-0612 or

Share Your SkillsUSA Week Pictures

Now is the chance to showcase your students and the great work you are doing in your state. As you conduct SkillsUSA Week activities, please be sure to take pictures and share them with the national headquarters. Your photos may be featured in a Flickr gallery on SkillsUSA’s home page. Send your best photos to Please be sure to identify everyone in the picture for the caption.

Report Your SkillsUSA Week News

Share your news and stories with Tom Hall at SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176 or email