First SkillsUSA National Signing Day a Big Success

SkillsUSA National Signing Day took place on Wednesday, May 8. Over 300 schools and an estimated 3,000 students participated across the country. The event saluted career and technical education students for pledging to continue in a skilled trades career after high school, in the same way as student athletes who sign for college sports programs or even the NFL.

Our partner Klein Tools took the lead, providing T-shirts, hats, backpacks and Klein pliers as gifts as well as pledge cards, signs, tablecloths and water bottles. Klein invited NFL quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to be the Signing Day spokesperson at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education Center in San Jose, Calif. He addressed the group alongside his father, Tony Garoppolo, a career electrician. Tim Lawrence spoke, as did the principal of Silicon Valley CTEC, Klein Tools president Mark Klein and vice president of marketing Greg Palese.

The first signer was WorldSkills USA cabinetmaking competitor, Ethan Harrison. At Silicon Valley CTE Center, ten students at a time sat at a table, signed pledge cards to a future skilled trades career, then stepped to the mic and stated their plans, posed for photos as a group, and received their hat and T-shirt, backpack and pliers. Don Black, of the Western Electrical Contractors Association and board chair of SkillsUSA California, also attended.

SkillsUSA national officers participated at four other signing day locations: Brooke Gatchell was at Ponaganset High School in Rhode Island; Ulamila Uluiviti was at the Fremont (Ohio) campus of Vanguard Technical Center; Amari Brown was at Oklahoma’s Gordon Cooper Technology Center; and Guadalupe Cortez was at Slawson Occupational Center in California. Teachers nationwide said their students felt honored and this was a great way to conclude their high school education.

SkillsUSA received unprecedented media coverage for the event with a total of 634 print and broadcast stories, 295,690,410 impressions and a total media value of $38,502,463.99.