Ensuring Career Success for Students
There are many amazing companies and organizations. But, every once in a while, an organization develops a “secret sauce” that launches them head and shoulders above others. Coca-Cola has a secret drink recipe. Apple has great products but had early visionary leadership. NASCAR pit crews exemplify highly-efficient teamwork. Through deep research and decades of hard work, some organizations carve out a competitive advantage that might be emulated by others, but is seldom replicated.
The story of SkillsUSA
Since 1965, SkillsUSA has been an integral part of career and technical education with an unwavering commitment to improving the quality of our nation’s skilled workforce. Our mission is to prepare students for career success. We know it is critical that all members understand their value and purpose while being connected to the in-demand careers that build economic security for a lifetime.
But just having a lofty mission isn’t enough. We define our mission through the SkillsUSA Framework, which is based on research from over 1,000 employers in identifying crucial skills to success. The SkillsUSA Framework is comprised of three components: personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Within the three components are 17 Essential Elements or skills that every individual should possess for career success.
True success is achieved when Framework instruction is taught and reinforced through coaching and feedback in the classroom, gaining experience in the workplace and active participation in a SkillsUSA chapter. Students make connections between what they are learning today and the world of work by using these three locations (classroom, workplace and chapter) as laboratories for applied learning.
But there still must be a way for these 17 Essential Elements to be learned hands-on, and with contextual experiences that emulates the real world.
Integration is SkillsUSA’s “secret sauce.” In order to develop the whole person and ensure career preparedness, SkillsUSA chapters provide rich, meaningful experiences in six categories called the SkillsUSA Program of Work. A well-planned Program of Work provides intentional instruction of the SkillsUSA Framework Essential Elements woven together with
diverse chapter activities.
A vibrant SkillsUSA chapter only occurs through rich classroom integration and actively engaging the Program of Work categories.
Why is this combination so important?
- You could combine a classroom and the workplace in an internship and get a small snapshot of real work experience. But an internship alone won’t ensure a student masters all 17 Essential Skills to excel at a job interview and then land a dream job after graduation.
- Alternatively, you could combine the workplace and being involved in a club or athletic team. But with no intentional tie to school, learning might be completely disconnected.
- Similarly, only merging academic learning with an extracurricular activity might provide leadership experience, but is insufficient to grow employability skills and familiarity with industry.
- It is only through integrating classroom learning, work experience and a SkillsUSA chapter that a student’s future can come into complete focus.
This ability for students to reflect on their knowledge and skills and to be able to articulate what they have gained to an employer is what delivering on the SkillsUSA mission looks like.
We’re glad you’ve decided to join us on this mission.
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SkillsUSA is a federally-recognized career and technical student organization (CTSO) and is an integral part of a career and technical education (CTE) program. We’ve been doing this work for more than five decades — always growing, always striving to reach more students and to serve them effectively. SkillsUSA is the largest organization whose purpose is to serve students preparing for technical, skilled and service careers.
SkillsUSA has three divisions: middle school, high school and college/postsecondary. Each has separate bylaws to govern its activities and, except for middle school, annually elects students as national officers.
Chartered State Associations
SkillsUSA is a federation of 50 states and three territories. The national headquarters in Leesburg, Va. grants charters authorizing each state association to operate.
Each state SkillsUSA association is administered by the authorized state agency for career and technical education. Often, this is the state’s department of education through its division of career and technical education, or a college/postsecondary agency.
A state SkillsUSA director is then hired or designated by the state agency to manage the state association. To locate contact information for your state director, visit: www.skillsusa.org/about/statedirectors/
Local chapters affiliate with SkillsUSA through the state association and a charter is issued to the school. Ideally, an instructor from every technical program should be involved in SkillsUSA as an advisor and professional member.
Once you have gathered the support of your administrator, you may request that your school be added to the membership registration site by completing an online form at: www.skillsusa-register.org/rpts/CreateNewSchool.aspx. It is also extremely important to connect on the state SkillsUSA level. Connecting directly with your state SkillsUSA director will ensure you are included in all communications, and they can provide assistance in the successful formation of your chapter.
The first step in establishing a new chapter is to hold a meeting with interested students to form an organizing committee. The students will begin to mold and shape the chapter as they plan and carry out a membership campaign (see section on membership recruitment for ideas). In addition, these students will work, with your guidance, to write a local constitution, complete a chapter charter and submit both to your state SkillsUSA director. These documents are found online and are completed electronically. Once the state SkillsUSA director has accepted your local constitution and chapter charter, your school will be listed as a user on the SkillsUSA registration site so you can enroll members. You are then ready to move forward to take advantage of local, state and national opportunities that await you and your students.
Your Role as an Advisor
Taking on the role of an advisor to a SkillsUSA chapter is one of the most intentional steps you can take as part of your professional career. The impact of this decision on your students and their future will be life-changing. You’ll find that many of the roles and responsibilities of serving as an advisor support the work you are already doing in the classroom.
As the advisor of your SkillsUSA chapter:
- You serve as a guide, facilitator and advisor to students but allow them to take the lead.
- You serve as a coach and mentor, offering feedback in a safe learning environment that allows students to reflect and grow from their experiences.
- You encourage, motivate and inspire students to be their best selves.
- You believe that all students have value and purpose and that SkillsUSA offers the ability for students to discover and follow their career passions.
- You connect business and industry to classroom learning, bringing relevancy to technical education and SkillsUSA Framework instruction.
- You create meaningful workplace experiences for your students.
- You empower members to be “in charge” of their organization and to lead activities.
- You prepare your students to demonstrate their skills through local championships that are assessed by business and industry.
- You promote SkillsUSA to students, parents, counselors, administrators and the community.
- You provide intentional instruction about the SkillsUSA Framework and Essential Elements, allowing students to define, develop and demonstrate the skills identified.
- You deliver on the mission of SkillsUSA by preparing career-ready graduates.
The SkillsUSA Framework outlines all skills needed to be job-ready Day One. Every aspect of our program is built around the Framework, which emphasizes personal skills, workplace skills and technical skills grounded in academics.
The purpose of the Framework is to provide a common language to communicate what students learn in the classroom and laboratory.
Students learn and practice these skills through experiences found in the:
- CLASSROOM With direct input from industry, SkillsUSA creates educational resources, materials and curriculum used in career and technical education programs across the country.
- CHAPTER Student-led chapters give students leadership experience beyond the classroom including participation in local, state and national competitions that are assessed to industry standards.
- WORKPLACE Students can make connections and bring relevancy to learning through job shadowing, internships, work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities tied directly to business and industry.
To teach all Essential Elements and behaviors, instruction must be purposeful and strategic. Many skills can be practiced during hands-on experiences, while others will require a specific lesson in the classroom. When students reflect on their education, they will not only appreciate the technical skills gained, but also the valuable lifelong skills they accumulated along the way. Become comfortable with the terminology so you can use the Framework components and Essential Elements seamlessly in conversation and instruction.
Integrity—Doing the right thing in a reliable way.
- Be honest.
- Do what I say I will do.
- Hold myself and others accountable.
- Make choices consistent with my values.
Work Ethic—Being committed to punctuality, meeting deadlines and following established policies and procedures to get work done.
- Engage in meaningful work to contribute.
- Be productive throughout the workday.
- Reflect upon and evaluate my productivity.
- Demonstrate consistency in work performance.
Professionalism—Behaving in alignment with workplace standards to display a positive image.
- Be loyal to my peers, supervisor and myself.
- Adhere to dress codes and other policies.
- Monitor my words and actions.
- Model appropriate behavior and etiquette in all settings.
- Create a respectful and safe culture.
Responsibility—Taking ownership of one’s work performance, behavior and actions.
- Honor my commitments.
- Complete my work and assignments on time.
- Work efficiently and effectively without supervision.
- Persevere in accomplishing my work.
- Own my mistakes or incomplete work.
Adaptability/Flexibility—Embracing change and fostering creativity; being resilient.
- Overcome barriers and roadblocks.
- Understand that multiple solutions will
accomplish the same goal.
- Maintain composure during adversity.
- Be curious to explore and experiment.
Self-Motivation—Exhibiting a passion for life and career.
- Purposefully connect what I do today with my future.
- Positively express self and work with others.
- Seek to learn and develop new knowledge and skills.
- Be disciplined to achieve my purpose and goals.
Communication—Sending and receiving clear messages.
- Write and speak effectively.
- Use appropriate body language.
- Check for understanding when articulating complex issues.
- Practice active listening skills.
- Choose appropriate mode of communication.
Decision Making—Using information and processes to problem-solve and make choices.
- Analyze key facts, data and situations.
- Follow a problem-solving process.
- Weigh multiple outcomes.
- Identify possible options and their impacts.
- Make informed choices.
Teamwork— Working with others to achieve a common goal.
- Work collaboratively with my peers, classmates
- Honor the contributions and strengths of others.
- Honor my commitments and responsibilities to the team.
- Foster positive and collaborative working relationships with others.
Multicultural Sensitivity and Awareness— Respecting all people and cultures by fostering appropriate
and respectful workplace relationships and interacting.
- Learn about other cultures.
- Value diversity.
- Demonstrate tact in words and actions.
- Treat everyone with respect.
- Empower all to use their unique contributions.
Planning, Organizing and Management— Designing and implementing processes to complete projects and tasks at established standards of quality.
- Break down projects and task with timelines.
- Identify resources and standards for completing projects.
- Anticipate and plan for possible obstacles and setbacks.
- Establish work priorities.
Leadership— Influencing the hearts, minds and actions
- Build and model trust.
- Foster hope.
- Express compassion.
- Establish stability.
Computer and Technology Literacy—Using technology in effective, appropriate and innovative ways.
- Be willing to learn and integrate new technology.
- Use work-based technology proficiently.
- Effectively employ technology to solve problems.
- Improve information flow through technology.
- Use technology to improve and document accountability.
Job-Specific Skills—Identifying, developing and implementing unique knowledge and skills required by a specific job.
- Know my job roles and responsibilities.
- Perform my job confidently.
- Follow personnel manual policies.
- Perform responsibilities without direct supervision.
- Seek ways to improve my job performance skills.
- Teach others job-specific tasks.
- Receive coaching feedback.
Safety and Health—Following workplace health, wellness, financial and safety guidelines.
- Follow safety procedures including wearing appropriate
- Maintain a clean work environment.
- Identify potential hazards and notify appropriate parties.
- Use tools and equipment according to safety standards.
- Stay current with safety regulations and standards.
Service Orientation—Meeting the needs of internal and external customers in respectful and effective ways.
- Acknowledge and be present with customers.
- Stay focused and customer-oriented while at work.
- Demonstrate respect and courtesy to customers at all times.
- Know and implement my company’s service policy.
- Handle difficult situations with tact and self-restraint.
- Know when to involve my supervisor in a customer
Professional Development—Engaging intentionally in learning experiences that contribute positively to career path progression.
- Develop my career plan.
- Assess my current skill sets and determine areas for my growth.
- Use professional and personal mentors.
- Seek professional and personal growth opportunities.
- Apply new learning.
- Stay current with workplace-related resources.
- Seek new responsibilities to gain additional skill sets.
Consider your SkillsUSA chapter as the training ground for students to learn personal, workplace and technical skills. A chapter should provide rich experiences that prepare students for career success. To make that a reality, students must be the ones organizing and leading the chapter. The instructor, known as a SkillsUSA advisor, provides “advisement” but allows the students to figure things out for themselves.
Organizing your chapter management structure is one of the most important steps that you can take to ensure a successful chapter. By following the keys points below, you will set yourself and your students up for success.
It is essential to hold meetings on a regular basis and to inform students when meetings are scheduled. The meeting times and locations can take a variety of forms to meet the needs of your student body. Because of the integral nature of SkillsUSA to CTE programs, many chapters will hold their meetings during the school day within each class period to give everyone an opportunity to be involved. However, it is fine to get creative and hold chapter meetings when they work best for your students and their school day.
- Mirror the chapter meeting by holding it once in the morning and again in the afternoon so all students can participate in one of the meetings.
- Assemble the chapter members for a large group meeting in the cafeteria, common area or gym, and then schedule committee meetings so smaller teams can work on projects.
- Conduct chapter meetings before school or after school.
- Conduct evening meetings.
- Gather the group for a virtual meeting outside of school hours using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or a similar technology.
Meetings are where the work of the chapter is accomplished, and decisions are made by the members. To keep members engaged and regularly attending, chapter meetings should
be meaningful, productive and purposeful.
Goals for chapter meetings may include the following:
- Provide an opportunity for chapter members to participate in decision-making processes to determine Program of Work activities, officer elections and recognition programs.
- Set up committees to plan, implement and report on the Program of Work activities.
- Have FUN! Conduct activities that allow members to get to know one another and have a good time.
Chapter officers are essential to the success of a local chapter. Officers serve and guide the membership and ensure that all members are actively participating. The steps to establish a quality chapter officer team are simple:
- Ensure that all candidates understand the officer roles.
- Follow a step-by-step process to elect the officers.
- Provide training for newly-elected officers.
To begin the step-by-step process to elect officers, you must first determine which offices should be part of the chapter. There are six suggested offices: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, reporter and parliamentarian. Chapters can be flexible on this number and should consider how many roles are adequate to support the chapter. In some cases, that number may be more or less than six.
Things to consider:
- How many total SkillsUSA members will be represented by the officer team?
- Will each individual technical program elect officers, or will there be one team for the school?
- If you have one team, will the team represent all technical programs?
- What officer structure do members prefer to have?
- Is this plan aligned with the chapter constitution and bylaws?
Ensure candidates fully understand the duties of the office for which they desire to campaign. Below are a few of the roles and duties that officers may perform.
- Guides the chapter and officer team in setting goals.
- Presides over meetings.
- Keeps members informed and
- Signs chapter certificates and important documents.
- Presides over meetings when the president cannot.
- Responsible for managing the chapter’s committees to complete the work of the chapter.
- Carries specific responsibility for program planning.
- Assists the president and assumes the presidency if the position is vacant before end of the term.
- Keeps all chapter records.
- Advises the president on agenda matters and prepares meeting agenda.
- Takes notes and prepares minutes of each meeting.
- Oversees all chapter correspondence.
- Maintains membership records.
- Keeps a record of all chapter funds.
- Maintains records of chapter income and expenses.
- Oversees the chapter budget.
- Communicates news to chapter members, administrators, school community and the public.
- Captures photographs and videos of chapter activities.
- Uses a variety of communication tools to manage the image of the chapter including social media, local newspapers, radio, television stations and SkillsUSA websites.
- Writes news releases or blogs, creates vlogs or videos and writes captions for photos.
- Be familiar with and refer to Robert’s Rules of Order during meetings.
- Has a working knowledge of parliamentary procedure or a willingness to learn.
- Works with the president to ensure parliamentary procedure is followed.
- Offers guidance to members during meetings for effective and efficient meetings.
Chapter Officer Elections
It is important to run an open, fair and orderly officer election process. It should be made clear who is eligible to run for office, how to apply, the campaigning rules and the election process.
- Procedures must be fair for all candidates.
- Establish an application process that all candidates follow. This may include:
- Completing an application.
- Writing an essay on why they would make a good officer.
- Getting a teacher recommendation.
- Preparing an interview or campaign speech.
- Additional guidelines may include:
- Requiring a specific GPA, signing a code of conduct for behavior and following a spending limit for campaign materials.
Within the election process, all candidates campaign for their desired office. Campaigning provides a great opportunity for personal and workplace skill development, especially when clear guidelines are established. All chapter members are eligible to vote in the elections. Consider establishing an election committee so it can determine, prior to voting, the most appropriate balloting procedure.
Balloting procedure options can include:
- One vote per member.
- A rubric to evaluate candidates based on votes as well as their essay, interview and speech.
After election results are determined, announce and install the officers.
Follow the election and installation of new officers with training. Training ensures officers understand their roles and can perform their duties effectively. Some ideas for training topics include roles and responsibilities, working as a team, meeting basics, creating an agenda, use of committees and how to make meetings fun for attendees. This is invaluable professional development for these students.
Why should your chapter be involved in the full SkillsUSA Program of Work? When a chapter provides rich experiences in all six categories, it empowers students to become career-ready. The Program of Work is a road map for the kinds of activities your chapter will conduct every year. From project management to creating a budget, advocacy efforts or event coordination, the Program of Work is a laboratory in which students can experiment, reflect and receive coaching and feedback while gaining knowledge and new transferable skills.
The Program of Work in Action
Below you will find the definition of each Program of Work category, a description of how active participation and engagement in this category will prepare a student to be career-ready, plus tangible examples of activities that support the definition.
Advocacy and Marketing
Promote SkillsUSA chapter and CTE programs, public relations initiatives and experiences to build social responsibility.
Participation in advocacy and marketing creates a career-ready student who is able to:
- Identify characteristics of effective marketing.
- Promote the organization.
- Advocate for themselves and their ideas.
Activities conducted in the area of advocacy and marketing might include:
- Participation in SkillsUSA Week.
- A presentation about SkillsUSA to the local school board.
- A recruitment activity.
- Regularly-scheduled social media posts about SkillsUSA.
Assess community needs, identify services and employ skills to meet needs that develop long-lasting partnerships.
- Participation in community engagement creates a career-ready student who is able to:
- Assess and analyze needs.
- Develop and foster a heart for service.
- Apply technical skills for the benefit of others.
- Activities in the area of community engagement might include:
- Culinary students holding a teacher appreciation breakfast.
- Automotive students providing oil changes for members of the military.
- Construction students building or repairing a community playground.
- Cosmetology students visiting a senior center to provide hair services.
Develop personal financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills through relevant work experience, project management and chapter fundraising.
- Participation in financial management creates a career-ready student who is able to:
- Work efficiently and effectively within a budget.
- Effectively manage personal finances.
- Manage resources efficiently.
- Activities in the area of financial management might include:
- Hosting an entrepreneurial fair.
- Hiring a financial management expert as a guest speaker.
- Creating and carrying out a chapter fundraiser.
- Students tracking chapter expenditures on a spreadsheet.
Establish interpersonal relationships, individual and team development through chapter operations, leadership competitions and individualized growth plans.
- Participation in leadership development creates a career-ready student who is able to:
- Communicate vision.
- Inspire others to action to reach a common goal.
- Equip and empower team members.
- Activities in the area of leadership development might include:
- Conducting a leadership workshop
for all members.
- Attending a Fall Leadership Conference.
- Holding a chapter officer retreat.
- Conducting a leadership workshop
Partner and Alumni Engagement
Engage former members, parents, advisory committees, administrators, faculty and business and industry partners in SkillsUSA chapter and classroom activities.
- Participation in alumni and partner engagement creates a career-ready student who is able to:
- Appreciate the contributions of others.
- Build a personal and professional network.
- Recognize and value the expertise of others.
- Activities in the area of partner and alumni engagement might include:
- Conducting program advisory committee meetings.
- Partners serving as mentors.
- Recognizing contributions of partners and alumni.
Participation in career exploration, planning and work-based learning opportunities including the SkillsUSA Championships.
- Participation in workplace experiences creates a career-ready student who is able to:
- Gain relevant work experience.
- Develop job-seeking skills.
- Understand workplace expectations.
- Activities in the area of workplace experiences might include:
- Conducting local championships.
- Going on an industry tour.
- Holding a résumé and mock job interview day.
Implementing the Program of Work at your school is fairly simple. To begin, refer to the Program of Work Launch Activity Guide 1 in your Membership Kit or online at www.skillsusa.org. This resource is turnkey and provides step-by-step instructions to completing six activities for the year. Each activity includes these five steps:
Planning — Developing the plans needed to ensure successful completion of an activity.
This will include budgeting, creating timelines and planning for needed materials and resources. It also focuses on establishing the partnerships necessary to complete the activity.
Implementation — Carrying out the plans made by identifying the steps that must be taken for the successful completion of the activity.
Evaluation — Evaluating the activity once complete including outcomes, the impact of the focus on the targeted Essential Element and recommendations for next year’s chapter or committee. It also includes a member reflection on the development and demonstration of the targeted Essential Element.
Celebration — Celebrating the achievements and completion of the activity by planning a celebration and recognizing the learning that took place and the impact on the members, chapter, campus and community.
SkillsUSA Chapter Excellence Program — Once completed, record the activity in your Chapter Excellence Program online application to ensure your chapter receives recognition and honor for the work it is doing.
The key to a successful SkillsUSA chapter is the ability to recruit and retain members. Recruitment is an ongoing process and should involve as many current members as possible. When starting a new chapter, all it takes is a few interested students to help get the momentum going. When members and advisors focus on the goal of ensuring that every eligible student can be involved in SkillsUSA, it makes recruitment easy.
Make Recruitment FUN!
Set recruitment goals — As a chapter, establish growth goals for the year. Post these goals where all members can see them and celebrate progress.
Educate and guide new members — Create a new member committee to oversee orientation activities. Using a clear-cut plan, the committee will introduce new members
to the chapter and help students quickly become engaged in activities.
Engage all members — Involving the entire chapter in recruitment keeps motivation high and helps all members feel a sense of responsibility toward the health of the chapter. Encourage members to invite other students to attend meetings or events and to be friendly to newcomers.
Give a welcome gift — When students pay SkillsUSA dues, provide a small gift item. Giveaways may include logo T-shirts, water bottles, hats or promotional items. The gift is something tangible that members can hold onto right away. Plus, these items may start conversations about SkillsUSA with other potential members.
Offer top recruiter awards — Reward members for sharing information about SkillsUSA and chapter activities. Track membership recruitment throughout the month or year and reward the top recruiters with prizes such as promotional items, free conference registration or gift cards.
Invite prospects to activities — A specific event, such as a community service activity, is a great way to recruit. People want to belong to an organization with fun and interesting activities. Allow potential recruits to take part in the activity so they can become immediately involved. Ensure information regarding the chapter, its purpose, meeting times and upcoming events is available at all events. Ask potential members to sign-in, so they can be contacted following the event.
Use social media — Social media is free, so use it. Throughout the year, post videos and articles about SkillsUSA and local CTE programs. Include activities, community service and student achievements so potential members see how they can benefit from participation.
Collaborate with others — By actively involving school counselors and administrators in your program, they can experience SkillsUSA firsthand and will become champions for the chapter. Give them SkillsUSA items such as a T-shirts, pens and cups and invite them to events.
Create a display area — Request a hallway bulletin board, display case or other space in the school to promote the SkillsUSA chapter. List the benefits of participation and how to join.
Be sure to include pictures of students involved in local, state and national activities.
Ultimately, membership recruitment is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your technical program to the school and community. Don’t miss this opportunity to expand support for your program.
Many resources are available to strengthen and support your SkillsUSA chapter. Many of these resources are free of charge or included as a benefit of professional membership.
Program of Work Toolkit
The Program of Work Toolkit includes the Program of Work Launch Activity Guide 1, videos and resources to help you implement effective activities. See: www.skillsusa.org/programs/national-program-of-work/.
Framework Integration Toolkit
The Framework Integration Toolkit has everything you need to ensure career readiness for students including videos, lesson plans, experiential activities and more. Join as a professional member to receive access here:
For the latest information on all SkillsUSA programs and activities, visit the national website: www.skillsusa.org.
SkillsUSA Champions Digital Hub
For the latest SkillsUSA success stories to inspire or share how the program changes lives, visit: www.skillsusachampions.org.
Educational Resources – The SkillsUSA Educational Resource Store has products
to assist you in ensuring that students get the most out of their SkillsUSA experience.
For posters, classroom activities, contest coaching guides and more, go to:
SkillsUSA Store – Logo attire helps students feel connected to their organization and having the correct competition attire helps ensure confidence and success. We’ve got you covered from head to toe with hats, polo shirts, work uniforms, blazers, T-shirts and even SkillsUSA socks. Logo water bottles, backpacks, journals and gift items will ensure you look sharp for every event or have the right items for your next presentation. Visit: www.skillsusastore.org.
Programs for SkillsUSA take place on the local, state and national levels. Student members can achieve individual recognition by participating in some national programs, while others honor the entire chapter for its accomplishments. These programs are designed to support the development of SkillsUSA Framework skills, and can be woven into existing classroom curriculum, making them truly integral to instruction.
Chapter Excellence Program
The Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) recognizes achievement as it relates to the integration of the SkillsUSA Framework in Program of Work activities. As a chapter’s yearly action plan, the Program of Work is at the heart of student learning and employability development. By using the Framework as a guide, chapters have a blueprint for creating relevant activities that encourage participation and foster an understanding of the student learning attained during each activity.
SkillsUSA Career Essentials Suite
Career Essentials is a suite of curricular resources including Foundations, Experiences and Assessments. Foun-
dations includes instructor-led classroom lesson plans that help students define the employability skills of the SkillsUSA Framework. Experiences are hybrid project-based learning courses that engage students in implementing their employability skills. Assessments provide an opportunity for students to measure their employability skill development and proficiency.
Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI)
SkillsUSA offers a hands-on, high-energy experience called the Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) for local, district or state leaders that focuses on leadership skill development. This training is held each September in Washington, D.C., and allows members the opportunity to explore the city and learn advocacy skills while discovering their personal leadership potential.
Jump Into STEM!
“Jump into STEM!” provides an opportunity for SkillsUSA members to engage and mentor elementary- and middle-school students in STEM learning while creating an open door to future recruitment into high-school career and technical education programs. The program highlights engaging, hands-on learning provided by current SkillsUSA members for younger students.
One of the greatest benefits of student membership in SkillsUSA is the opportunity to earn scholarships. Students must be active, dues-paid SkillsUSA members to be eligible for scholarships through SkillsUSA or its partners. Scholarships are offered in several areas. Some are based on merit, others are related to financial need and many are presented to the medalists of the SkillsUSA Championships at the state and national levels.
President’s Volunteer Service Award
The President’s Volunteer Service Award is a national honor offered in recognition of sustained community service. The awards program recognizes individuals, families or groups who have achieved a certain standard, measured by the number of hours of volunteer service over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime.
SkillsUSA Week gives state associations, advisors and student members the opportunity to promote CTE and SkillsUSA at the local, state and national levels. SkillsUSA Week is celebrated annually in February during CTE month and resources are provided online.
Student2Student is a national mentoring program that connects SkillsUSA members with younger students to introduce them to careers in STEM. The aim is to encourage younger students to explore future careers and make decisions that will lead to career-readiness skills and productive futures. Resources are available online.
National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC)
National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) is a showcase of career and technical education. More than 16,500 people including students, teachers and business partners participate in the week-long event, which is one of the largest hands-on workforce development events in the world.
The SkillsUSA Championships begin at the local level with contests held in classrooms nationwide. Winners advance through district, regional and state competitions, and only the gold medalists at the state level are eligible to compete in the national event. State and local competitions and conferences are managed by the state associations. In total, SkillsUSA supports more than 10,000 competitive events each year at all levels.
“Activate” is a two-and-a-half-day leadership conference held in conjunction with the National Leadership and Skills Conference each June. It is open to all SkillsUSA student leaders and focuses on developing the following Framework skills: leadership, planning, organization and management and service orientation.
“Leverage” is an intensive, two-and-a-half-day leadership experience held in conjunction with the National Leadership and Skills Conference each June, open to SkillsUSA state officers and designed to develop targeted Framework skills: leadership, communication, job-specific skills.
“Engage” is a two-and-a-half-day professional development training conference held in conjunction with the National Leadership and Skills Conference each June designed to help teachers better understand and use SkillsUSA’s leadership development materials and interactive resources. Engage is focused on developing the following Framework skills: job-specific skills and professional development.
National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Challenge
The national conference pin and T-shirt design challenge is open to all dues-paying student members. The winning designs will become the official pin or T-shirt for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference and will be produced in a limited quantity. One winner each for the pin and T-shirt will be selected.
- Chapter Excellence Program
- Jump into STEM!
- Career Essentials: Experiences
- Career Essentials: Exploratory
- Career Essentials: Fundamental
- Career Essentials: Advanced
- Career Essentials: Adult Learner
- Career Essentials: Assessments
- Student2Student Mentoring
- NLSC Pin and T-shirt Design Challenge
- National Week of Service
- SkillsUSA Week
- Champions Photo Contest
- President’s Volunteer Service Award
- Training Opportunities
- Become an Officer
- SkillsUSA Championships
Now that you have officially established your SkillsUSA chapter, you can register yourself and your students as members: www.skillsusa-register.org/Login.aspx.
The official membership year runs from Aug. 1 through July 31. SkillsUSA national dues for student members are $8 plus state dues, which vary. For instructors, national dues are $20 plus state dues, which vary.
Student members must meet both the state and national deadline of March 1 to be eligible for national competition, serve as voting delegates or national officer candidates.
Why is it important to register yourself as a member of SkillsUSA? Becoming a professional member is one of the best ways you can demonstrate to your students the importance of the organization and the opportunities that membership will provide. As a professional member, you will receive online access to the following as a member benefit when you submit membership with a valid email address. All items are delivered digitally:
- Framework Integration Toolkit
- Program of Work Toolkit
- Jump Into STEM!
- SkillsUSA Championships Toolkit – includes the Technical Standards (Competition Guidelines)
As a special membership incentive, instructors who register at least 15 student members in one technical program plus one or more professionals by Nov. 15 will receive a free SkillsUSA educational resource.
While the national membership deadline is March 1, please note that many state deadlines fall earlier. The complete listing of state dues and deadlines is located here: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/.
For details and step-by-step instructions on registering your members, look for the Quick Start Guide in your Membership Kit or on the SkillsUSA membership site. If you need help or have questions on starting a SkillsUSA chapter, engaging chapter members or discovering strategies to strengthen an existing chapter,
call the SkillsUSA Membership Hotline toll-free: 844-875-4557.
Links and Resources
- Registration Dues and Deadlines
- Membership Form
- Membership Registration Site
- Brochure – Quick Start Guide
- Membership Cards
- Value of Membership
- Guide to Professional Benefits