National Research Center Data Shows SkillsUSA Members are Learning Essential Skills and Developing Career Plans

New research at public high schools in the United States has been released by the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA) that shows the majority of SkillsUSA members feel they are engaged in relevant coursework that prepares them for higher education or careers.

A study of 15,943 career and technical (CTE) students in Fall 2018 indicates that SkillsUSA members are acquiring significant skills from their career and technical coursework including responsibility (66 percent), work ethic (60 percent), teamwork (59 percent), communication (55 percent) and decision making (43 percent). Nearly half of students (47 percent) cite professionalism as a key trait they have acquired and feel their CTE program has positively influenced their grade point average (53 percent).

Benefits of CTE coursework cited included a better understanding of career plans (58 percent), a better understanding of future education plans (41 percent), help in preparing students academically for a career (36 percent) and fostering a desire to own a business (17 percent).

Of those surveyed, 55 percent plan expect to pursue a career in a technical field, and 40 percent plan to attend a four-year college. In addition, 14 percent plan to attend a technical college and 12 percent said they will attend a community college. About 6 percent plan to enter the military, 4 percent say they will pursue an apprenticeship or other certification and 4 percent will head to work after high school.

SkillsUSA members who were surveyed said participation in the program offered them work-based learning opportunities (37 percent), a chance to compete in competitive skills events (30 percent), community service opportunities (19 percent) professional development activities (13 percent) and a chance to serve as an officer or leader for their chapter (7 percent).

Of those SkillsUSA members surveyed, 58 percent were male and 42 percent female. Of these, 59 percent said they will be first-generation college-bound while 41 percent said they have a parent who attended college. According to the data, about 50 percent of the students are white, followed by 23 percent Latino/Hispanic, 18 percent Black/African-American and 3 percent Asian. The rest were in other categories or preferred not to answer.

Of those SkillsUSA members taking the survey, 72 percent are enrolled in a career and technical program, 24 percent are enrolled in an honors program, 21 percent are currently taking college-credit classes and 19 percent are taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes. The majority of students who were surveyed are A-B students, with 54 percent saying they have a B average while 32 percent report an A average.

NRCCUA partners with SkillsUSA, other student organizations and colleges to offer proprietary research, analysis, and advising services to support decision-making throughout the student lifecycle. They utilize a data science, analytics and research platform called Encoura Data Lab.