SkillsUSA Leaders Advocate — and Celebrate — During SkillsUSA Week

Published: February 14, 2023
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National officers visit the nation’s capital on a mission while executive director Chelle Travis connects with student leaders.

SkillsUSA national officers visited Washington, D.C., for SkillsUSA Week on Feb. 9 to advocate for career and technical education (CTE) and SkillsUSA. The elected student leaders — Laney Blacketer (Mo.), Hunter Claflin (Mass.), Katahdin Javner (Maine), Joseph Price (Ga.), Grace Smith (Wash.), Lili Valencia (Ariz.) and Abby Vandiver (Okla.) — visited the U.S. Department of Education to meet with Assistant Secretary Amy Loyd and select OCTAE staff to discuss how SkillsUSA programming aligns with federal priorities. They also shared the new SkillsUSA Advantage” report that highlights positive student outcomes from participation in the organization. Next, the group met with each of their respective state senators at the U.S. Capitol, including the office of Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.). In addition, the entire group met with new House CTE Caucus co-chair Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.). During the visits, the officers continued sharing the benefits of SkillsUSA participation. On Feb. 10, the national officers celebrated a successful SkillsUSA Week by hosting a virtual breakfast for the SkillsUSA staff followed by a lunch outing at Top Golf for staff in the Washington, D.C., area. Wrapping up the week, the officers participated in leadership training with their team leaders. Meanwhile, SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis celebrated SkillsUSA Week by visiting Tractor Supply Company (TSC) headquarters in Tennessee to receive a check for the TSC/Carhartt “Support the Trades” campaign. Later in the week, Travis traveled to Haverhill, Mass., where she met with student leaders from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School to discuss their SkillsUSA Framework stories. During her visit, Travis also toured the school and watched a demonstration from their marketing and culinary students. Later, she visited SkillsUSA Massachusetts’ “Student Adventures in Leadership” (SAiL) conference in Foxborough, where she spoke to the SkillsUSA graduates and program completers in attendance. “SkillsUSA Week is one of the most important weeks of the year,” Chelle Travis explained. “Building more awareness of SkillsUSA is crucial as we prepare to deliver a quality, diverse talent pipeline of over 100,000 students a year who are career ready, day one.” SkillsUSA members in chapters nationwide celebrated SkillsUSA Week by hosting their own local activities:
  • On Monday, Feb. 6, Recognition Day, members honored the advisors, administrators, business partners, community leaders and other supporters who make an impact on their local chapters.
  • On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Give-Back Day, students rallied around their schools and communities through service activities.
  • On Wednesday, Feb. 8, Partner Day, chapters connected with local business and industry leaders to highlight the importance of career-readiness skills.
  • On Thursday, Feb. 9, Advocacy Day, members amplified career and technical education in their communities by holding open houses and making presentations to community leaders.
  • On Friday, Feb. 10, SkillsUSA Day, chapters celebrated by wearing their favorite SkillsUSA shirts and hosting a fun member activity to conclude the week.
To see photos from SkillsUSA Week, visit our Flickr album. Look for more coverage on SkillsUSA Week soon. In the meantime, members can still share SkillsUSA Week stories on social media using the hashtag #SkillsUSAWeek. You can also submit stories and photos to the SkillsUSA staff any time. We’d love to feature you or your chapter to the rest of SkillsUSA Nation!

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