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Middle School

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’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. Serving as 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.

Key philosophies that SkillsUSA embodies

  • SkillsUSA believes that every student
    has value and purpose. Our goal is to connect every student we serve to meaningful career opportunities that
    can lead to economic security.
  • SkillsUSA exists to prepare career-ready students. There are many additional benefits from active participation in SkillsUSA that often define why students join. However, when graduates can provide for themselves, they have the freedom to live the life they choose.
  • SkillsUSA is a student-led and advisor-facilitated organization. This is important to know and really understand. The student should work the hardest in accomplishing student and chapter goals. To develop the employability and technical skills needed in the workplace, students must do the leading, planning and the implementation work. The advisor serves as a supervisor to guide and provide feedback when needed, to keep the students safe and to reinforce the transferable skills for the student’s success. The student does the work and is able to unpack any failures for growth and celebrate successes. Learning by doing is the key. There may be a few mistakes along the way, but better for the students to learn from the projects and work they do than to do it perfectly the first time.

This SkillsUSA philosophy guides the resources provided to advisors. Take time to think about why you enjoy being an advisor and focus on the development of students so that they can be the future of our workforce, our communities and our country. This is enormously important work, and you are up for it. SkillsUSA is your partner in the pursuit of student and chapter success.

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Interest in SkillsUSA is growing rapidly in the middle-school community, and activities at the middle-school level have been proven to be very successful. A Guide to SkillsUSA in Middle Schools has been developed to assist middle-school teachers and students.

Connect with your state director first to determine if your state is accepting middle school membership.

Middle School Contests

Team Engineering Challenge
This contest is designed to evaluate and to recognize outstanding students for excellence and professionalism in the areas of creative and critical thinking skills and the decision-making process while solving a problem. The contest is intended to foster creativity, innovation, teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Opening and Closing Ceremonies
This is a teamwork and oral presentation contest that evaluates teams’ understanding of the symbolic representation of the colors and assembled parts of the SkillsUSA emblem. Each team includes seven registered members in the roles of president, vice president, parliamentarian, reporter, treasurer, secretary and historian. The contest is a demonstration of the SkillsUSA Opening and Closing Ceremonies conducted according to the script and description as printed in the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards.

Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue
This contest evaluates team members’ skills and preparation for employment in fields related to and including robotics, engineering, automation, manufacturing, electronics and emergency services. It recognizes outstanding performance by participants in scenarios that require problem solving and teamwork in a real-world situation. The RoboRescue Challenge is open to active SkillsUSA members who are associated with computer science, computer programming or robotics.

About the SkillsUSA Championships

The SkillsUSA Championships begin at the local level with contests in classrooms nationwide. Winners advance through district, regional and state competition, and only the best make it to the national event. State and local competitions and conferences are managed at the state level, not by the national organization. Students benefit no matter how they place in their contests. The philosophy of the championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs. Students test their skills, frequently make job contacts, and have a chance for recognition. State and national winners receive gold, silver and bronze medallions, scholarships, tools and other awards.

The SkillsUSA Championships event takes place annually and requires more than 1 million square feet of floor space, with more than 6,500 competitors in 106 different events. Business and industry contributes more than $36 million in equipment, supplies and personnel to support the SkillsUSA Championships, which is considered the largest single-day commitment of corporate volunteerism in America. The SkillsUSA Championships brings together industry and labor representatives, educators and the public to watch students compete in leadership and hands-on skill events for a full day. Every other year, a select few are chosen to compete on an international level in the WorldSkills Competition.

The SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards is the official competition guide for the SkillsUSA Championships. It contains rules for all national events, including an overview, lists of technical skills and knowledge required, clothing requirements, eligibility and equipment lists. It also lists the embedded academic skills in math, English and science. Rules for state and local events may vary from the national guidelines, but most competitive events are modeled after the national technical standards. As a free member benefit, SkillsUSA professional members receive the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards when they have submitted a current and accurate email address along with their membership details. The SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards is available online only to professional members as part of their paid membership.