SkillsUSA Names Top Three “Models of Excellence” Schools
Winners Highlighted for Application of SkillsUSA Framework in Chapter Programming
Leesburg, Va. — The top three schools in the nation were recognized for excellence in programming in the 2020 SkillsUSA Models of Excellence program. The honors are part of SkillsUSA’s Chapter Excellence Program, in which success is measured by how well students apply career-readiness skills in chapter activities they plan and lead for themselves, including personal responsibility, integrity, teamwork, work ethic and organization. The winning chapters were among 24 national finalists competing through a virtual interview process the week of June 22-26, 2020. The sponsor for this year’s Models of Excellence program was Kreg Tools.
The SkillsUSA chapter at Cheyenne Central High School in Wyoming was recognized in the personal skills component; Kofa High School in Arizona was recognized for workplace skills, and Lynn Vocational Technical Institute in Massachusetts was recognized for their intuitive application of technical skills grounded in academics. Personal skills, workplace skills and technical skills are the three components of the SkillsUSA Framework.
“The SkillsUSA Framework is at the heart of intentional learning and hands-on application of career skills through SkillsUSA involvement,” said Chelle Travis, executive director of SkillsUSA. “We are grateful to Kreg Tools for supporting student empowerment and setting high standards for chapter excellence. Members from these chapters represent future community leaders and a talented network of skilled employees. This is key to SkillsUSA’s goal of graduating 100,000 workforce-ready students each year. We congratulate these chapters for their positive outlook despite the challenges we’ve faced in 2020.”
Students at Cheyenne Central High School shined in the personal skills category by creating and hosting an “Outstanding Alumni” reunion and recognition event. Professionalism was demonstrated in the way members structured the event, created award criteria, gained approval from school administrators, reached out to former alumni, and then hosted a well-organized and impactful event. Seeing the professionalism of current and former members together made for a great evening. Members demonstrated responsibility in raising funds to pay for the event and award plaques, and in their efforts to encourage alumni to register as members. Hosting a seminar to strengthen their application of Essential Elements added to the event. Adaptability/flexibility was required in their use of social media to contact alumni, in adapting event details based on responses, in coordinating catering, gifts and awards, and in meeting timelines as the event was finalized. The chapter advisor is Brian Stevenson.
Kofa High School topped the workplace skills component for participating in a chamber of commerce mixer, creating unique charcuterie boards as table decorations, and facilitating follow-up site visits to promote career and technical education (CTE), SkillsUSA and business partnerships. Communication skills shined during member presentations to a crowd of more than 200, in networking skills demonstrated during the mixer, and in the ability of students to articulate the value of CTE and SkillsUSA during site visits. Teamwork was evident in the cooperation shown in creating centerpieces, and in taking a team approach to working with the industry partners for the benefit of the whole chapter. Student leadership was apparent in every aspect of the presentations, in organizing and facilitating site visits, and in proactively seeking new business partners for CTE programs. The chapter advisor is Brad Graham.
Technical Skills Grounded in Academics
The is the second year that Lynn Vocational Technical Institute has won the technical skills category. This year, the chapter was commended for supporting children with social and emotional learning (SEL) needs by creating “calm down kits.” Members presented school-wide SEL workshops and enlisted the support of more than 500 students to create 25 kits for reducing stress and improving classroom participation. Health and safety was a cornerstone of this project as members learned more about SEL, educated others about it, and prepared kits with specific SEL-oriented items. Members embraced service orientation by leading an experiential service project that allowed them to use their newfound knowledge about SEL, while also giving back to younger students in the community. Students used professional development to create and facilitate workshops with their peers, which provided a better understanding of SEL needs. They also created a survey, permission slip and promotional materials to engage student volunteerism and participation. The chapter advisor is Jason McCuish.
To be selected as Model of Excellence, each chapter first achieved SkillsUSA “Gold Chapter” status through an application process. A committee then identified the top eight chapters nationally for each SkillsUSA Framework component, resulting in 24 finalists.
The SkillsUSA Framework defines specific characteristics within each skill area — personal, workplace and technical — to help ensure tangible benchmarks for student achievement. This intentional learning actualizes the SkillsUSA mission of empowering members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal and workplace skills along with technical skills grounded in academics. This SkillsUSA Framework empowers every student to succeed at work and in life, while helping to close the skills gap in which millions of positions go unfilled. Through SkillsUSA’s championships program and curricula, employers have long ensured schools are teaching relevant technical skills, and with SkillsUSA’s new credentialing process, they can now assess how ready potential employees are for the job. SkillsUSA has more than 372,000 annual paid members nationwide in high schools, colleges and middle schools, covering over 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education. With the addition of our alumni, membership is 434,141. We have served nearly 14 million members since 1965. For more information: www.skillsusa.org.