SkillsUSA Names Top Three “Models of Excellence” Schools

SkillsUSA Names Top Three “Models of Excellence” Schools

Winners Highlighted for Application of SkillsUSA Framework in Chapter Programming

Leesburg, Va. — SkillsUSA recently named its top three local chapters in the 2018 Models of Excellence program. Chapters at Union Grove High School in Georgia, Catawba Valley Community College in North Carolina, and Willow Canyon High School in Arizona triumphed for applying in their activities the personal, workplace or technical skills that are components of the SkillsUSA Framework.

The Union Grove chapter was first in the personal skills component, Catawba Valley in workplace skills and Willow Canyon in technical skills grounded in academics.

These honors are part of SkillsUSA’s Chapter Excellence Program, in which success is measured by how well students apply essential workplace-readiness skills including personal responsibility, integrity, work ethic and organization.

The winning chapters were among 24 national finalists competing at the 2018 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., June 25-19.

“The SkillsUSA Framework is the core of our organization, and these chapters serve as a model to strengthen local programs,” explained Timothy W. Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA. “We are grateful to Lowe’s for supporting the advancement of the SkillsUSA Framework in defining chapter excellence. Students influenced by quality chapters represent future community leaders, and this is key to SkillsUSA’s goal of graduating 100,000 workforce-ready students each year. We applaud these SkillsUSA members for their initiative and thank the instructors for their extraordinary commitment to changing student lives.”

Personal Skills

In McDonough, Ga., Union Grove High School members excelled in personal skills by assisting a local elementary school with an annual holiday fundraiser for new playground equipment for students with disabilities. The SkillsUSA Framework skills of responsibility, adaptability and flexibility, and self-motivation were used as members volunteered to help organize the event, create activity stations and facilitate the sold-out “Jingle Jam.” Students displayed responsibility in their willingness to sign up for different jobs, run assigned activities and follow up on important items before and after the event. Adaptability and flexibility were exhibited in students’ initiative to dedicate after-school hours to prepare and assist each other to keep the event on track while making it entertaining for attendees. Members showed self-motivation by coordinating meetings with the school’s principal, planning age-appropriate activities and supporting elementary staff. Chapter representatives included members Connor Joyce and Wesley Simpson. Their advisor is Amanda McClure.

Workplace Skills

Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, N.C., topped the workplace skills component for its communitywide gathering honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and local African-Americans. Students capitalized on the SkillsUSA Framework skills of communication, teamwork, and multicultural sensitivity and awareness by partnering with the campus multicultural affairs office to coordinate speakers, presentations, exhibits, volunteers and event logistics for a “The Dream is Still Alive” celebration. In addition, members honored 23 African-Americans from the 1964 Ridgeview football team, known as the “Untouchables,” by machining custom bronze medallions and presenting them to players at the event. Members honed communication skills during chapter meetings and at meetings with other participating groups as well as community leaders. Teamwork was demonstrated in event preparation. Part of the team handled speakers, some worked on exhibits and logistics, and others created the medallions. Multicultural sensitivity and awareness defined the event from start to finish, with members learning more about civil rights within their own community and in hosting a record-breaking 500 people at the event. Chapter advisor Tammy Muller and members Tyler Brown and Chad Ledford represented the chapter. 

Technical Skills Grounded in Academics

SkillsUSA members from Willow Canyon High School in Surprise, Ariz., were commended for demonstrating their sports broadcasting proficiencies and application. Members excelled in the SkillsUSA Framework skills of computer and technology literacy, job-specific skills and professional development by successfully broadcasting football, basketball and baseball games during the 2017-18 school year. The broadcasts included live-streaming as well as commentary with postgame viewing on YouTube. Members gained computer and technology literacy by using industry-standard broadcasting equipment and by overcoming challenges to maintain broadcasts without interruption. Job-specific skills were engaged as members assumed roles such as directing, cinematography and commentary, and in the practice of using relevant technology and following safety protocols. Professional development was achieved through practical experience in game-day preparation, venue logistics and maintaining professional demeanor on the job. Chapter advisor Amy McTague and members Patty Arban and Trevor Tuttle were representatives.

All finalists completed interviews and participated in activities alongside sponsor Lowe’s while at national conference in Louisville. This included an awards dinner. To be selected, each chapter had to achieve 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.

All 24 chapter finalists received a grant up to $4,000 from Lowe’s to support SkillsUSA programming. Lowe’s was official sponsor of the 2018 program. Recognized at the 2018 Models of Excellence dinner at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference were these 24 schools:

Personal Skills

Dorchester Career and Technology Center (Md.)

Durango High School (Colo.)

Franklin Technology Center (Mo.)

Grovetown High School (Ga.)

Lynn Vocational Technical Institute (Mass.)

Sandy Creek High School (Ga.)

Tennessee College of Applied Technology (Tenn.)

Union Grove High School (Ga.)

Technical Skills

A&M Consolidated High School (Texas)

Autry Technology Center (Okla.)

College Station High School (Texas)

Cross Keys High School (Ga.)

Gordon Cooper Technology Center (Okla.)

Greater Lowell Technology Center (Mass.)

Thomas Jefferson High School (Colo.)

Willow Canyon High School (Ariz.)

Workplace Skills

Cambridge High School (Ga.)

Catawba Valley Community College (N.C.)

Centauri High School (Colo.)

Gloucester County Institute of Technology (N.J.)

Norwalk High School (Calif.)

Southampton High School (Va.)

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College (Ga.)

Woodland High School (Wash.) 

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 360,000-member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to: www.SkillsUSA.org.

For more information about SkillsUSA:

Jane A. DeShong Short, Program Manager
Public Relations/Communications
Phone: 703-737-0612

Karen Kitzel, Program Manager
Public Relations/Communications
Phone: 703-737-0607