What is SkillsUSA?
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student to excel. SkillsUSA is a national organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations and for further education. SkillsUSA was formerly known as VICA (the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America).
More than 300,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA annually, organized into more than 17,000 sections and 52 state and territorial associations. Combining alumni and lifetime membership, the total number impacted this year is more than 335,000. SkillsUSA has served more than 12 million members since its founding in 1965.
SkillsUSA’s mission is to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA is an applied method of instruction for preparing America’s high performance workers in public career and technical programs. It provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills. It emphasizes total quality at work—high ethical standards, superior work skills, life-long education, and pride in the dignity of work. SkillsUSA also promotes understanding of the free-enterprise system and involvement in community service.
In 2013, more than 16,000 teachers and school administrators served as professional SkillsUSA members and advisors. More than 600 business, industry and labor sponsors actively support SkillsUSA at the national level through financial aid, in-kind contributions, and involvement of their people in SkillsUSA activities. Many more work directly with state associations and local chapters.
SkillsUSA programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills. At the annual national-level SkillsUSA Championships, nearly 6,000 students compete in 99 occupational and leadership skill areas. SkillsUSA programs also help to establish industry standards for job skill training in the lab and classroom, and promote community service. SkillsUSA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and is cited as a “successful model of employer-driven youth development training program” by the U.S. Department of Labor. The SkillsUSA Work Force Ready System is a comprehensive tool to help students document entry-level skills as defined by industry and accepted by state education policy. Developed under a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, the Work Force Ready System features 47 industry-driven assessments. The Professional Development Program (PDP) teaches 84 workplace skill competencies in a series of hands-on self-paced lessons. The Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) contains 49 online lessons teaching basic employment and life skills to college/postsecondary students. Student2Student Mentoring gives high school students a chance to mentor younger students in the area of career development. CareerSafe is a credentialed 10-hour online training program developed in cooperation with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide students with basic knowledge of safety and a credential desired in the job market.