Start a Chapter

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to become a SkillsUSA Advisor. You are starting on a journey that is bound to offer many rewards for you and your students. SkillsUSA members develop into well-rounded people. There are a few basic steps to follow when starting a new chapter. Many of the resources you need can be found right here on the SkillsUSA website while others are available for purchase.

One of the most important things to remember is to help your students to learn an effective planning process for carrying out activities, and to let students take the lead on planning and carrying out your events. They will learn and grow as they carry out their calendar of events.

Checklist for New Chapters

Here are the basic steps to follow to start a new chapter:

  • Obtain a Membership Kit by calling 800-321-8422 or download membership forms and materials for the current school year.
  • Meet with the School Administrator to request permission to start a new program and to gain support for the SkillsUSA chapter (it’s a good idea to have a few brochures on hand to explain program basics and benefits to students, instructors and the school). Our basic brochure, Be a Champion with SkillsUSA covers all the benefits of the program for schools, instructors and students.
  • Contact your state office and request to be placed on the state mailing list. Find out about any upcoming activities or deadlines. If you are starting a new chapter, complete an application for charter.
  • Identify one or more possible SkillsUSA leaders (technical instructors, a career counselor or another interested person within the school) to help with the new chapter.
  • Gain support from other faculty members if you plan to involve students from other training programs
  • Explain SkillsUSA to the Industry Advisory Council that supports your program, and ask for their support and involvement as the chapter develops by serving as guest speakers, contest judges, etc.

Why Start a Chapter

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel. SkillsUSA presents opportunities for leadership development and the application of essential skills. As members, your students will be part of America’s largest association of teachers and students involved in trade, technical and skills service training. SkillsUSA will give you and your students exposure to dynamic resources that will positively influence your school, your community and beyond.

Value for Your Students

For the majority of students, SkillsUSA is the first professional organization they will join. The experiences and knowledge gained provide an excellent platform for career development and success. SkillsUSA also sets the stage for involvement in other professional and service organizations. Advantages include:

  • Teamwork and leadership development
  • Reinforcement of employability skills
  • A nationally recognized contest program
  • Community service opportunities
  • Access to scholarships
  • Networking with potential employers

Value for the Classroom and School

Great teachers are always looking for ways to engage students and build relationships. SkillsUSA provides the tools to do both. As a student-run organization, members feel a sense of empowerment and belonging. SkillsUSA is a motivator for students to put forth their best effort in the classroom, making daily lessons even more relevant to career success. As a SkillsUSA advisor, the activities, projects and contests provide opportunities for you to build stronger relationships with students. Chapter activities and accomplishments can build a positive image for your program and your school. Benefits include:

  • Recognition for the school within the community
  • Opportunities to meet educational standards
  • Development of career technical education (CTE) pathways
  • Improved recruitment and enrollment
  • More graduates equipped with essential skills

Value for you, the teacher

SkillsUSA is centered on industry-based technical standards to keep instruction current and relevant. These standards are required for all SkillsUSA competitions, providing an opportunity for students to demonstrate classroom knowledge via the practical application and assessment of skills within various trade areas. Another benefit is the Professional Development Program (PDP). This guide keeps track of student leadership and work skills to help you equip students with the technical and employability traits required by industry. As a chapter advisor, you will have opportunities for professional development current with industry standards to strengthen your instructional program. Benefits to teachers include:

  • An enhanced technical curriculum
  • Improved class attitudes
  • A way to test and measure student skills
  • Avenues for local industry support
  • Opportunities to showcase CTE pathways
  • Greater administrative support
  • Professional development and networking

Value to Industry

SkillsUSA develops both the technical and employability skills American industry is seeking. Through participation in SkillsUSA, members are better prepared for entry and advancement in their careers. Connections are made between industries looking for skilled professionals and SkillsUSA members possessing the personal attributes and skills to be valuable employees. Industry appreciates that SkillsUSA provides:

  • Programs that meet industry needs
  • More opportunities to prepare students for employment
  • Promotion of specific industries
  • Hands-on application of skills
  • Ways to support local programs and employers

More information about SkillsUSA can be found in this free online training module:

What is SkillsUSA?