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October 19, 2018

SkillsUSA and Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Team Up To Support Outstanding Skilled Trades Students and Chapters

SkillsUSA has partnered with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools on a new grant opportunity for SkillsUSA chapters. Eligible programs can receive up to $5,000 to strengthen their local SkillsUSA chapter. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 15, 2018, and grant recipients will be announced Dec. 1, 2018. The grants are intended for SkillsUSA chapters established within the past three years that serve students enrolled in one of 29 construction, transportation or manufacturing occupational programs or contests.

To apply, chapters must complete an electronic application and explain how they will use the grant to improve the SkillsUSA program at their school. Applications will be evaluated based on proposed plans, community partnerships and sustainability of program improvements. Schools with 75 percent or more of their enrolled students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches are encouraged to apply. Grant recipients will be required to complete an evaluation of their implementation during the 2018-19 school year, sign photography/video waivers and provide photos of students and teachers participating in activities funded by the grant.

Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, said, “Harbor Freight Tools for Schools could not be prouder to support excellence in high school skilled trades education through this partnership with SkillsUSA. The outstanding students, advisors and mentors of the SkillsUSA community demonstrate the great promise of the trades as a course of study and career.” SkillsUSA executive director Timothy Lawrence added, “Partnerships like these expand opportunities for our members and strengthen relationships between education and industry. SkillsUSA is thrilled to partner with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools on this program, which supports the growth of SkillsUSA chapters across the nation.”

The grant opportunity is available to high schools with SkillsUSA chapters established after July 1, 2015, in trade areas that align with the following SkillsUSA Championships competitions:

  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Architectural Drafting
  • Automotive Refinishing Technology
  • Automotive Service Technology
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology
  • Cabinetmaking
  • Carpentry
  • CNC Milling Technology
  • CNC Technician
  • CNC Turning Technology
  • Collision Repair Technology
  • Electrical Construction Wiring
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR)
  • Industrial Motor Control
  • Major Appliance and Refrigeration Technology
  • Masonry
  • Mechatronics
  • Plumbing
  • Residential Systems Installation and Maintenance
  • Sheet Metal
  • TeamWorks
  • Welding
  • Welding Fabrication
  • Welding Sculpture

Grant restrictions: The grant may not be used for the purchase of tools, hardware, electronics or related items or accessories including automotive and motorcycle supplies or accessories, engines and generators, garage and machinery equipment or accessories, lawn and garden equipment, welding equipment or accessories, or material handling equipment and supplies.

To complete the grant application, go to:

For more information, email Cathy Arrington at

Use These Tools to Make Recruitment Efforts Count

The key to a successful chapter is the ability to recruit and retain members. Recruitment is an ongoing process and should involve as many current members as possible. If you are starting a new chapter, all it takes is a few interested students to help get the momentum going. When members and advisors focus on the goal of ensuring that every eligible student has the opportunity to be involved in SkillsUSA, it makes recruitment easy. Many tools are available to help:

  • The heavy lifting has already been done for you. Check out the top 10 recruitment ideas that are tried and true from experienced SkillsUSA advisors, found in the Membership Recruitment Ideas document.
  • Have students take the lead by personalizing the Meeting Promotional Fliers with information specific to your chapter and then hanging the fliers around the school. Encourage students to talk with other students and teachers about the benefits of SkillsUSA as they travel around the campus.
  • Using the posters from the Membership Kit, create a bulletin board in a prominent location in the school. Get a few of your members involved. They will have an incredible time working together and create something that will have an impact on membership recruitment. Incorporate the SkillsUSA theme for the 2018-2019 year into your recruitment activities: SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, Career-Ready Starts Here.
  • Using SkillsUSA’s Brand Center will guarantee that you create a strong visual identity within the school. The interactive website makes it easy for members to download existing SkillsUSA logos (national, state and slogan art) as well as the SkillsUSA Framework art. Another function allows local members to create their own personalized SkillsUSA logo with the name of the chapter. Members will be asked to register when first visiting the site, which enables them to save specific sections as favorites. This will be a unique login and password and is not tied to our registration system. Learn more at:
  • Capture students’ attention with the Kickoff Video and Student Message by SkillsUSA Executive Director Tim Lawrence. Post these on social media or your campus website. Seek creative ways to get the word out about SkillsUSA.
  • Hold a membership recruitment drive. Create incentives for students to join, including door prizes, drawings and special snacks. It is amazing what motivates students, so consider putting together a committee to organize and run the membership recruitment drive. Their ingenuity and excitement for SkillsUSA will quickly spread.
  • Use the SkillsUSA PowerPoint during class to introduce students to the organization or during an open house when parents are present. If possible, have parents and students seated and present the PowerPoint to them. An extra bonus is to have SkillsUSA members present selected slides or give short testimonials on why they benefit from being involved in SkillsUSA. For additional ideas, check out the Ideas for Using the SkillsUSA PowerPoint.

Ultimately, membership recruitment is an opportunity to showcase your CTE program to the school and community. Don’t miss the opportunity!

Register by Nov. 15 to Receive These Membership Incentives

Why is it important to register yourself as a professional member of SkillsUSA? Becoming a professional member of SkillsUSA is one of the best ways you can demonstrate to your students the importance of the organization and the opportunities that membership will provide. As a professional member, you will receive online access to the following: 2019 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards, Jump into STEM! curriculum and SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Foundations.

SkillsUSA professional members, as a no-cost member benefit, receive the aforementioned items when they have submitted a current and accurate email address along with their membership details. The 2019 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards is available online to professional members as part of their paid membership. Once membership has been submitted, an email will be sent to the address on file which will include a pin number to access the items electronically.

As a special membership incentive, register at least 15 student members in your training program plus one or more professionals by Nov. 15, and you will receive a free educational resource item, The Four Pillars: Your Personal Leadership Journey (value $4.95). Instructors who register with 100-percent membership plus one or more professionals will also receive a SkillsUSA Program of Work calendar (value: $5.95).

For more details on these incentives, see the membership kits or visit the SkillsUSA website: or you can begin to register yourself and your students at:

Fall is in the Air! New Issue of SkillsUSA Champions Magazine

A new issue devoted to SkillsUSA champions recently mailed in hard copy to chapter advisors and professional members. Using their electronic devices, student members can access the issue in responsive digital format at this link:

A lesson plan for the Fall issue can be downloaded from the SkillsUSA home page or directly at:

Please direct students and supporters to the digital edition of the magazine. In addition to the news and motivational content in the print issue, the digital edition includes related videos, student presentations, direct links to external resources and other dynamic material.

A former SkillsUSA national officer and lifetime alumni member wrote last week, “This might be the best edition of SkillsUSA Champions I have ever seen or read. What a good compilation of information, pictures and events. It really shows off the organization, what it has accomplished and students preparing for real work.”

The fall issue always focuses on the best of SkillsUSA and the promise of membership, and it can be helpful in recruitment. The latest edition includes articles about successful members and alumni who are “paying it forward,” and they come from Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, Delaware, New Jersey, Colorado and Illinois.