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October 12, 2018

The Best Way to Build a Successful SkillsUSA Chapter

SkillsUSA’s Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) recognizes your achievement in integrating the SkillsUSA Framework in chapter activities related to the program of work. As a chapter’s yearly action plan, the SkillsUSA program of work is at the heart of student learning and employability development. By using our framework as a guide, chapters have a blueprint for creating relevant activities that encourage participation and help students understand what they’re learning.


The SkillsUSA Framework’s focus on intentional learning turns the program of work into more than just a planning tool. Using the framework, the program of work becomes the vital conduit that links students to the application of personal, workplace and technical skills demanded by industry — the SkillsUSA trifecta for student success.


Within the personal, workplace and technical skills areas, there are specific Essential Elements tied to each. The Essential Elements are high-demand employability skills as defined by industry, and the benchmark for measuring student success during an activity. For example, if students learn the Essential Element of responsibility during a personal skills activity, the SkillsUSA Framework requires that a chapter be specific regarding the how and why students learned responsibility. This conscientious approach gives added meaning to the valuable experience students gain in while planning, organizing and implementing activities. Most importantly, this approach actualizes SkillsUSA’s mission to “empower members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens” on the chapter level.


Every chapter is encouraged to participate in CEP, and there are three award levels to recognize program involvement. The first two levels are acknowledged by a chapter’s state SkillsUSA association, and the third level is recognized nationally through Models of Excellence. Each level is designed to give chapters a benchmark for success and future improvement, leading to stronger chapters and better prepared students. The more a chapter applies the SkillsUSA Framework, the greater the chance for CEP honors.


Everything you need to know about implementing the CEP can be found here: https://www.skillsusa.org/programs/chapter-excellence-program/ . Additional help is only a phone call or email away: 844-875-4557 or operators@skillsusa.org.


Start Your CEP Application Today

Start your Chapter Excellence Program application today and begin to earn recognition for your chapter! The online application is on the main page of the membership registration site once you have logged into your school account (www.skillsusa-register.org/Login.aspx).


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: https://read.nxtbook.com/mercury/skillsusa/champions_fall_2018/fall_2018_cover.html


A lesson plan for the Fall issue can be downloaded from the SkillsUSA home page or directly at: https://www.skillsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Lesson-Plan-Fall-2018.pdf

The lesson plan includes guided-reading questions and activities to help students apply the articles to their SkillsUSA experience. Have students check out the story below, “A Drive for More,” included in this issue of the magazine and discover how Edwin Maxcy has overcome multiple obstacles by remaining adaptable and flexible in adverse conditions.


“A Drive for More”

Content Discussion Questions

  1. What amazes you most about Edwin Maxcy’s story?
  2. How do you describe the American dream?
  3. What helps you overcome obstacles and barriers at home? In school? In SkillsUSA? In the workplace?
  4. When do you go above and beyond at home? In school? In SkillsUSA? In the workplace


In-Class Activity, 15 minutes

Workplace Skills: Adaptability/Flexibility, Understand that multiple solutions will accomplish the same goal

Materials needed: PVC pipes (three 2-foot-long pieces per small group)

and marbles (one per small group)

Prior to the session, mark a starting line and a finish line. Divide students into groups of four or five. Give these instructions:

  1. Your group must get a marble from the starting line to the finish line.
  2. The marble may not be exposed to daylight.
  3. Only the team leader can touch the marble at the start line.
  4. Marbles cannot touch the floor.
  5. You may not throw the marbles.
  6. Team members may not move their feet if there is a marble in their tube.
  7. If a marble is dropped or touched, your team must start again.
  8. What questions do you have?


Allow several minutes for the challenge. Then facilitate a discussion by asking questions including:

  • What was challenging about this activity?
  • What methods worked for moving the marble?
  • What methods did not work for moving the marble?
  • When do you demonstrate adaptability and flexibility at home? In school? In SkillsUSA? In the workplace?


Extended Learning Activity

Workplace Skills: Multicultural Sensitivity, Empower everyone equally

Share a quote from 1931 by James Truslow Adams regarding the American dream. “The American dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” Discuss the quote in small groups and then with the entire class.


Need Help with Your Chapter or Registering Members?
Call the SkillsUSA Membership Hotline Toll Free: 844-875-4557

Hotline operators are ready to answer your questions on how to start a new chapter, engage chapter members and strengthen an existing chapter — you name it, they are ready to tackle it! Operators are on call from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday and Thursday. Don’t have time to call? Send the operators an email at operators@skillsusa.org or chat with them online at the membership registration site!