SkillsUSA Names Top Three Chapters in Models of Excellence Program

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Winners Highlighted for Application of SkillsUSA Framework in Chapter Programming

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Students from quality chapters represent future community leaders, and this is key to SkillsUSA’s goal of graduating 100,000 workforce-ready students each year

SkillsUSA recently named its top three chapters in the 2019 Models of Excellence program. Chapters at Norwalk High School in California, Geary High School in Oklahoma and Lynn Vocational Technical Institute in Massachusetts triumphed for their effective application of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics as the three components of the SkillsUSA Framework. The Norwalk chapter was recognized in the personal skills component, Geary in workplace skills and Lynn Vocational Technical Institute in technical skills.

The 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, teamwork, work ethic and organization. The winning chapters were among 24 national finalists competing at the 2019 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., June 25-28.

“The SkillsUSA Framework is at the core of learning for our organization. These chapters have done an exemplary job of using skills to optimize learning while improving the lives of others,” explained Timothy W. Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA. “Students from 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 members for their initiative and thank their advisors for their dedication.”

The SkillsUSA partners for this year’s MOE program were apprenticeship.gov and Crescent Tools, a hand tool brand from Apex Tool Group.

Personal Skills
Students at Norwalk High School (Calif.) shined in the personal skills category by spearheading a schoolwide energy conservation campaign. Members demonstrated responsibility by supporting energy conservation at their high school through awareness and promotion of good habits via classroom visits and ongoing written and verbal communication. Members were self-motivated in holding teachers and classmates accountable in their efforts. Frequent reminders and encouragement were required to change behavior, and students persisted. They also monitored energy use to track tangible results. Adaptability and flexibility were essential as students varied presentations based on teacher schedules and encouraged goals by using fliers, e-mails and incentives. By the end of the three-week campaign, the chapter achieved a 10% decrease in energy use and noticed a marked change in energy habits among peers and teachers. The chapter advisor is Tracy Horton.

Workplace Skills
Geary High School (Okla.) topped the workplace skills component for the chapter’s professional production, management and sales of CNC-lasered SkillsUSA metal tumblers. The chapter engineered the tumblers to sell as promotional items while maintaining cost effectiveness and adhering to SkillsUSA brand standards. Computer and technology literacy proved integral to the quality control process in ensuring CNC engraving matched branding standards perfectly and consistently. Job-specific skills were applied individually and in teams as specific steps were developed for prep, production, cleaning, packaging and delivery. Students also learned process improvement and leadership in meeting timelines and supplying quality products at a reasonable price. Service orientation was evident in how students applied outstanding customer service, resulting in increased demand as students collaborated on the production process, simulating a cooperative and support workplace. The chapter advisor is Cody McPherson.

Technical Skills Grounded in Academics
SkillsUSA members from Lynn Vocational Technical Institute (Mass.) engaged technical skills while promoting literacy by writing and producing a children’s book focused on trade careers. Entitled Tech Goes to Tiger Town, the story centers on the school mascot who ventures out of the jungle to a local vocational school to learn about career options. Students gained computer and technology literacy by learning computer-based programs to design, author and publish the book. By sharing the book with others in the classroom and through a book launch, students gained job-specific skills such as networking, writing press releases and hosting social events. The book educates others about career technical education, so students also learned the influence of service orientation and what it means to create something powerful and lasting to be enjoyed for generations. The chapter advisor is Jason McCuish, who was also named SkillsUSA 2019 Advisor of the Year.

To be selected as Model of Excellence, 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.

About SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal and workplace skills along with technical skills grounded in academics. This SkillsUSA Framework empowers every student to succeed at work and in life, while helping to close the “skills gap” in which millions of positions go unfilled. Through SkillsUSA’s championships program and curricula, employers have long ensured schools are teaching relevant technical skills, and with SkillsUSA’s new credentialing process, they can now assess how ready potential employees are for the job. SkillsUSA has more than 360,000 annual members nationwide in high schools, colleges and middle schools, covering over 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education. For more information: http://www.skillsusa.org

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Jane DeShong Short
SkillsUSA
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