SkillsUSA is more than just another college club; it is an opportunity for students to showcase their unique talents and technical skills.
SkillsUSA is a national organization for both college and high school students. According to the SkillsUSA webpage, its mission statement is to “empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA improves the quality of the nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of framework skills that include personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics.”
Dixie State University recently brought back its post-secondary chapter in October 2016. The group competes in SkillsUSA championship competitions, showcasing their personal, workplace and technical skills before judges.
“Oftentimes, when you go to the national competition, if you win one of the top three places, you are guaranteed a career in that area,” said Greg Bartholomew, club advisor and assistant professor of education. “Recruiters come from all over the world and hire these students right out of these competitions.”
Chapter Vice President Madison Whitney, a sophomore communication major from West Jordan, said they are looking for new members to take to competitions. State conference will be coming up in April, and there are about 80 categories to compete in, from graphic design and robotics, to nursing, public speaking, woodwork and even nail care. There is also an area called Job Skill Demonstration Open, which is where contestants demonstrate and teach an entry-level skill to a panel of judges. This allows people to take almost any skill they have and enter the competition.
“There’s definitely a lot of openness to anyone in SkillsUSA, which I think is one of the best parts,” Whitney said. “It’s really fitting for anyone.”
Chapter President Chris Harward, a freshman biology major from St. George, said the atmosphere and community at the competitions are very rewarding.
“State competition is such a blast,” Harward said. “You’re having fun, but you’re learning something along the way.”
Another big aspect of SkillsUSA is community service. Whitney has plans to offer students’ services to the community during SkillsUSA Week in the upcoming year.
Whitney is also the SkillsUSA national college/post-secondary treasurer. She has served multiple positions as a Utah state officer and has now stepped up to serve nationally. She and the other national officers work together to build up membership across colleges and universities across the U.S.
“We really prepare students in our organization to become good workers, employable workers that industry leaders are looking for in their companies,” Harward said. “It’s a really good opportunity to get involved and prepare yourself for the workforce.”
If you are interested in joining SkillsUSA in the spring, you can find them on OrgSync or keep an eye out during club rush next semester.