As 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 on the SkillsUSA website, while others are available for purchase.
One of the most important things to remember is to help your students 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.
NEW CHAPTER CHECKLIST
- Obtain a Membership Kit 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).
- 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.
Growing Your Chapter
Stir up student interest in the new chapter
- Invite students from another school or state officers to speak to the training programs about SkillsUSA.
- Hold a kick off event and be sure to make the meeting fun.
Establish a student leadership structure
- Elect classroom officers.
- Elect school-wide officers, if your chapter is school-wide.
- Form committees to help with the program of work.
Integrate SkillsUSA activities into ongoing classroom activities and lessons
- This aspect of the program should be teacher driven. Use the Career Skills Education Program (for college/postsecondary students) to teach employability skills. You can teach the whole program or select activities and competencies that fit best with your curriculum.
Collect membership dues and submit dues and membership forms to the national office
- Establish a bank account for the chapter.
- Complete and submit SkillsUSA membership forms.
- Help students decide how to pay for membership (Do individuals pay, can the school help, or will you hold a fundraiser to pay the annual member dues for the chapter?).
Prepare students for competition in the SkillsUSA Championships
- Determine if you will have a local (school) contest. If so, determine and announce the rules, the date and any awards; invite industry advisory council members to help plan the event, conduct contests and serve as judges.
- Complete registrations for students to move on to regional events, state events and national events, as appropriate.
- Help students prepare for any events they enter (click here for a list of national contests).
- Consider leadership events as well as technical skill competitions.
- Keep on top of the latest contest updates.
- Close out the year with a chapter appreciation banquet to recognize those who helped you during the year. Invite your school administrators or parents, if possible.
Review all activities and see how they can be improved. Begin planning for next year.
Developing a Program of Work
Activities should be student-driven with support and help from the advisor. See the SkillsUSA Leadership Handbook for details on how to set up and run the chapter. Your committees should be student-led; they will plan and carry out the work of the chapter in the following seven areas. Conduct at least one activity in each area during the course of the school year:
- Professional Development
- Ways and Means
- SkillsUSA Championships
- Public Relations
- Social Activities
- Keys to Developing Your Chapter:
- Community Service
Explore the modules below to learn how you can better develop your local chapter.
- Steps to Start Your Chapter
- Conduct a Membership Drive
- Holding Effective Chapter Meetings
- Conducting Officer Elections
- Developing a Successful Program of Work
- Leadership Development
- Community Service
- Championships (Competition)
- Forming an Advisory Committee
- Self Evaluation and Action Planning