SkillsUSA Shares Year Plan at First Meeting


Students listen to the SkillsUSA presentation. Photo courtesy of Aarushi Machavarapu ’19.

As the rush of the first week dies down, SkillsUSA obtained a head start on preparing for competition season by holding their first club meeting on Aug. 31.

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit Career and Technical Education (CTE) organization, which pushes students with technical skills to prepare for the workforce. Students can showcase their skills through competing in their respective career clusters as well as pursuing various leadership roles throughout the community. Contests include 3-D animation, architecture, computer programming, graphic design, interior designing, leadership, robotics, and web design. Westwood SkillsUSA allows students to participate in around 50 of the available 100 competitions. SkillsUSA does not reflect students’ academic performances, but instead strives to help students achieve professional readiness.

“There are so many options of competitions to choose from that you can explore a variety of career fields and find the one that truly ignites your passion,” State Secretary Janice Oh ’19 said.

Leadership opportunities include running for various office positions across the district, state and nation. This year, the chapter is proud to boast eight school (chapter) officers, three district officers, and two state officers. Over the summer, all of the chapter’s SkillsUSA officers organized and planned for many of the events leading up to competition date including a handful of possible community service and fundraising events like working the UT football games along with DECA members.

SkillsUSA collects donations for Hurricane Harvey. Photo courtesy of Phoenix Wang ’18.

“Being an officer is really great just talking to people about what kinds of things they’re looking for out of SkillsUSA, especially what kind of career they’re looking for,” Oh said. “Making people more interested in SkillsUSA, developing that passion, [and] being the start of that really warms up my heart when I see that they actually do end up loving SkillsUSA in the end. This year our chapter is [also] a lot more organized. We had many officer meetings [over the summer], which helped in [creating] a year plan and because everyone’s on the same page we are more prepared in front of our members.”

The meetings covered basic information over SkillsUSA from the necessary credits needed to compete to the new T-Shirt Designing competition which is open to all members. More information is included on their website.

“This year we’re focusing on making the club more personal, since last year there were too many people and not many [of them] knew each other,” Chapter Treasurer GaEun Kim ‘19 said. “This year we’re focusing on making the club more of a family that goes to competitions together.”

In addition to local competitions members of SkillsUSA who advance to the state level will travel to Corpus Christi to compete in April and Louisville, Kentucky in June if they make nationals.

“I’m excited to go to Corpus Christi for the experience and to [compete] with your friends and [meet] new people,” Lily Chieng ‘19 said. “I’m going to do the same competitions I did last year.”

In order to compete, members must acquire a total of four credits: two in fundraising and two in community service. Fundraising opportunities include selling boxes of chocolate and/or volunteering at the weekend UT football games while the opportunities to gain community service credits are much more diverse. The past week, SkillsUSA took initiative and started a school wide donation of supplies for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Students brought in diapers, baby wipes and feminine products to be delivered to the evacuees of this crisis. With help from the officers, the supplies were delivered early Sunday morning.  

“I’m a treasurer for the chapter and for the upcoming year we’ve planned all the community events already, like participating in the Trail of Lights and Spooktacular and the Chili Cookoff,” Kim said.

In addition to the 30+ returning members, the club welcomed a grand total of 70+ new members.

“Overall I think the first meeting went pretty well,” Oh says. “We had a great turnout at both meetings and I think the club will be successful this year.”

SkillsUSA has their next meeting on September 20 for their queso social. Future meetings will be announced then.