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Facts About Oklahoma SkillsUSA


SkillsUSA is the co-curricular CareerTech Student Organization for students and instructors in trade, industrial, and technical occupations programs. SkillsUSA is recognized by state and federal departments of education as an integral part of the curriculum in public high schools, technology centers, and junior/community colleges.


SkillsUSA is not an extracurricular activity like a drama club or a basketball team. Students are motivated to excel as they acquire job and leadership skills; to understand the democratic process through their local chapter work; to work together to improve school, workplace, and community; and to earn individual recognition for both skill and leadership achievement.


SkillsUSA was established in 1965 as a nonprofit educational association by the National Association of State Supervisors of Trade and Industrial Education. Other founding sponsors include the Association of Career and Technical Education, the U.S. Office of Education, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. SkillsUSA has grown from 29,000 members and 26 state associations in 1965 to nearly 300,000 members in 53 state and territorial associations in 1995. In that time, more than 5 million people have had SkillsUSA training.


The Oklahoma SkillsUSA Association is an integral part of 500 trade and industrial education programs in comprehensive high schools and technology centers. In 1989, Oklahoma's membership ranked eighth in the nation with 7,339 secondary (high school), 1,882 post-secondary (adults), and 637 professional members. Oklahoma was one of the 26 charter states to help organize SkillsUSA as a national organization in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1966. Since SkillsUSA's conception, Oklahoma has been a leader in national honors and awards. Accomplishments include:

  • Since 1965, 33 National Officers (five National Presidents) and four International Industrial Degree Recipients (SkillsUSA's highest honor for members after high school graduation) have been Oklahomans.
  • In International Youth Skill Olympics, there have been three Team Leaders during the past fourteen years from Oklahoma and eleven competitors from Oklahoma.
  • Oklahoma Professional SkillsUSA members have been recognized for outstanding service with five Honorary Life Memberships, one Distinguished Service Award, one Outstanding SkillsUSA¬† Educator Award, four Region IV SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year Awards, one SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year Award, and one State Director of the Year Award.
  • The SkillsUSA Management Institutes, an innovative workshop model for instructors adopted by National SkillsUSA, were initiated in Oklahoma; we have hosted six Club Management Institutes where more than 200 instructors from places as far away as Alaska and the Virgin Islands have participated.
  • SkillsUSA's new competency-based curriculum, Professional Development Program, that received ACTE's Award for outstanding instructional materials in 1989 was initiated by Oklahomans. Oklahoma educators were also involved in the development of the newly revised PDP.
  • Oklahoma is the only state to host the National Leadership Conference and United States Skills Championships on three separate occasions.


SkillsUSA sponsors competitive activities on the local, regional, district, state, national, and international levels. More than 2,600 gold medal winners in their home states compete in nearly 50 occupational and leadership skill areas during SkillsUSA Championships each June. Industry sets the standards for the competitions and provides judges, funding, and equipment for this $6 million annual event.

SkillsUSA members elect their own officers, develop a calendar of activities, and carry out a program of work with minimum supervision from their trade and industrial education instructor who serves as chapter advisor.

SkillsUSA's Professional Development Program complements the classroom instruction, challenges students to excel, and provides opportunities for learning and recognition without competing. It emphasizes goal-setting and accomplishment through a series of degrees as students advance both in personal growth and in knowledge of their chosen field of work. Through participation in the program, students can earn recognition at six levels: Trainee, Leader, Professional, Master, American SkillsUSA, and International SkillsUSA Degrees.

SkillsUSA's Total Quality Management is revitalizing US industry and empowers workers to increase the quality of their products and services, boost productivity and promote greater customer satisfaction. SkillsUSA's 17-module Total Quality Curriculum teaches employees new skills - creative problem solving and teamwork - needed to join the TQM movement. The TQC is based on real life experiences and was developed by a partnership of educators with quality experts from industry.


  • New technology, stiff international competition, and demographic shifts mean that all occupations will require higher levels of many different skills. SkillsUSA is part of the solution because it emphasizes communication and leadership skills in addition to hands-on training.
  • SkillsUSA expands awareness of the personally and economically rewarding careers that can be built on quality career and technology education. Getting involved in SkillsUSA also builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes, and communication skills. It motivates many to continue their formal education.
  • SkillsUSA has created unique working partnerships among students, educators, business, organized labor, and government. The SkillsUSA Employment Network brings local employers and SkillsUSA advisors together in a business/education directory. Direct business participation motivates students, updates training programs, and helps graduates find better jobs.


"I cannot think of a more appropriate time in the history of our country for an organization like SkillsUSA to assist in the growth and development of our economy. Our need for a capable, trainable work force has never been greater as we compete for markets in a world economy. SkillsUSA represents one of the most important efforts toward helping our country restore its industrial leadership."

Ronald L. Mercer, Chairman of the Board and
Chief Executive Officer, Wilson Foods Corporation

"SkillsUSA taught me the importance of professionalism and good communication skills. It also made me develop the ability to 'think on my feet' and opened up many doors of opportunity!"

Lynn Kaplan Null, Home Economics Teacher and
National Officer (1982-83)


The offices of National SkillsUSA Inc., along with its National Leadership Center, are housed in Leesburg, Virginia. Its mission is to serve the interest of students, instructors, and business/industry in education, training, and employment through five major service areas: local chapter operations and support services; business/industry involvement; curriculum development; information and publications services; and the SkillsUSA Championships.

The Oklahoma SkillsUSA Association is an integral part of the Trade and Industrial Division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in Stillwater. To learn more about SkillsUSA, contact:

Darren Gibson

Oklahoma Department of CareerTech
1500 West Seventh Avenue
Stillwater, OK 74074-4364
(405) 377-2000

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