Welcome to the 2019-2020 year!

Welcome to the 2019-2020 year! We are excited to partner with you to ensure that Illinois student member are career ready. This year’s theme is SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, I’m Ready. “I’m Ready” it is short, sweet, to the point and our goal for all members as they enter the world of work. SkillsUSA Illinois has focused its work around imperatives to ensure we are achieving that goal as well as fulfilling our mission.

SkillsUSA Mission
SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA improves the quality of our nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of Framework skills that include personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics.

SkillsUSA Illinois Imperatives

  • Establishing SkillsUSA as a Career Readiness Solution
  • Chapter Development
  • SkillsUSA Career Essentials
  • Officer Training Program
  • Conference Programing
  • SLSC Conference Move to Peoria

What does this mean? Now is a great time to be part of SkillsUSA Illinois. We have so much going for us, and the momentum continues to build. For students, this is a time to use SkillsUSA as a conduit for promoting career interests and gaining clarity about the future. Students are set up for success in trade schools, apprenticeships and two- and four-year colleges and universities. This allows every student to having the confidence to say, “I’m ready.”

We look forward to working with you and seeing you at a SkillsUSA Illinois event. Please reach out to us at membership@skillsUSAIllinois.org or 224.612.0099 for more information on how we can best support you moving forward. The SkillsUSA Illinois 2019-2020 calendar is now available. Please visit the calendar of events page of the SkillsUSA Illinois website at: skillsusaillinois.org/events

L.E.A.D. 2019

SkillsUSA Illinois is excited to present L.E.A.D. 2019. L.E.A.D. is a two-day leadership conference that helps SkillsUSA members find their “start button” through hands-on, high-energy and motivational programming. L.E.A.D. is open to all SkillsUSA Illinois student leaders. During the course of the conference, participants discover how to ignite the leader within them and maximize their potential. Participants spend time working together in a project management atmosphere. Collectively they learn teamwork to set and accomplish goals. They take a look at what it means to present a responsible, positive image – and the effects that image can have not only on themselves, but also on their school, SkillsUSA, and career and technical education.

L.E.A.D. 2019 will be held November 7-9, 2019 at the Sheraton in Lisle, IL. Registration closes October 9, 2019. This year registration includes all meals Friday and Saturday, lodging, as well as conference materials. To learn more visit: SkillsUSAIllinois.org/lead


Tune Up Tuesdays

SkillsUSA Illinois is excited to launch a new professional development opportunity for advisors, Tune Up Tuesdays. Beginning October 8, SkillsUSA Illinois will host bi-weekly advisor webinars at 3:30 p.m. Topics will include chapter management, how to best prepare for conference, and program updates. Calls will last about 30 minutes with 15-20 minutes of content leaving 10-15 minutes for open questions and answers. Please click here for more information and pre-registrar for the next call.

SkillsUSA Illinois Recognized Nationally

Earlier this month, at the annual State Director Association Annual Professional Development and Training Conference in Virginia, SkillsUSA Illinois was presented with two national awards for outstanding service and support at the state level. For the second year in a row, SkillsUSA Illinois earned the Gold Level of State Standards of Excellence, the highest level a state can receive. The State Standards of Excellence Program ensures state associations have in place policies, procedures, and structure on an annual basis that deliver a high level of service and to become the very best organization for all their members. SkillsUSA Illinois also was recognized with the Reaching New Heights Award for outstanding commitment and dedication to the growth and sustainability of SkillsUSA.

SkillsUSA Membership and SkillsUSA Career Essentials

SkillsUSA is an integral component to all Career and Technical Education programs and classrooms; and membership is recommended for all students enrolled. Membership must be submitted by the participant’s first SkillsUSA event or February 14, 2020 whichever occurs first.

Membership for students is included with SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences. SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences is the next generation of employability skill-building curriculum developed for today’s students. SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences is everything you need to give your students what they need to be career ready. SkillsUSA Career Essentials Suite is Perkins Funding eligible and Career Ready certified. Learn more about SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences.

Click here to learn more about membership and how to submit. For assistance submitting membership, please contact our Membership Hotline. The SkillsUSA Membership Hotline (844.875.4557) can take care of all of your membership questions. Operators are on call from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. (CST) Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (CST) Tuesday and Thursday.

Advisor Development Conference 2019

On September 13, advisors from around the state came together at the Universal Technical Institute in Lisle for SkillsUSA Illinois’ annual Advisor Development Conference. This conference focused on how SkillsUSA education resources and programming that can be utilized to ensure that students are career ready.

The Challenge
Employers across our great nation are struggling to find qualified workers who demonstrate needed employability skills. This is adding to the current skills gap and labor shortages. While SkillsUSA is uniquely positioned to address the skills gap and labor shortages in skilled trades, the implementation of the SkillsUSA Framework addresses the issue of employability skills and career readiness for all SkillsUSA members.

The combination of the SkillsUSA Career Essentials Suite based on the SkillsUSA Framework and a well-run SkillsUSA Chapter provides the needed instruction and experiences for members to become aware, develop and demonstrate the Framework skills. Following the steps of the Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) will ensure that your members will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate Framework skills that prepare them for future employment. The CEP also provides an avenue for recognition of members achievement in the Framework Essential Elements.

SkillsUSA Illinois was joined by Maureen Tholen, Sustainability Director for 3M Safety & Industrial Business Group, and Leo Breaux, Director of Workforce Development for CBRE, to talk on the reason they support SkillsUSA’s mission driven work of empower members to be world-class workers, leaders, and responsible American citizens 

SkillsUSA Implementation

SkillsUSA Framework
The SkillsUSA Framework is the source for the development of the organization’s educational programs, resources and products. The framework was created in 2014 because SkillsUSA realized the need for students — future employees — to be able to intentionally develop and communicate their abilities with respect to employability skills. In a survey, more than 1,000 employers stated that their greatest need when seeking new hires is to have access to job candidates who possess the skills identified within the SkillsUSA Framework.

The framework communicates SkillsUSA’s definition of the career-ready individual. Within it, 17 Essential Elements are divided among three components: personal skills, workplace skills, and technical skills grounded in academics. 

The SkillsUSA Framework is essential to the SkillsUSA mission because it serves as the blueprint for career readiness and a benchmark for measuring student success — our ultimate goal as an organization. This approach actualizes SkillsUSA’s mission to “empower members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. 

SkillsUSA Career Essentials
The SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite engages students in defining, implementing and measuring their career-readiness skills along every point in their educational journey, whether it be middle-school, high-school or college/postsecondary. The curriculum generates high levels of student engagement and is built on evidence-based outcomes that support the industry-validated Career Ready Assessment. Together, curricula and assessments work to culminate in students earning the industry-recognized Career Essentials credentials.

No longer do you need to search for a curriculum that will meet the pressing needs of fulfilling national and state standards related to career readiness. The finest practitioners in the areas of career readiness and employability built the Career Essentials suite as a complete system and learning continuum to ensure your students are competitive in the global marketplace. Learn more about the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite by clicking here   

SkillsUSA Chapter Excellence Program
The Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) is the single best way to build a successful SkillsUSA chapter!

CEP recognizes achievement as it relates to the integration of the SkillsUSA Framework in chapter program of work activities. As a chapter’s yearly action plan, the program of work is at the heart of student learning and employability development. By using the Framework as a guide, chapters have a blueprint for creating relevant activities that encourage participation and foster an understanding of student learning attained during each activity. The Framework’s focus on intentional learning turns the program of work into more than just a planning tool. Using the Framework, the program of work becomes the vital conduit that links students to the application of personal, workplace and technical skills demanded by industry. The SkillsUSA trifecta for student success!

Within the personal, workplace and technical skills areas, there are specific Essential Elements tied to each. The Essential Elements are high-demand employability skills as defined by industry, and the benchmark for measuring student success during an activity. If students learn the Essential Element of responsibility during a personal component activity, the Framework requires that a chapter be specific regarding the how and why students learned responsibility. This conscientious approach gives added meaning to the valuable experience gained by students in the planning, organization and implementation of activities. Most importantly, this approach actualizes SkillsUSA’s mission to “empower members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens” on the chapter level.

Every chapter is encouraged to participate in CEP and there are three award levels to recognize program involvement. The first two levels are acknowledged by a chapter’s state association and the third level is recognized nationally. Each level is designed to give chapters a benchmark for success and future improvement, leading to stronger chapters and more prepared students. The more a chapter applies the Framework, the greater the chance for CEP honors.

Illinois Program Updates

Chapters of Focus
SkillsUSA Illinois is excited to announce a new initiative, the Chapter of Focus program. Through business and industry sponsorships and support, SkillsUSA Illinois is able to create this pilot program for assessing current programming as well as potential growth opportunities for SkillsUSA Chapters. The goal of this program is to help chapter create successful and sustainable chapters.

Schools selected will partner with SkillsUSA Illinois and receive high caliber student and advisor training, extensive chapter support from the state office, as well as financial incentives upon successful program completion. Chapters have the potential to receive up to $4,500 in support, including up to $3,000 in chapter funding.

Learn more and how to apply at https://mailchi.mp/skillsusaillinois/chapter-of-focus

Advisor of the Year
SkillsUSA Illinois is excited to announce a new recognition program, SkillsUSA Illinois Advisor of the Year. The recipient of this award will be put forward to advance on to the national SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year program. This program will focus around an advisor who implements the SkillsUSA Framework through the Chapter Excellence Program. Please be on the lookout for more information coming later this fall.

L.E.A.D. 2019
SkillsUSA Illinois is excited to present L.E.A.D. 2019. L.E.A.D. is a two-day leadership conference that helps SkillsUSA members find their “start button” through hands-on, high-energy and motivational programming. L.E.A.D. is open to all SkillsUSA Illinois student leaders. During the course of the conference, participants discover how to ignite the leader within them and maximize their potential. Participants spend time working together in a project management atmosphere. Collectively they learn teamwork to set and accomplish goals. They take a look at what it means to present a responsible, positive image – and the effects that image can have not only on themselves, but also on their school, SkillsUSA, and career and technical education.

L.E.A.D. 2019 will be held November 7-9, 2019 at the Sheraton in Lisle, IL. Registration closes October 9, 2019. This year registration includes all meals Friday and Saturday, lodging, as well as conference materials. To learn more visit: SkillsUSAIllinois.org/LEAD

SkillsUSA Championships

Technical Standards
Technical Standards are updated annually and will be released in late fall (around the end of October). A new update document will be released that will outline major changes that have been made.

State Qualifying Events
The registration deadline for State Qualifying Events 2020 will be January 29. This will be for exams and conferences. All students will need to complete the exam for the contest they wish to advance on to SLSC. The student can compete in an additional regional competition (State Qualifying Conferences) for an hands-on opportunity to advance on to SLSC.

State Qualifying Exams
25-40% of the exams will have content or bank updates this year. Early Childhood Education and Welding will receive new banks this year.

State Qualifying Conferences
Regional competitions will be held as follows:

  • North Conference at Elgin Community College
  • South Conference at Southwestern Illinois College – Granite City Campus
  • Central Conference (TBA) at TBA

Final school placements and additional information will be released on in early November. This year, the percentage of students that will advance on from State Qualifying Conferences to the State Championships will increase to allow more opportunities to students.

State Leadership and Skills Conference
The 56th annual SkillsUSA Illinois State Leadership and Skills Conference will be held April 23-25, 2020 in Springfield, Illinois. Registration will be due March 20; hotel blocks will also open that day as well.

In 2021, the SkillsUSA Illinois State Leadership and Skills Conference will move to Peoria, Illinois and will be held April 29 – May 1. This move will provide a new, larger venue with most contests able to be housed under one roof. With this move, schools will begin to book hotel accommodation with registration though SkillsUSA.

National Leadership and Skills Conference

The National Leadership and Skills Conference 2020 will be held June 22-27 in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2021, the National Leadership and Skills Conference will move to Atlanta, Georgia and will be held June 21-26.