SkillsUSA Helps Prepare Students for Future Careers


SkillsUSA is an organization that forced on helping students be prepared for a career after graduation. Students in the welding or IT pathways are GCHS can join.

Jake Woodruff, Staff Reporter

SkillsUSA is a nationally recognized career and technical student organization with a primary focus to empower students to excel with technical skills grounded in academics. SkillsUSA has assisted students with learning a trade and has given students job experience, so they can go right into the field they were learning. Students involved in SkillsUSA gain experience in a wide variety of career opportunities which may help them choose a path after high school.

At GCHS, students enrolled in the Welding and IT/Business Services Career Pathways are eligible to become members of the school’s SkillsUSA Chapter.  At the beginning of each year, students can talk with the advisors and SkillsUSA officers about joining. Students get to choose their own competitive events for the regional, state & national level. Competitions include welding, welding fabrication, computer programming, web design, T-shirt design, speaking and customer service related contests. 

SkillsUSA has helped students with a number of things, like to build confidence. It can enhance their résumé, and students in SkillsUSA can obtain scholarships and work opportunities.

— Hayden Derefield, senior

 IT/business services pathway instructor Dewayne Hancock stated “SkillsUSA is a student organization, meaning the students run the organization. The officer team plans the meetings, events, fundraisers, coordinates competitions and connects with the community. These experiences allow for the members to be involved in an organization that helps build their leadership, organization and community service skills to be more prepared for life outside of high school.”

Senior Nathan Abrams joined SkillsUSA when he was a junior, and he is one of the secretaries of the welding team at GCHS. Through the program, he was able to earn a certification to work for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and his greatest accomplishment was how he grew as a welder and as a teammate for his fellow welders. “SkillsUSA is a leadership thing. With welding, you how to be a leader and how to be safe with machinery and how to show others how to be safe,” said Abrams.

Business teacher Marissa Hancock is the chair of GCHS’s IT department, and she strongly believes in the value of participating in SkillsUSA. “Employers are specifically looking for employees who have demonstrated the courage during their high school years to be involved, showcase and grow their skills/abilities so that they can learn.” 

Senior Hayden Derifield joined SkillsUSA and has participated in several competitions.  He said, “SkillsUSA has helped students with a number of things, like to build confidence. It can enhance their résumé, and students in SkillsUSA can obtain scholarships and work opportunities.”

SkillsUSA is a student program made for the purpose of preparing students to be leaders. With the skills and knowledge of learning how to do something and  how to do it well, they are prepared to be contributing members of the business world.  What SkillsUSA teaches to students is best represented in its motto “Preparing for leadership in the world of work.”