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For the second year in a row, the SkillsUSA Idaho association achieved the Gold level of SkillsUSA’s State Standards of Excellence Program.
SkillsUSA is a career technical student organization (CTSO) dedicated to improving the quality of America’s future skilled workforce through developing personal, workplace, and technical skills grounded in academics. Students participate in activities and competitive events designed to prepare them for leadership in the world of work. Membership is organized into chapters at participating high schools and postsecondary institutions; these chapters are overseen by the state association, which the State Standards of Excellence program is designed to recognize.
Now in its fifth year, the program is designed to ensure state associations have in place policies, procedures and structures that deliver a high level of service to members. This non-competitive program serves as a system to allow states to benchmark their performance and determine improvements to become the very best organization for their members.
“Achieving Gold level for two years in a row is a sign that SkillsUSA Idaho is determined not just to get back to ‘normal,’ but set an example for our members that we will emerge from the pandemic as leaders on a national level,” said SkillsUSA Idaho State Director Chet Andes.
Andrew Armstrong, CTSO manager for SkillsUSA Idaho, echoes Andes’ sentiment.
“Winning this award for two years gives me great pride in the direction of SkillsUSA Idaho. This award shows that we are committed to our membership and are fully committed and prepared to serve our chapters,” said Armstrong. “I hope this opportunity challenges our members to build strong chapters that are as excited as we are to show how amazing our Idaho members are at the national level.”
Nationally, 38 states participate in SkillsUSA. The following state associations were recognized for achieving the Bronze level of establishing a baseline for a healthy association: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The following states moved to the next level by being recognized for achieving Silver, ensuring the sustainability of healthy association: Alabama High School, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana College/Postsecondary, New York High School, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The following states reached the pinnacle of achievement by completing the Gold level requirements, ensuring the continued growth of the association: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia College/Postsecondary, Georgia High School, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas College/Postsecondary, Texas High School, Virginia and Washington High School.
Forty high school and college-level career and technical education (CTE) students from across Idaho qualified for the 2021 SkillsUSA National Championships. Of the qualifiers, 17 students finished in the top nine for their competition, and eight students placed in the top three.
“This year’s accomplishments prove that even in a virtual year, our members are empowered to succeed, no matter the format or obstacles placed in front of them,” said Daniel Kelly, state manager for SkillsUSA Idaho.
The 57th annual competition, held virtually June 21-24, showcased CTE students from across the country competing in trade, technical and leadership events. During the competition, students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts using testing competencies set by industry.
All contests were run by SkillsUSA, a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 to strengthen America’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal, workplace, and technical skills grounded in academics. Statewide, SkillsUSA Idaho has 898 student members representing 25 chapters. Members have consistently demonstrated their expertise and professionalism while participating throughout the year in various leadership and competitive conferences.
“I’m really proud of how our advisors and students stuck with it through a challenging year while continuing Idaho’s legacy of leadership at the national level,” said Chet Andes, state director for SkillsUSA Idaho.
In addition to receiving gold, silver and bronze medals, many top students also received prizes such as tools and scholarships to further their careers and education.
The following students finished the 2021 state conference with outstanding accomplishments:
- Ashleigh Anderson, Automotive Refinishing Technology, North Idaho College, Coeur d’Alene
- Carter Meyers, Automotive Service Technology, Idaho Falls High School, Idaho Falls
- Christian Soulsby, Internetworking, Dennis Technical Education Center, Boise
- Brett Williams, Diesel Equipment Technology, Cassia Regional Technical Center, Burley
- Logan Farley, Collision Repair Technology, North Idaho College, Coeur d’Alene
- Maxwell Fisher, Information Technology Services, Dennis Technical Education Center, Boise
- Spencer McConnell and Gavin Prasch, Cyber Security, Dennis Technical Education Center, Boise
- Alyssa Doering, T-Shirt Design, Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian
- Brooklyn Grant, Computer Programming, Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian
- Richard Huber, Automotive Refinishing Technology, Kootenai Technical Education Campus, Rathdrum
- Audrey Norris and Mason Tolley, Interactive Application and Video Game Design, Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian
- Hayden Reed, Telecommunications Cabling, Dennis Technical Education Center, Boise
- Ransom Robertson, Collision Repair Technology, Kootenai Technical Education Campus, Rathdrum
- John Saccomando, Technical Computer Applications, Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian
- Sean Varie, Electronics Technology, Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian
Idaho is one of 23 state associations to achieve the Gold level of SkillsUSA’s State Standards of Excellence program for 2020.
SkillsUSA is a career technical student organization (CTSO) dedicated to improving the quality of America’s future skilled workforce through the development of personal, workplace, and technical skills grounded in academics. Students participate in activities and competitive events designed to prepare them for leadership in the world of work. Membership is organized into chapters at participating high schools and postsecondary institutions; these chapters are overseen by the state association, for which the State Standards of Excellence program is designed.
Now in its fourth year, this non-competitive program encourages state associations to meet organizational, governance, and fiscal responsibility standards, thus benchmarking their performance and determining improvements to serve their members best. Though the SkillsUSA Idaho state association earned a Silver level in 2019, this is the first time the Idaho state association has achieved the Gold level. The achievement is especially notable given the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic during the 2019-2020 school year, including canceling the State Leadership and Skills Conference (SLSC) in 2020, planning a virtual SCLC in 2021, and transitioning competitive events to a virtual environment.
“Earning the Gold Standard of Excellence really shows the commitment of everyone involved in SkillsUSA across the state of Idaho and provides a very bright spot during a difficult year,” said Chet Andes, SkillsUSA Idaho state association director. “It’s a sign of good things to come, and we’ll emerge stronger as an organization and state.”
Daniel Kelly, CTSO manager for SkillsUSA Idaho, echos Andes’ sentiment.
“To me, this shows that SkillsUSA Idaho’s members are truly Champions at Work. Even in a virtual year, we’re able to attain greater goals and challenges constantly,” said Kelly. “Achieving the Gold level Standards of Excellence for the first time is testament to the strength of our association, our teachers, and our students, who are empowered to succeed every day.” For more information about SkillsUSA, visit skillsusaidaho.com or skillsusa.org.