Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

CA Association of SkillsUSA Program Summary

Program summary for the California Association of SkillsUSA Program.


SkillsUSA California is part of a national student organization whose primary purpose is to prepare youth for high performance employment opportunities in an industrial and technical workforce. The organization provides quality educational experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes, and communications skills. SkillsUSA California emphasizes total quality at work, high ethical standards, superior work skills, life-long education, and pride in the dignity of work. SkillsUSA also focuses on developing an understanding of the free enterprise system and involvement in community service activities.


SkillsUSA is a national career technical student organization for middle school, secondary and postsecondary students, instructors, and members of business and industry enrolled in or associated with trade, industrial, and technical education programs. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. The California Department of Education is required to hold the State Director’s position which assists with administrative duties at local, state, and national conferences, as well as assist in coordinating student contests and leadership events.

SkillsUSA programs include local, state, and national competitions in which students demonstrate career technical education (CTE) occupational and leadership skills. During the annual national-level SkillsUSA Championships, approximately 9,000 students compete in over 100 occupational and leadership skill areas. SkillsUSA programs also help to interpret industry standards for job skill training in the classroom. 

SkillsUSA also offers training and programs such as Career essentials: Foundation Essentials and Assessments to enhance SkillsUSA’s “Program of Work” by preparing students for the world of work starting in the classroom. The curriculum emphasizes the competencies and essential workplace basic skills identified by the U.S. Secretary of Labor’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills as well as industry standards and certifications. SkillsUSA programs are aligned to the SkillsUSA framework which develop individual members by focusing on three key elements; personal skills, workplace skills, and technical skills grounded in academics.

The Career Essential program was developed to align instruction to the needs of business of industry and is a self-paced curriculum for middle school secondary and college students. It teaches skills such as effective communication and management, teamwork, networking, workplace ethics, job interviewing and more. The curriculum was developed by business and industry and is aligned to academic subject matter and can be used in day-trades, apprenticeship training, cooperative education, academic and special needs programs.


Students learn basic employability skills to be competitive in today’s high-skills workforce. SkillsUSA also increases student achievement in the areas of:

  • Job opportunities and industry contacts
  • Cutting-edge job skill training
  • Competing in today’s job market
  • Peer support network
  • Becoming a professional worker
  • Respect
  • Self-esteem
  • Becoming a responsible citizen
  • Student success
  • SCANS standards
  • Industry based certifications


Funding for CTE staff time to administer, monitor, advise, and consult with SkillsUSA California is provided through the Carl D. Perkins federal grant and CTE incentive grant funds.

Students Served

SkillsUSA is a national organization serving more than 350,000 middle school, high school, college students, and professional members who are enrolled in training programs in technical, skilled, and service occupations, including health occupations. SkillsUSA currently serves approximately 22,000 members in California.


Approximately 2700 students compete in technical and trade areas as well as leadership contests at the state level. Students learn occupational and leadership skills to help them be competitive in today’s high-skills workforce. In 2017, over 435 members made up the SkillsUSA California delegation, including competitors, delegates, four national officer candidates, advisors, Administrators, and State Staff participated at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

Contact Information

The SkillsUSA California Program is administered by:

California Department of Education
Career and College Transition Division
Career Technical Education Leadership Office
1430 N Street, Suite 4202
Sacramento, CA 95814

Questions:   Tara Neilson | | 916-445-5568
Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 19, 2022