Jocelyn Gonzalez and Ximena Solorzano

SkillsUSA, whether you’ve heard it or not, is an integral part of Downey High. A nonprofit national education association, they aspire to prepare American students for careers in trade, skilled service occupations, and the technical workforce. Every year, students across various classes are chosen to represent the chapter in the likes of these competitions, varying from Welding and Aviation Technology to Quizbowl and Product Design.


In SkillsUSA, students not only compete, starting at the regional level to Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia but also acquire real-world skills that can be applied to their lives and future careers. Skills such as patience, resilience, and problem-solving can transfer to the workforce as students are competing in career-based events. President of Downey Skills Club and competitor in the Graphic Imaging Sublimation Victoria Garcia, 12, describes the various abilities she’s acquired from competing in several competitions.  


“The most important skills I learned from the competition are leadership, communication, and networking skills. I strive to become an engineer so these skills will be very useful when I am a part of a team on a project” Garcia stated. “I am going to be better equipped to be a leader and my communicate within team members. Networking will allow me to continue expand my career in engineering and continue meeting a diverse array of people in my field!”


SkillsUSA, commonly called Skills, aids students in not only building life-lasting skills but making lasting friendships, as described by Junior Esmeralda Villegas, who is competing in Human Resource Pathways. 


“My experience in SkillsUSA has been very fun and challenging, working with my teammates in creating the final tri-fold poster. It was a lot of trial and error in creating our board, the 6th one being our final one” Villegas said. “I liked how SkillsUSA helped all of us competing come together — we become closer because of practices almost every day.”


While these competitions can be stressful and nerve-wracking, students are prepared and get a preview of the workforce. Not only does a CTE class have the opportunity to compete in SkillsUSA, but they also give students an opportunity to experience and discover different career options. Senior Elaine Barraza, a part of Early Childhood Education and Human Services, explains how participating in such competition allows her to be competitive after graduating.


“I believe SkillsUSA does a great job of preparing us for the real world through the competition process. As a part of our competition we have to make resumes, be professional, and compete as if we already are in the real world” Villegas said. “Through all of that, it gives us experience and helps us feel better prepared and experienced. The SkillsUSA mission is, “to empower members to become world-class workers, leaders, and responsible American citizens” and it definitely helps.”


As students wear the red blazers in pride as they represent DHS, SkillsUSA is a great opportunity to develop professional skills in the workplace and grow academically and as an individual!