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Ask Chelle: SkillsUSA Champions Online

SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis has a long family history and nearly two decades of work experience in career and technical education. Got a question? She can help.
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Chelle Travis

Is this website the new version of SkillsUSA Champions magazine? What are the benefits, and what’s happening with the printed version of the magazine?

Welcome to the new digital hub of SkillsUSA Champions magazine! Since 2002, our award-winning publication has been sharing important SkillsUSA news, chapter activities, member success stories, tools for classroom use and more. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is our method of delivering that content and the amount we’ll now be able to bring you as a result.

We created this new digital version of SkillsUSA Champions in response to member requests for more content more often, and that’s exactly what this site will provide. Look for more inspiring features, more relevant and timely news items and a user-friendly design that lets you easily share anything you deem share-worthy (hopefully that will apply to everything you read here). Rather than looking at the site as a traditional “issue” of the magazine, look at it as an ever-expanding resource of inspirational, real-world examples of the SkillsUSA mission in action. Our hope is that when someone asks you what impact SkillsUSA can have on a life, you can point them here and just say, “Pick a story. Any story.”

Some of the new stories we’ve added in conjunction with the launch of this site are a great place to start. There’s the story of Crystal Wright, who put her college career on hold to care for a loved one during a long family crisis. When she finally returned to school, she joined SkillsUSA, and the lessons she learned and the confidence she gained helped her finally accomplish her dream of becoming a nurse. Ironically, Wright specialized in infectious disease during her training, and while caring for patients affected by COVID-19, she ended up contracting the virus herself. Read her full story here.

Then there’s Paravi Das, whose parents immigrated to America from India. Das has always had big dreams of becoming a successful artist, and she even made it through to “Hollywood Week” on American Idol. On the cusp of achieving her dreams, a sudden and difficult twist of fate appeared to have crushed them. Discovering SkillsUSA reignited her passion and zest for life.

In our Spotlight section, you’ll find Michael Ramirez, whose dream was to become a practicing Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Ramirez completed his coursework right before schools closed as a result of the pandemic, but he still needed to get his license in order to practice as an EMT. Rather than sit back and wait for safer days, Ramirez pushed until he found an available testing center that would get him his license and help him serve his community during a time when it needs his skills the most.

You’ll find stories like these throughout this site, and I’m sure there’s no shortage of SkillsUSA success stories where you are. If you have a story you think is worth sharing, click on the “Submit a Story” button at the top of the page and share your details. Someone from our communications staff will get back to you, and, if appropriate, help share the story with our members through this site, our social media and possibly in the printed edition of the magazine.

Yes, the printed edition of SkillsUSA Champions is still in our plans. However, we’ll now be releasing only two printed issues per year rather than the four you’ve been accustomed to, one in the fall focusing on leadership and a spring issue focusing on technical skills and competition preparation.

So, welcome to the new face of SkillsUSA Champions. As you discover the content here, we hope you’ll feel the same pride we feel for the inspiring accomplishments of our members across the nation. SkillsUSA’s mission to empower our members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens has never been more important. As you’ll see in these stories, it’s also never been more successful.

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