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Signed, Skilled and Delivered

SkillsUSA National Signing Day events across the nation inspire thousands to celebrate our future skilled workforce and the skills that have been, are and always will be essential.
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Students at CAT North in Severn, Md. during the 2024 SkillsUSA National Signing Day. Photo by Craig Moore.

SkillsUSA National Signing Day took skilled trades amplification efforts to soaring heights this year, showcasing incredible career opportunities that can help close the skills gap. SkillsUSA teamed up with three national partners to support 3,039 students in 202 schools who participated in this year’s event on May 7. Those numbers were the largest in Signing Day history and more than doubled last year’s number of student signers!

The signing ceremonies in 42 states recognized SkillsUSA members for their dedication to career readiness and their willingness to make a public declaration of their future education and employment plans. Students were recognized by school administrators and teachers in front of employers, parents, family members and friends for their decision to pursue further education or a career in their occupation. The students were then applauded individually as they announced their future plans and signed letters of intent for a job, apprenticeship or further technical training — and the boundless pride was evident on their glowing faces.

At the final tally, 465 students were headed to apprenticeship programs, 843 to full time jobs, 184 to part time jobs and the remaining 1,547 to further technical training.

For the SkillsUSA members, mostly high school seniors, the day contained all the celebratory elements of a graduation or athletic signing day. There were bright lights, signs, banners, balloons, certificates and speeches, along with lots and lots of photographs to commemorate the memorable events.

“SkillsUSA’s 2024 National Signing Day saluted students who expressed their commitment to a fulfilling and rewarding career in the skilled trades,” says SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis. “We are working with our partners to help close the skills gap while presenting more career opportunities for young workers. As the #1 workforce organization for students, hosting this annual day generates greater awareness of the many robust career paths in the skilled trades.”

Speaking of partners, the 2024 SkillsUSA National Signing Day was sponsored by the Lowe’s Foundation, State Farm and Constellation Energy.

Lowe’s Steps Up for Our “Trades Stars”

The Lowe’s Foundation brought their national platform, brand and network of pros to the SkillsUSA cause in their own efforts to elevate the perception of the skilled trades while highlighting the amazing opportunities those career paths offer (high earning potential, high job satisfaction and high community impact, to name a few). Lowe’s hosted five events at stores in Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Miami and San Diego to give members a “blue carpet” experience and national recognition through their “Trades Stars” campaign.

Photo courtesy of the Lowe’s Foundation.

Lowe’s invited SkillsUSA graduates and popular social media influencers Ashton White (“That Masonry Girl”) and Paige Knowles (“Paige the Plumber”) to, respectively, the Houston and Chicago events. Knowles spoke to the Chicago students saying, “It’s time we put you in the spotlight, just like college students and athletes. For every five people that exit the skilled trades, only one enters. Do you know what that means? There’s never been a better time to be skilled. I will keep repeating this until we see more students like you and the thousands of others who made a commitment to the workforce on Signing Day this year. Seeing your dedication truly inspires me. I can’t wait to see what your future holds.”

State Farm Joins the Celebration

State Farm also celebrated SkillsUSA nationally on our Signing Day. At State Farm’s request, SkillsUSA connected State Farm employees directly with student signers. A platform was developed to allow State Farm representatives to write letters of congratulations to students, with the option to write to a student from a specific state. A total of 437 unique congratulatory messages were delivered to SkillsUSA student signers on National Signing Day.

Photo courtesy of Enterprise (Ala.) High School.

Constellation Expands Support to New Schools

SkillsUSA partner Constellation supported Signing Day as part of their “Powering Change” workforce development initiative. In San Antonio (Texas), plant manager Craig Francisco, Jr., of the Constellation Handley Generating Station in Ft. Worth, visited the San Antonio Career and Technical Education Center to present a check and announce the expansion of their partnership to the CTC as well as to the Texas State Technical College in Waco. The efforts will further their support of future skilled professionals in the power generation field.

Photo by Pam Sieffert.

Want to know more about Signing Day? Check out these links to get a glimpse of our events across the nation on May 7 and see if your school is represented. If not, there’s still time to share your National Signing Day photos, videos and stories!

On the Web

• SkillsUSA National Signing Day social media aggregator

Lowe’s Foundation News Story (partner story)

• Signing Day photo album (Flickr)

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