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In the News: SkillsUSA program thrives at Porter High School

SkillsUSA program thrives at Porter High School


SkillsUSA Feb. 16, 2016 | Academically Prepared | When senior Edgardo Correa was in his freshman year at Porter High School, it was a simple donut that helped him determine the path of his high school career.


“Freshman year, I was motivated to join SkillsUSA because free donuts were offered to those who attended the first chapter,” Correa said. “Little did I know that small glaze donut would make all the difference.”


SkillsUSA is a national organization that develops student skills in careers and trades to prepare them for success in the workforce. With over 5,000 trade programs, SkillsUSA offers hands-on training in fields such as criminal justice, cosmetology, engineering, health sciences and much more.


Correa has now been involved in SkillsUSA for four years.


In summer 2015, out of the 300,000 SkillsUSA members nationwide, Correa was named one of only five SkillsUSA national officers; a position never before held by a Porter High School student.


Since the week of Monday, Feb. 8 was national SkillsUSA week and February is Career and Technology Education (CTE) month, Correa decided to inform the community about Porter High School’s growing SkillsUSA program.


“Last year, Porter High School’s SkillsUSA criminal justice program had about 13 members,” Correa said. “This year, we have 150. We have done a lot of advocating for the organization. Our success rate along with the fact that students are now acknowledging all they can do within the organization, I believe that’s what inspires them to join and strive for those successes and achievements. We’ve been building a huge line of successes and SkillsUSA is starting to become a major topic in this high school.”


Correa started SkillsUSA in the criminal justice chapter.


“Here at criminal justice, we train our students to do traffic stops, crime scene investigation, building searches, individual criminal justice competitions as well as leadership competitions so that when they graduate, they have those hands-on skills to enter the workforce.


“Within the criminal justice program, we also have the Explorers program. That’s one that we just opened up with our local police department where students can actually travel around in a squad car to acknowledge what is happening around the community and gain that firsthand experience of what it is to be in law enforcement.”


This year was also the first time Porter High School criminal justice students competed in the mock trial category where they took second place at regionals last month.


The SkillsUSA students are staying busy in the midst of a string of competitions. Having only recently returned from their mock trial and Active Skills Competition, students are now preparing for their next competition scheduled to begin Thursday, Feb. 18.


In addition to criminal justice, Porter High School’s SkillsUSA programs include a health science chapter where students engage in hands-on learning to prepare for a medical profession. They also have the opportunity to participate in programs within Kingwood Hospital for firsthand experience in the field.


The engineering chapter uses field-related equipment so that students will be familiar with the tools they will encounter in the workforce.


“What really impresses me is the cosmetology department,” Correa said. “Here at Porter High School, we have cosmetology salons that simulate what it’s like in the cosmetology profession. They receive their licenses so that when they graduate they’re already prepared for the world of work.”


On Sunday, Feb. 7 and Monday, Feb. 8, Correa and other SkillsUSA students from the state of Texas traveled to Austin for the SkillsUSA Texas Legislature Day to promote the importance of Career and Technical Education and advocate for future legislation supporting the funding of organizations like SkillsUSA.


“I’ve seen SkillsUSA students graduate and they have a job ready for them,” Correa said. “Business and industry members seek out graduates that have the skills taught in SkillsUSA. It definitely prepares students all over the nation to enter the workforce by gaining leadership abilities and hands-on skills. It embeds knowledge, leadership, character and poise to students so they will be more prepared than your average high school student.”


For more information about SkillsUSA, visit


To learn more about Porter High School’s programs, visit


(Source: EMC Observer