Students from technical, skilled, and service career fields share the opportunity to be involved with the local chapter of Skills USA on the UA Fort Smith campus. Even local high school students attending courses on campus through the WATC program are able to participate in this organization. David Stevens serves as the WATC student advisor, while Mike Hibbs is the Skills USA Advisor for college students who are members of the organization.
The organization's focus is to foster a positive “work ethic, leadership, self-promotion through hard work, [and] employability skills.” Skills USA helps students focus on obtaining employment, on learning how to advance in their respective careers, and in developing skills to keep their job.
The advisors are very passionate about the program and what it has to offer the students. Stevens states the upcoming state competition on April 18 in Little Rock is in part a way for the students to develop the skills necessary for the job market. Students are instructed in appropriate dress code, taught appropriate manners and etiquette for the business world. The competitions are against other student Skills USA members from around the state and can include areas such as welding, automotive, electronics, graphic design, and criminal justice.
The local chapter is also involved in community services such as donating food to the Community Outreach Center. The organization encourages individual community service as well; some students serve as bilingual translators for elementary school parent-teacher conferences.
Students who are studying in the fields of automotive, welding, electronics, graphic design, CNA, EMT, criminal justice areas like crime scene investigation, and even cosmetology can all join Skills USA. For additional information university students should contact Mike Hibbs at 479-788-7709 and WATC students should contact David Stevens at 479-788-7122.