SkillsUSA, Montana Chapter is a group of young adult leaders that work directly with teachers and industry leaders to hone skills related to various career and technical education opportunities. For those of you old enough to remember, the organization started out being called VICA.  It was founded in 1966 and Montana was one of the eight original charter states. In 2006, the name was changed to SkillsUSA


I had a chance to visit with some of the state leadership about the organization.  I met with


  • Roberta Tilleman- SkillsUSA Montana State Director since August 2022
  • Emma Edwards, SkillsUSA Montana State President
  • Brooklyn Newsom, SkillsUSA Montana State Vice President


What is Skills USA

Roberta: Skills USA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. We help each student excel in a nonprofit National Education Association. SkillsUSA serve Middle School High School and College students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations specifically in Montana. We offer 41 contests total across the board ranging anywhere from architectural drafting, automotive technology, carpentry, criminal justice, job skill demonstration, pen t-shirt design, quiz Bowl, Technical Computer engineering and three different types of welding.


Emma Edwards, SkillsUSA Montana State President is a senior at Great Falls High School.

What activities have you done, how long have you been involved and what is your favorite activity

Emma: The activities I've participated in SkillsUSA is automotive welding and speech. I have been in for three years since I was a sophomore.

Emma- my favorite activity is between welding and auto, just because I've been doing it forever.


Brooklyn Newsom, SkillsUSA Montana State Vice President is a junior at Great Falls High School.

What activities have you done, how long have you been involved and what is your favorite activity

Brooklyn: I participate in quiz Bowl, Extemporaneous speaking and automotive last year and this year I will also be competing in culinary and I've been doing it since my sophomore year. What I like best is it's giving me leadership skills that I didn't know I needed before. I also got elected for Vice president of Speech and debate for next year too.

Brooklyn- it's given me the ability to communicate with other people at different schools and learn about how they learn and how they enjoy different types of C.T.E.’s like us.


Where do you compete

Emma: Previously, we’ve had our competitions over at the MSU Northern campus and then we've moved it to Helena at the Helena College. This year our big state contest is March 29th through March 31st.


How big is your chapter and are there other chapters in Great Falls

Brooklynn: My chapter in town, we have 15 members and we are really pushing to get more members this following year because nine of them are seniors and they will be graduating this year. There is another chapter at CMR currently.


Do you need donors, sponsors or other volunteers

Roberta: We offer so many opportunities for donors, sponsors and volunteers to help enrich SkillsUSA within Montana as a nonprofit student organization. We are always open for monetary donations. There are many opportunities to sponsor our state officers and their leadership enrichment goals helping them get to nationals and play a huge part in a leadership week that we do in Washington, D.C. called WLTI.

We have the need for volunteers to work and judge our state leadership skills conference in Helena Montana.

That will be March 29th through the 31st this year and we also have a need for industry and sponsors to donate in kind materials towards the contest that we offer for the students of Skills USA during SLSC. Within that coming up, we plan to start the first inaugural Skills USA days, hopefully this coming fall. So we are currently looking for a sponsor so we can bring that together and give kids a taste of what skills USA offers in the state. We hope to focus this event around middle schoolers, freshmen and sophomores on the secondary level on peaking their interest and giving them a taste to help broaden their horizons. So please contact us at SkillsUSA Montana for this awesome opportunity coming up this fall.


If you have a story idea or something you want to learn more about, give Randy a call at 406-788-3003 or send me an email at

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