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Career Essentials: Experiences

Replaces Professional Development Program (PDP)


Working together in teams, understanding leadership, communicating clearly and demonstrating integrity are required in any career. However, these skills aren’t easy to teach — until now. SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences is the next generation of employability skill-building curricula developed for today’s students. SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences is everything you need to give your students what they need to be career-ready.


While SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Foundations develops an awareness level of learning, SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences takes your students to the next level of demonstration within the SkillsUSA learning continuum. It prepares students for the transition to the workforce or higher education through authentic project-based experiences. The online curriculum empowers teachers with high-quality skill development resources and advances the impact of the SkillsUSA Framework.


SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences has 15 project-based learning experiences that contextualize the essential elements of the SkillsUSA Framework in real-work situations. There are nine fundamental experiences that can be completed within one academic year but can be extended or shortened to meet local needs. In addition, the curriculum has five advanced experiences and a capstone experience that can be completed within an academic year.

Each experience spans two to three weeks and includes a 30-minute, instructor-led entry experience. This is followed by student-led, individual or group project modules to provide just-in-time, bite-sized learning. Instructors have the flexibility to adapt each experience to the local context.


All of the resources are delivered digitally through an e-learning site that provides:

  • 24/7 access to students and instructors on computers, tablets or smartphones

  • Turnkey tools and resources for instructors

  • A built-in grading and badging system

  • A learning community for instructors to share best practices and additional tools and resources

Jump into STEM

Jump into STEM! just got ramped up a notch. SkillsUSA members across the nation are engaging in STEM-related activities with fourth- and fifth-graders using the Jump into STEM! curriculum. Newly released Jump into STEM! lessons provide opportunities to engage first- to third-grade students and middle-school students in STEM-related activities. Jump into STEM! provides an opportunity for SkillsUSA members to engage middle-school students and create an open door to recruitment for high-school career and technical education (CTE) programs. Recruit students into your program with engaging, hands-on learning provided by current SkillsUSA members.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) is a buzzword in education. There is high demand and significant earning potential for STEM-related jobs. Study after study shows this situation will only worsen unless more people are trained in these careers. One reason for the shortage is that many people are intimidated by STEM-related jobs. What many don’t realize is, within the STEM spectrum is a diversity of careers, one of which may be an ideal match for their interests and talents.

SkillsUSA recognizes the value of supporting business and industry in generating interest for STEM careers beyond its membership. Based on valuable feedback, we built a bridge between STEM and skilled labor among students at the elementary- and middle-school levels. When considering who should build that bridge, we looked to SkillsUSA members, hence the birth of our program: Jump into STEM!

While many schools participate in STEM initiatives, most lack programming with a direct link to specific careers. Jump into STEM! fills that need by providing an option for schools to incorporate career-focused learning either during or after school. Elementary-age and middle-school participants take part in dynamic and interactive experiences facilitated by SkillsUSA members. These members will experience personal growth relative to the SkillsUSA Framework while sharing information on subjects they are passionate about, including SkillsUSA. An additional benefit of the program is the chance to educate elementary and middle-school administrators, counselors, teachers and parents about STEM careers, career and technical education (CTE) and SkillsUSA.

All Jump into STEM! materials are detailed and organized to make facilitation simple, yet power-packed with information that will engage participants in meaningful and intentional learning. Implementation is both straightforward and rewarding. You and your students are the key to getting STEM into classrooms across America.

Curriculum overview

State Farm, as a special project of the SkillsUSA Foundation, has generously sponsored the training and resources for Jump into STEM! State Farm believes all students deserve access to a quality education that will allow them to reach their greatest potential, help them become good community citizens and prepare them for the workforce.

Thanks to State Farm, the Jump into STEM! curriculum provides 44 interactive and memorable sessions. Each session is written to introduce elementary students to different STEM careers and career clusters, and to the value of SkillsUSA. During the sessions, chapter members introduce themselves, present activities that engage student learning, and share specific career cluster and occupational information. The highlight of each session is a hands-on learning activity. All sessions conclude with review questions. Members also have an opportunity to speak about their SkillsUSA experience and present information about the local chapter.

The curriculum includes sessions for each career cluster. Since the STEM career cluster is incorporated into the entire curriculum, sessions focus on 11 career clusters. Each session is designed to be 20 minutes long, but can be adapted as needed. Sessions include but are not limited to the following:

Application of the SkillsUSA Framework

The benefits of Jump into STEM! for elementary and middle-school students are numerous, as are the rewards for
SkillsUSA members. Preparing for and facilitating these sessions integrates several essential elements of the SkillsUSA Framework. Chapter members will have an opportunity to practice professionalism, leadership and excellent communication when interacting with teachers and students. Planning, organizing and managing skills will be put to the test as members prepare to work with younger students. Presenters will practice adaptability and flexibility when facilitating activities. Members must respond to changes in time frame, location, student numbers and more. Finally, some sessions involve the use of computers and tablets. Members will improve skills of computer and technology literacy while assisting students with activities. And, these are just a few.


How to use the curriculum

The Jump into STEM! curriculum may be used in a variety of ways. The key is to adapt the sessions to the needs of younger students and chapter members. Facilitating one session will start the journey of career exploration. Facilitating multiple sessions will broaden the journey. Your chapter may include Jump into STEM! on the CEP (Chapter Excellence Program) application. Throughout the guide are examples of goals, plans of action and results. Use these to help your chapter incorporate the project into your application. Jump into STEM! can be used in any of the three framework components. The correct choice for your chapter will depend on your goals and focus. Jump into STEM! is a free member benefit as part of payment of SkillsUSA professional membership dues. Ensure that you provide your current email address when submitting your membership so that you can receive Jump into STEM!


HP LIFE e-Learning is a free, peer-reviewed online training program designed for students, entrepreneurs, and small-business owners to develop business and IT skills.

  • HP LIFE e-Learning courses are modular, interactive, and relevant in today’s business economy

  • Full of information and practical exercises, each course takes approximately 30 minutes to complete

  • 23 course topics cover core business competencies in the areas of finance, marketing, operations, communication, and special topics such as leadership, social entrepreneurship, and energy efficiency.

  • Students receive a certificate of completion for each course that can be printed or downloaded

  • Over 200,000 users globally and available in six languages


How can I use it?

HP LIFE e-Learning can be used as

  • A resource for a high school or community college entrepreneurship or business courses

  • Part of an entrepreneurship club or program

  • A tool for the SkillsUSA entrepreneurship business planning contest

  • A guide for technical students who want to start a business

  • Professional development for people wanting to learn more about starting or growing a business


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