The Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, Inc. (VICA) was founded in 1965 by students and teachers who were serious about their professions and saw the need for more training in the areas of leadership to complement their chosen vocation. In Nashville, Tennessee, 14 states were represented, as VICA chose it’s name, colors, motto, purposes and goals.
In 1969 the first theme was “Speak Up for America,” and the first handbook was published in 1970 with the theme being “Skills Build America.” Land was purchased for the National Leadership Headquarters in 1974 and ground breaking took place in 1978. Health Sciences Education became part of VICA in 1986. The Professional Development Program became a reality in 1988. The official name for the national competition became SkillsUSA Championships in 1995. SkillsUSA-VICA became the official name of the organization at the national National Leadership and Skills Conference on July 4, 1999.
In 2001, Timothy W. Lawrence, a former student member, became national executive director. Formerly national director of business and industry partnerships, Lawrence had also been a classroom instructor, industry employee, state association director and member of the Board of Directors. The same year an ex-officio position was created for National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium. On Sept. 1, 2004 the organization’s name officially changed to SkillsUSA.