December 1st, 2013
We’ve recently had some good opportunities to make some important connections with groups of SkillsUSA stakeholders from across the country.
On November 4-5, I traveled to Houston, Texas and participated in a meeting with Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) and four of our state association directors. This was one of several regional meetings IAA is holding to connect their local and regional managers with SkillsUSA in the states where they do business. We met at IAA’s Houston facility and were joined there by state directors Stacy Scott and Pat Conner (Texas), Larry Rabalais (La.) and Darren Gibson (Okla.). IAA was represented by their corporate HR director and a corporate vice president (both from their Chicago headquarters), and a branch manager and three managers from the aforementioned states. IAA became an official sponsor last year, and they are very impressed with our students. They are developing strategies to hire our students, and this meeting was a wonderful opportunity to bring our state leaders together face-to-face with the industry leaders who will be doing the hiring. IAA is working with us to plan a similar meeting on the west coast early in 2014.
November 30th, 2013
For three days during first week of November, we hosted a college/postsecondary task force meeting at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center in Leesburg. This was an extremely important meeting as we brought together key stakeholders from our college/postsecondary markets to help us develop strategies to engage more postsecondary participation in SkillsUSA. This market holds huge potential for us, and the work of the task force will be integrated into our strategic plan. Members of the task force came from across the nation and included state and national student officers, alumni who completed postsecondary programs, two postsecondary state association directors, postsecondary teachers, administrators and current student members. The meetings were led by staff members, Kelly Horton and Gayle Silvey. We provided a report on their work at the Wednesday board meeting.
November 30th, 2013
On November 5, the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) released a report stating that career and technical education is increasingly being recognized as an important part of public education and citing the groundbreaking Pathways to Prosperity report (http://tinyurl.com/pry82fm) issued by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and two new reports offering more support for CTE.
The first report (http://tinyurl.com/oxh9t3z) was written by Jean-Claude Brizard, a former high school administrator and CEO of Chicago Public Schools and now a senior advisor at The College Board.
The second report (http://tinyurl.com/pelbwq3), co-authored by Harry J. Holzer of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy, Dane Linn of The Business Roundtable, and Wanda Monthey of The College Board, was released this past week. This report emerged from a convening of a large group of CTE researchers, practitioners and policymakers who met to identify what constitutes high-quality CTE. Holzer, Linn and Monthey examine the labor market environment confronting young people today and discuss what they believe to be the characteristics of CTE programs that address those challenges. The report illustrates the interest in CTE being expressed by influential voices outside the immediate field of CTE.
November 29th, 2013
SkillsUSA will be participating at ACTE’s CareerTech Vision 2013 Conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and the booth (#319) will be open on December 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on December 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, we have three sessions scheduled, and we hope if you’re there, you’ll stop by. Here they are — Enhance Your SkillsUSA Chapter on December 6 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Room N229 and Why SkillsUSA? from 2:45-4:15 p.m. in Room N224. And, Your “Easy Button” Teaching and Assessing Workforce Ready Skills and Career-ready Practices in the CCTC Standards on December 7 from 8:30-10:00 a.m. in Room N224.
Jen Polz, our State Association Director Chairperson and Minnesota director, has been named as a finalist for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) National Outstanding Educator Award. Our congratulations go to Jen, and we look forward to seeing her on the stage in Las Vegas during the ACTE CareerTech Vision 2013 Convention.
This year’s ACTE CareerTech Vision 2013 awards banquet will feature U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Also scheduled to be in attendance is the Assistant Secretary of Education from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Brenda Dann Messier. More information can be found on their webpage at: www.acteonline.org/vision_banquet.
November 29th, 2013
SkillsUSA has signed on as a partner to the “Million Women Mentors” initiative co-sponsored by STEMconnector and the National Girls Collaborative Project. The goal is to engage one million male and female Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics mentors from business, academe, government and non-profit sectors to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to persist and succeed in STEM programs, coursework, degrees and careers.
Other partners include Google, Accenture, Cisco, Walmart and 4-H. There are no financial obligations involved in the partnership. At some point, SkillsUSA will be counting and reporting on our female students in STEM-related curricula, national contests and the teachers and business partners that work with them. I will be attending the announcement of this initiative at an event at the National Press Club on December 8.
November 27th, 2013
Here is a current listing of scholarships offered for the school year. Be sure to check back often as we will add more scholarships to the list. Go to: www.skillsusa.org/downloads/PDF/scholarships.pdf
November 27th, 2013
The Technology Student Association (TSA), in cooperation with the Verizon Foundation, Samsung and the MIT Center for Mobile Learning, is offering a competition for students from any middle or high school (they don’t have to be members of TSA). Teams just need a faculty advisor to submit the entry.
To begin, gather a team of five to seven students who wish to creatively solve a problem in your school or community by developing a mobile app that incorporates STEM principles and content. (Bonus points will be given for apps that address education, healthcare, or energy conservation.) More than one team is permitted from a school. Register by December 17 at: www.verizonfoundation.org/appchallenge.
Then prepare a three-minute video describing the app and how it will function. Submit an essay that demonstrates the team’s understanding of the design process, the app’s functionality, and its potential impact or outcome. And, submit a form signed by the school’s principal or administrator agreeing to the Challenge’s rules and use of the prize money.
Eight winning schools will receive a $20,000 cash grant. Plus, the students retain intellectual property rights to the app, which can be brought to the open market. And, each student on a winning team gets a Samsung Galaxy tablet and is invited to attend the 2014 National TSA Conference in Washington, D.C. in June to present their app to more than 5,000 attendees.
November 26th, 2013
Because SkillsUSA is a certifying organization of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, advisors, student members and registered alumni can earn recognition for community service activities and time spent as a volunteer.
This award is a presidential honor that recognizes the valuable contributions of volunteers nationwide who are answering a national call to serve others through their current volunteer activities or lifetime service. As a certifying organization, SkillsUSA can identify eligible recipients, verify their service hours and distribute the award to outstanding volunteers.
Given participation in ongoing service activities, advisors and students may already meet the requirements to receive the award. To qualify, SkillsUSA members, advisors or alumni can submit a record of their service hours. State directors are also encouraged to document service hours and apply for the award.
For details on qualifying hours and requirements for submission, visit: www.skillsusa.org/students/volsvc.shtml. Applications must be received (not postmarked) by April 1, 2014.
November 26th, 2013
The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) offers scholarships that will provide tuition assistance as well as educational opportunities and enrichment events to qualified applicants.
The College Student Tuition and Conference Scholarship Award is presented to students (male or female) enrolled in a college/postsecondary collision repair/refinishing technology program. Each scholarship recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship to continue their postsecondary education in collision repair, a one-year WIN membership, plus the registration fee and travel expenses to attend the 2014 Education Conference.
The High School Tuition Scholarship Award is presented to students (male or female) enrolled in a secondary collision repair/refinishing technology program who plan to continue their studies at a technical school or college. Each scholarship winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship to continue their postsecondary education in collision repair and a one-year WIN membership.
The deadline for applications is January 15, 2014. For scholarship requirement details and submission instructions, go to: www.thewomensindustrynetwork.ning.com and click on scholarships.