Legal / Privacy / Index / Membership Login
StudentsEducatorsSupportersAbout UsEventsCompeteJoinConnectShopContact

Home > Tim's Blog

ACTE T&I Awards

August 21st, 2014

The Association for Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE) Vision 2014 is coming up November 19-22, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. In preparation for Vision 2014, I want to call your attention to our new Trade and Industrial Education Division Awards.

As a SkillsUSA member, you have the unique perspective of knowing and interacting with Trade and Industrial Education members who are leaders in the CTE community. Additionally, you likely also know of other individuals who serve as great candidates for the Lifetime Service Award.

The awards categories include T&I New Teacher Award, for those with less than 5 years teaching experience; Teacher Award for those with 5+ years of experience; and  the Lifetime Service Award, to recognize those who, while may not be ACTE members, have made significant contributions to CTE. Download the forms for guidelines on each of the award categories. The Award Guidelines can also be found on our T&I Webpage by clicking on,  and scrolling down to the bottom.

We all know someone who we think goes over and above to promote CTE and is deserving of the recognition of their peers. Consider nominating someone for one of the T&I Awards using this new streamlined process, but remember, all nominations are due by September 15, 2014.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Alex Gromada:

2014 Student Leadership Development Scholarship Winners

August 21st, 2014

Congratulations to the following four recipients of the 2014 Student Leadership Development Scholarship  – Washington Leadership Training Institute ($800 each):

  • Sierra Gobert, Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Ariz.
  • Jacob Weber, Fairfield High School in Goshen, Ind.
  • Patrick Diaz, A & M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas
  • Dani Spangler, Putnam Career and Technical Center in Eleanor, W.Va.

Executive Director’s Report: August 15, 2014

August 15th, 2014

Meeting of the Student Organizations
On July 17, the student organization executive directors who are members of the National Coordinating Council of the Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) met in Arlington, Virginia at the headquarters of Phi Delta Kappa. Council meetings are always a good opportunity to share best practices and news and to work together as a group representing the CTSOs. An example of the last is the introduction drafts of new 20-page four-color booklets summarizing the value of career and technical education, student organizations and industry partnerships for every state. Prepared principally as advocacy tools, the booklets contain state profiles similar to the one-pagers here:, and logos of sponsors and supporters in the state. The back pages show spreadsheets of the individual schools in each congressional district, the number of CTSO members and the organizations represented in the school. If advocates speak not only of the number of members but family members and friends as well, the numbers can be impressive.

There was also a presentation on National Board Teaching Standards–National Board Certification. It’s a voluntary certification. Teachers have to have been in the profession at least three years. It’s a performance-based assessment developed by subject matter experts who are themselves National Board Certified. The group is in the process of developing standards for instruction in career and technical education, and CTSOs will be included as part of what it takes to be an accomplished CTE instructor. The certification process will specify that CTSOs should be part of the instructional program to guide all students – including nontraditional students – to be college and career-ready.


  • For your viewing pleasure, we have some new video clips from conference prepared by Tom Kercheval and posted on the SkillsUSA YouTube site. One is the speech given by Cameron Ferguson of Caterpillar during the Opening Ceremony. and another is Mike Rowe’s acceptance of the Torch Carrier Award during the Awards Ceremony.
  • Assessment revenues are up again this year. Patty Duncan has run the numbers, and Skill Connect Assessment revenue is up 16 percent over last year and ASE assessment revenues to SkillsUSA are up nine percent.
  • Dave Worden was in California from July 31 to August 3 working with Clay Mitchell, state association director, on the SkillsUSA California Championships. Dave reports that California is mimicking nearly every aspect of the national competition in both its regional and state contests. That includes getting industry heavily involved, education teams, aligning all contests with the national standards and running contests a full day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sounds exciting and promising for all concerned.
  • In the category of more improvements around here, the new donated Carrier air conditioning units for the national office were delivered last week and will be installed during the first week of September. Also, we’ll soon be able to check off one of the items in our energy audit, new lighter-weight and wind-resistant light poles were put up around the parking lot this week and they burn LED bulbs so they’re more energy efficient. And, the new accounting software package is continuing on schedule. Kim Graham and Missy Wilson had training for two days in July and there are two more days scheduled later this month.
  • The State Association Directors Annual Professional Development and Training Conference, August 12 - 16 in Louisville, Ky. has a packed agenda. We begin with new director training on August 11 and that continues into August 13. Of course, a major focus will be to get all of the directors oriented in Louisville. It’ll be a great conference.
  • And, one last thing. In the last edition I wrote about the move of the SkillsUSA Championships equipment from Kansas City to Louisville. What I’d forgotten to ask Jim Kregiel was how many miles were driven in the move. The answer was 24,610 miles, a little over eight trips across the continental United States. That was a big move!

That’s it for now. Until next time, thank you for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

ACTE is Looking for Volunteers

August 14th, 2014

ACTE is looking for volunteers from Tennessee for CareerTech VISION 2014. ACTE is accepting a limited number of student volunteers for this year’s conference for a variety of roles and responsibilities, including VIP assistance, digital media correspondence and event logistics. CareerTech VISION 2014 will be held November 19-22 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. If you know a student who is interested in this opportunity, please ask them to contact Sean Lynch, ACTE media relations manager, at: or 703-683-9312.

Free E-Learning Opportunities

August 14th, 2014

Receive a free resource item for attending E-Learning sessions!

State Association Directors…please pass the following message on to your advisors…

Ready for a great year? Ready for practical answers and useful solutions? Ready to empower your student members to lead your chapter to success? These 45-minute, online training sessions are designed to teach participants new information and skills that can be used to immediately strengthen your chapter. All sessions are presented at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST. Register for sessions today.

SkillsUSA Membership Hotline

August 14th, 2014

Have questions? Need answers? The SkillsUSA Membership Hotline can take care of all of your chapter questions. From how to start a new chapter, ways to engage more of your chapter members or strategies to strengthen your existing chapter, the hotline operators are standing by and ready to help. If you have questions or need assistance with online membership registration, the hotline operators can take care of that as well. Call toll free 844-875-4557.

Executive Director’s Report: August 1, 2014

August 1st, 2014

National Officers Preparing to Lead
We had 15 fine young students here from July 22 to July 30. As is often the case, they were a highly motivated group of achievers with lots of volunteer activity. Many of them credit SkillsUSA and career and technical education for changing their lives. (One officer wrote in his biographical summary that he was “acting out” more and more in school until he walked through the doors of the career center “and decided I’d better turn my life around.”) Many of them are AP students, honor society members and have leadership positions in other school organizations. They’re studying computer animation, criminal justice, automotive service, healthcare, pre-engineering and welding among others. And the work experience is varied too as it logically would be with 10 high school students and five college/postsecondary students. But, most of them have been working at something whether it’s delivering pizzas, babysitting and doing lawn care or working in an assisted living facility, welding and being a machine operator.

While they were here, they learned about facilitating, parliamentary procedure, branding, etiquette, ceremonies and public speaking. This is where they crafted their standard speech for the year. They also attended an outdoor team-building activity we call the “ropes course” and went on a tour of Washington, D.C.

The Big Conference Move
Everyone marvels at the Championships. I believe the most common response I hear from newcomers is “I didn’t know it was this big. You’ve got to be here to see it to believe it.” Well, after 21 years in Kansas City, this year we had to pack up that great big show, send it to Louisville and pack it away until next June. No one got to see it happen but Dave Worden and Jim Kregiel have been working for well over a year to move the Championships inventory to a new warehouse at a price SkillsUSA could afford. It’s done. The last trailer unloaded on July 6. I just thought I’d share some of the figures and highlight some of the support that made it possible:

  • We moved 21 semi-trailers and one flatbed trailer of materials totaling just about 770,000 lbs. of material.
  • We used 3,100 gallons of fuel in the move because the trucks were making round trips. There were four round trips total in convoys ranging from three to nine trucks.
  • A total of 24,610 miles were driven during the move. That’s slightly over eight trips across the continental United States.
  • The Teamsters locals in both Kansas City and Louisville were instrumental. We had 18 drivers from Kansas City and Louisville in addition to tractors and trailers. We also had tractors and trailers from Indianapolis and Minnesota Teamsters.
  • YRC (Yellow Roadway Corporation) provided two load drivers and a tractor and trailer
  • Idealease loaned us two tractors and 17 trailers.
  • We’ve used approximately three-quarters of the warehouse space. Added to the inventory are 18 new table saws for cabinetmaking and 65 new electric ranges.
  • Jim estimates the total savings made on the move was $159,000. Volunteer time from the Teamsters would be valued at $34,000 and the loaned equipment would have cost SkillsUSA $125,000.
  • And, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore was bowled over by the materials donated in Kansas City from PVC pipe and plywood to bricks and the retired stoves. According to the Kansas City Star, ReStore contracted with drivers for two semi-trucks with flatbed trailers to haul things away. We don’t know how many trips they made.

A big thank you and congratulations to Dave and Jim and all the partners who helped us move the big show to a new place.


  • News releases on medalists and on Skill Point Certificate recipients were emailed to daily newspapers, weeklies and to Chambers of Commerce before July 4. In all, 4,198 releases were sent on the medalists and 8,910 on the Skill Point recipients. We’re now in the process of sending the releases and information to Members of Congress and the governors.
  • I took a look at national conference participation in a great report Judy Garrison creates every year. While we didn’t have the large increases in female participation in attending the conference (34 percent) and as contestants (32 percent) as we did last year, we did see the trend continue. This year there were 4 percent more female contestants and 8 percent  more female participants than last year. Females were 39 percent of our conference participants and they were 37 percent our total membership last year. I was also pleased to see 1,585 of our chapters (schools) were represented at the conference. That’s an increase over last year and 43 percent of all our member schools.

That’s it for now. Until next time, thank you for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.


National Conference Survey

July 31st, 2014

If you attended the 2014 National Leadership and Skills Conference (including the SkillsUSA Championships) in June, we would like your feedback concerning the quality of your experience in Kansas City.

Please take a few minutes to complete our survey at the link below. All feedback is used for program improvement. To take the survey, go to:



Executive Director’s Report: July 15, 2014

July 15th, 2014

Superlatives are in place for SkillsUSA’s 50th National Leadership and Skills Conference and we certainly can say:

  • This was our largest conference in history.
  • It was a great celebration with some excellent speakers including Bill Prince at the Call to Action session. Bill was a student at the SkillsUSA founding in Nashville and a great example of what this organization is about.
  • Dynamic general sessions thanks to CAT and Lowe’s and to Cameron Ferguson and Chris Arvin (Caterpillar Inc.) and Troy Dally (Lowe’s Companies, Inc.), and of course, our own national staff).
* There were the most competitors ever with more than 6,000 entrants in 99 contests.
  • We had 466 special guests attending, 322 from business and 144 from education.
  • There were 1,985 volunteers for the SkillsUSA Championships alone including judges, technical committee and national education team members to name just a few.
  • And, we awarded 996 medals, gold, silver and bronze.

SkillsUSA was in the news before, during and after the conference week appearing on all four network affiliates numerous times, several times in the Kansas City Star including front page above the fold, and in other publications and radio. Our Kansas City media report lists 96 different instances of coverage prior to and shortly after conference. No wonder the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association says SkillsUSA is the gold standard when it comes to convention coverage.

Here’s one of my favorite superlatives. It’s a quote emailed to me from a Freightliner executive in Georgia. “The entire SkillsUSA National event has renewed my faith in the youth of today. Y’all do a really great job in helping those students find direction and purpose for their lives. I was really impressed with just how focused, driven, articulate and polite the SkillsUSA students were. They’re a real breath of fresh air. Congratulations on 50 years. What an inspirational couple days!”

And the members were talking and sharing on social media too. According to Craig Moore:

  • Our pre-conference Facebook “likes” grew over 1,500 to 19,976 post-conference.
  • Our YouTube views for the past 30 days are 17,667. That’s a 336 percent increase from the previous 30-day period.
  • Viewers watched a total of 63,279 minutes on YouTube during the past 30 days. That equals 43 days and 22 hours viewing, an increase of 140 percent over the previous 30-day period.
  • And, 55 percent of the viewers watched on computer, 30 percent on a mobile phone and 13 percent on a tablet.

But the best part is to tune in and read some of the posts from the students themselves. Craig has created a tagboard so you can scroll through Tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook posts and Google+ posts using the conference hashtag. Just go to the tagboard at

There’s also an outstanding “Week in Review” video from Tom Kercheval that does a great job of capturing the excitement of the conference in just five minutes, including the appearance of Mike Rowe at the end. Enjoy at and thanks to the partners who made it possible

Meeting with the Chiefs

Tuesday through Thursday this week, I was in Florida for the Chief State School Officers Career Readiness Task Force of 18 people including five of the chiefs and some education experts. (That’s where I come in.) We reviewed a draft of guiding principles and recommended action steps and best practices to teach career readiness. The goal of the task force is to help every student graduate “career ready.” Not surprisingly, defining “career ready” was one of the major discussions during the meeting. SkillsUSA was cited several times as an excellent model for business-education partnerships. The next meeting is in Washington D.C. in September, and in October, there will be a tour of two European education systems. The final report is due in November.

One of the pluses is getting quality time with the chiefs. I had extended visits with four of the five chiefs including Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland and Wisconsin. The chief from Kentucky has already promised me he’ll attend our national conference next year. I also spoke at length with a representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce foundation regarding a new vision and policy recommendations the foundation is working on for employer engagement with education. The focus is to develop the workforce that will close the skills gap. I’ve been asked to name one of our business partners to serve on the Chamber committee. And, I had a great visit with board member Scott Stump.


  • Congratulations to Wisconsin high school state director, Brent Kindred, for his election as president of the SkillsUSA Board of Directors, to Mike de Castro of Air Products as Vice President and to Chris Arvin of Caterpillar Inc. for his continuing role as Secretary. And, welcome to Maryland state director, Chuck Wallace, representing Region 1 and Alex Gromada representing ACTE and Southern Illinois CJAP.
  • And, finally, I just received the news release today on Friday that Colorado State CTE Director and board member Scott Stump has been elected president of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium (NASDCTEc) for the upcoming year. Congratulations, Scott.

That’s it for now. Until next time, thank you for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

Pave Your Way Into History!

July 15th, 2014

As you may know, the main walkway to SkillsUSA’s National Leadership Center will be refurbished with custom-engraved pavers to help celebrate our 50th anniversary of empowering our members to be world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.  You and students, teachers, alumni, corporate partners, volunteers and long-time friends have an opportunity to choose to commemorate their SkillsUSA experience or honor a cherished mentor and become part of SkillsUSA forever by purchasing a paver.

The easiest way to participate using your credit card is through our online store.  Please visit: to purchase your paver.  This is a secure site where you can submit your contribution and you will automatically receive a receipt.  If you prefer to participate by check, an order form is enclosed for state association directors to share. If the printed form is used, please complete it and mail it with a check to Karen Beatty at SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA, 20176.

Don’t forget to include what you want engraved on your paver (two lines, no more than 15 characters per line).  Individual adult pavers are $100; current SkillsUSA students may purchase a paver for $50 and State Associations and Corporate partners receive an 8″ x 8″ paver including logo for $500.

Thank you for your generous support and for helping SkillsUSA build for the future, brick by brick!

%d bloggers like this: