I want to thank our board, state association directors, corporate members, partners, students and teachers for all your outstanding efforts in 2008. It was a record-breaking year for SkillsUSA, and I look forward to working with all of you to make 2009 our best year ever. Happy 2009!
We had an interesting and productive board meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on December 3. Some of the board members were present and several others were beamed in via Webinar technology. Looking ahead toward our January 12-15 staff strategic planning, the board reviewed some of the research we’ve done for the Vision 2020 initiative (how we would like to see the SkillsUSA organization by the year 2020). The complete research results from SkillsUSA members and stakeholders are still in the process of being compiled and analyzed, but it is clear in the early results that students feel strongly about having more opportunities through SkillsUSA to do service and to work on sustainability and “green” projects.
As a consequence, the board recommended that staff, during its planning for 2010 and 2011, maintain the same five goal areas of marketing, membership service, training, fiscal integrity and advocacy, but that there will be focus on objectives to provide community service and environmental programs opportunities.
A big thank you goes to board member Sue Smith of Newell-Rubbermaid and the IRWIN team for hosting the meeting, for meals and providing us with the technology for the Web cast. It was also great to see former board member Neil Eibeler during the meeting.
SkillsUSA had a good ACTE conference December 4 through 6. There were lots of visitors to our trade show booth. This year, we featured SkillsUSA’s program and the Work Force Ready System. Interest was high in both areas. According to staff, there was a steady stream of people coming by to see the demonstration of the Skill Connect Assessments. More than 30 people attended the 9 a.m. workshop on Skill Connect Saturday morning. Other staff members were all busy in the trade show and giving four additional workshops on the Champions for Change vulnerable community pilots, service learning, SkillsUSA programs and on how to use the combination of CSEP, PDP and employability skills assessments.
Of course, one of the best parts of any ACTE conference as far as I’m concerned is having student national officers there representing the organization and getting to spend time with the staff. Brittany Moon, high school division president and Zachary Ferguson, college/postsecondary secretary were the officers with us, and they did a great job.
Brittany was also with me on Thursday, December 4 while I visited some businesses in Charlotte. Kelly Persons of Lowe’s set up the visits and traveled with us for the full day. First, we visited Duke Energy where they’re interested in supporting initiatives in teacher training, sustainability and alternative fuels and diversity. Next, we visited Rodgers-Dooley Construction, one of the premier commercial builders in the area. Both firms are interested in the SkillsUSA program, but their focus is on the states where they do business: North and South Carolina, Ohio and Indiana. For its part, Lowe’s talked with me about expanding its national partnership as well as some new initiatives to increase support at the state level all across the country.
- SkillsUSA publications were recognized for excellence by Association TRENDS Magazine. Out of over 300 entries, SkillsUSA Champions took silver in quarterly magazines “What is SkillsUSA?” took gold in the informational CD or video category and the revised Professional Development Program took gold in the educational program category.
- On December 10, staff and I visited with the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association (KCCVA) and with Hartsook, our fund-raising consultants, in Kansas City. Much of our meeting was dedicated to the fund-raising campaign for 2009. We talked about broadening fund raising to a larger area than just Kansas City. The KCCVA is optimistic about new hotels downtown being under construction during the next five years. And, SkillsUSA plans to hold a meeting in January with I-Build, a construction competition for middle-school students that is gaining popularity in Kansas City. Perhaps there are some areas of synergy.
- The Lowe’s grant applications are in for community service and campus improvement projects and staff is busy reviewing all of them to select the finalists. Staff reports there are some good-looking proposals.
- On December 12, we held our annual holiday celebration and staff recognition event with a trip to Washington, D.C. We visited the National Christmas Tree and the National Botanical Garden and then went to marvel at the newly remodeled and just reopened Smithsonian American History Museum. After lunch in D.C. we climbed aboard the motor coach and headed back to the national office to recognize our wonderful staff. It was a great day.
Chapters are asked to work with their local TV production training programs to film and submit video of SkillsUSA community service projects. We’d like to see top quality footage submitted on DVD for possible use in an upcoming national video project. Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2009.
- Each video must be approximately 2 minutes in length and submitted as full-quality/full-frame (720×480 pixels) recorded DVDs
- Please send each video in Beta SP, Beta, MiniDV, DVD or MiniDVD
- Include name and phone number for the instructor, school name and full address
- Please submit to: Danielle Rinker, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. Questions? Contact Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-737-0610.
State Farm Insurance is, once again, generously sponsoring regional Professional Development Program (PDP), Chapter Management Institute (CMI) seminars and Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) seminars. There will be one training session (CMI, PDP or CSEP) per region. All materials and training will be free to participants. The only cost is $30 for lunch and breaks. PDP participants will receive a complete set of PDP materials and free licenses for each level. CMI participants will receive an ASK CD, a SkillsUSA Leadership Handbook and the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards CD package. CSEP participants will receive one free CSEP license.
If you would like to sign-up for or host a regional PDP training seminar, CMI training seminar or CSEP training seminar, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or email@example.com. A minimum of 25 participants is needed to conduct the training.
For the latest seminar information, go to our training page.
Special training seminars in service learning are coming up for college/postsecondary instructors. The first of the State Farm funded seminars will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on January 23 and includes both CSEP and service learning training. The deadline for registration is January 9. A second seminar on just service learning will be held in Marietta, Georgia on February 6 and will be held regardless of the number of registrants. For more information, go to our service learning page.
There is also a new Quick Reference Guide to the College/Postsecondary Program of Workavailable online. The guide includes a section on service learning and is available as a PDF download at this link. If you would like to sign-up for the CSEP/service learning seminar in New Mexico or the service learning seminar in Georgia, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SkillsUSA and Lowe’s are jointly awarding Sed de Saber grants to local SkillsUSA chapters. We are actively seeking schools to implement Sed de Saber as a community service program and schools can apply for up to $10,000 to implement it.
The Sed de Saber learning system is an interactive and proven English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) tool that helps break the language barrier. It fosters a more skilled work force and ultimately reduces accidents and fatalities. The program is available in English for Construction, English for Hospitality or English for Everyone. The learning centers around a leap-frog style learning unit that is fun, interactive and portable (much like the leap-frog computer and games).
How Schools Can Implement Sed de Saber
Apply for a Sed de Saber grant for up to $10,000. To apply, please complete the grant application at this link.
The application deadline is January 30, 2009. Grants may be used during spring 2009 or fall 2009.
A SkillsUSA chapter can determine how the Sed de Saber program is implemented. For example, the learners might meet once a week after school and include students plus family members who want to improve their English, or members of the community who want to learn or improve their English. This could be a mentoring program for younger students too.
Typically, Sed de Saber participants sign out their units through the school library and take them home for practice, taking them back each week for a group session. Our students, who can serve as mentors and instructors for the program, will lead the weekly meeting to answer questions or help learners overcome any challenges.
Length of Program
The completion time for the program ranges from six weeks to four months, depending upon the individual learners enrolled in the program and how often the group meets.
Cost of Sed de Saber
The program costs approximately $545 per learner (free with a Lowe’s grant), which includes a computer, booklets, a tutoring-by-phone support system and a pre/post program learner assessment. Once SkillsUSA and Lowe’s approve an application, Sed de Saber will assign an account manager to help plan and implement the community service learning program. We suggest working with a small group of 5 to 10 learners at a time.
Questions? Karen Perrino at email@example.com or 703-737-0610. Thanks for your help in getting word of this program out to SkillsUSA local chapters!