- On March 6, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and the Lowe’s Kobalt Racing Team will visit a SkillsUSA chapter in Lovejoy, Georgia near Atlanta to present the first of more than 500 tool sets being given across the country this year to SkillsUSA building trades labs. The students will be in official SkillsUSA attire because this will be a press event for the unveiling of Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s-sponsored car including the SkillsUSA logo. The car will run on April 5 Texas. On March 7, Johnson will meet up with more students at the Atlanta Speedway for another press event, and Lowe’s Kobalt Team will give Georgia SkillsUSA 250 tickets for the evening’s truck race.
- While on the subject of Lowe’s, I’m pleased to announce that Kelly Horton will be joining SkillsUSA as a consultant for the Lowe’s grant and for the SkillsUSA alumni association. Kelly has over 20 years of youth development experience with student organizations – starting as an FFA member – and came to us originally through ABG, Inc., consultants on the Kellogg Foundation grant.
- May I have a drum roll please? The Work Force Ready System and Skills Connect Assessments have a launch date. The first eight assessments will be available on March 16. It’s going to be a big day, and there are lots of details to work out, but I know we’ll make it.
- Membership continues to run ahead of last year. Twelve states have now exceeded last year’s overall state membership total. Congratulations go to: Alaska State Association Director, Ray Jensen; Arizona State Association Director, Scott Soldat; Connecticut State Association Director, Heidi Balch; Florida State Association Director, Carl Miller; Illinois State Association Director, Don Bauc; Maryland State Association Director, Charles Wallace; Maine State Association Director, Don Jalbert; Michigan State Association Director, Tammy Brown; Missouri State Association Director, Paul Light; Rhode Island State Association Director, Joshua Klemp (first to exceed last year’s total); Virgin Islands State Association Director, Anton Doos; and Vermont State Association Director, Jane Donahue-Holt.
- Even though most areas are looking up, in light of the uncertain economy and how it might affect SkillsUSA, we’ve asked staff to target 10 percent in budget cuts. It’s a challenge because so many contract agreements have already been signed and because SkillsUSA is always a lean organization. We certainly won’t cut any essential services.
- And, finally, a staff member just returned from Kansas City where he visited the Kauffman Foundation and looked at I-Build, a local middle school construction-related competition; TECHSPO stands at 113 exhibits; and, we’re busy working on the strategic plan and pulling a vision together from Vision 2020.
Tags: Membership, Partner News, Skill Connect Assessments, Work Force Ready System