On March 2, we had 51 of our best supporters – members of the SkillsUSA Championships technical committees here at the national center for their annual meeting. They were getting ready for conference, but while we had them here we took advantage of their expertise by holding a Web conference on preparing for participation in competitions. It was a very interactive session with lots of questions and sharing with teachers and students. Six of our technical committee chairs spoke including: Bill Chenaille, Photography; Greg Doster, Major Appliance Technology; Wayne Hawley, Electronics Technology; Scott Norman, Automotive Service Technology; Sharon Schaub, Executive Committee; and Jim Wall, Precision Machining Technology. Board President Cameron Ferguson called the event to order. The Web cast is archived at http://www.skillsusa.org/compete/webconf09.shtml.
We met with the Champions for Change Technical Advisory Committee in Washington at the National Homebuilders Institute on March 3. Nineteen people participated. Nine of the experts represented organizations with particular interests in assessments from both the education and employment sides including the Council of Chief State School Officers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. Insights and recommendations continue to be extremely helpful as we work on the Work Force Ready System’s service to vulnerable communities. It’s also clear that our experts are learning from each other and taking that information back for their own initiatives.
On March 5, we met with seven corporate executives to help us think strategically about what SkillsUSA should be doing to involve CEOs or other appropriate executives in SkillsUSA. We began our meeting with the Executive Advisory Group with an overview of the SkillsUSA program and accomplishments this past year and then took a quick look at the draft of our Vision 2020 document. Then we moved onto some of our priority funding projects to get the committee’s reaction. We received several recommendations on what are appropriate expectations for an alumni association and ways to develop staffing to carry out grants. Particular thanks go to executives of Adayana, Best Buy, Deere & Co., K2Share, Techtronic Industries (TTI), Snap-on Industrial, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wes Bartlett, western region vice president of SkillsUSA Maryland brought greetings and stayed to participate in the meeting. It was great to have him here.
On February 23, a number of staff members traveled to meet with staff at the Employment and Training Administration. The Department of Labor wanted a briefing on both the vulnerable community pilots in the Champions for Change project and the Skill Connect Assessments. They showed a lot of interest in both, and they’re particularly interested in the Employability Skill Assessment for use in DOL training programs. We’ve been invited to contact the Workforce Investment Boards and the One-Stop Centers.
In a subsequent meeting, Kisha Ajose of the Miami Job Corps and I met with Esther Johnson, national director of the Job Corps. After Kisha’s presentation, Esther invited us to make a presentation on the SkillsUSA program in the Job Corps setting during the national Job Corps meeting this fall. We’re looking forward to it.
And, speaking of Job Corps, Brenda Quinn of intelitek reports that she’s working on the opening of a new Job Corps center in New Hampshire, and it’s her plan to have SkillsUSA built into the instructional program right from the start.
- On March 4, I was back in Washington at the National Press Club for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) event announcing the Manufacturing Skills Certification System. Board member Emily DeRocco moderated. That only seemed fair. After all, the whole initiative came out of her shop at NAM. It was great to meet with old friends and leaders of sponsoring organizations including Steve Mendes of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, Leo Reddy of the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing and Ray Shook of the American Welding Society. For the NAM news release, please click on http://www.nam.org/NewsFromtheNAM/SkillsCertificationSystem.aspx.
- Our long-time friend Rocco Marano, now retired from the National Association of Secondary School Principals, stopped by on February 26 to talk about a new project he’s taken on with the Energy Education Foundation. The foundation is working to get students involved in local and online initiatives for energy and Rocco believes SkillsUSA is a natural fit.
- In current travel news, board member and YDF Chairman Greg Rintala visited the national center recently to review some things for the finance committee and to work on the agenda for the YDF meeting in California.
- And, I just returned from Atlanta where Lowe’s and Kobalt Tools, in partnership with SkillsUSA staff, kicked off the new Tough Tools for Cool Schools program on March 6. Lowe’s is donating more than $300,000 worth of Kobalt tools to 500 SkillsUSA building and construction trades programs across the country. The first set of tools was delivered by three-time NASCAR champion, Jimmie Johnson to Lovejoy High School just prior to the March 8 Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Spring Cup Series race. Johnson’s No. 48 Impala SS will also showcase a SkillsUSA logo and a special Tough Tools for Cool Schools paint scheme when he races on April 5 at the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Special thanks to SkillsUSA Georgia director Gayle Silvey for her work on this event.
SkillsUSA students and teachers nationwide are asked to lend their technical expertise and leadership skills to help others during the SkillsUSA National Week of Service, scheduled for May 3-9, 2009. The annual event is conducted in honor of the May 8 anniversary of the founding of SkillsUSA. The SkillsUSA National Week of Service shines a spotlight on our dedication to serving others while showcasing the skills of career and technical education students who are learning to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Many SkillsUSA chapters are already participating in local community service projects. What we ask is that you hold an event during the week of May 3-9. By coordinating hundreds of events to be held during the same week, SkillsUSA has the potential to command nationwide attention.
We’re offering a SkillsUSA gift item to all chapter advisors who send in a brief report on their community service activities held during May 3-9. Just let us know in a paragraph or two about what your chapter did to help your community, and we’ll send you a gift to say thanks for keeping us informed. Reports are due by May 31. Digital photos are also encouraged with your report.
For planning materials, go to http://www.skillsusa.org/events/service.shtml
Please e-mail reports and photos of your community service efforts to Karen Perrino, SkillsUSA director of marketing, at email@example.com. (Please be sure to include your full name, school name and address, a daytime telephone number and all of the project details.
SkillsUSA encourages all Spring 2009 high school or college graduates to join more than nine million other former members in the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends organization.
We’re extending our offer of a free alumni membership to all currently registered members. Members are sent a link to our online magazine, SkillsUSA Champions as well as the online Alumni forum. SkillsUSA is working to provide more networking opportunities for alumni, and more opportunities for involvement at the local, state and national level.
State directors, please ask your state officers and other graduating members to join! Every alumni member counts to build a larger, more powerful SkillsUSA voice. Then, please publicize the following opportunity to your chapter advisors:
SkillsUSA advisors who sign up 10 or more students for the SkillsUSA alumni association can enter a drawing to win a free trip!
Step 1: To have your students register, send them to the following link to sign up. It only takes a minute: http://www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumnireg.shtml.
Step 2: Keep a list of the names of students who sign up for alumni. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your list of student names. You will then be entered into a drawing for two airline tickets anywhere in the continental United States. Drawing will take place May 1, 2009. Each 10 names counts for one chance to win the trip and you may register as many alumni members as you like.
The Ansell-sponsored Web site, http://www.SafetyCommunity.com, has created a dedicated group for SkillsUSA students, faculty and staff. The group was created to offer SkillsUSA leaders the opportunity to find safety training resources and share knowledge with industry professionals. The SkillsUSA group is located at http://www.safetycommunity.com/group/skillsusa. The SafetyCommunity.com SkillsUSA group features:
- A tips and networking discussion forum for students, faculty, staff and safety professionals to share advice on education, best practices, training and safety.
- Networking capabilities so that SkillsUSA leaders can connect and converse with professionals and experts in the field.
- A helpful links section where students, faculty and staff can find links to Web sites that offer information on the safety industry and ways to get involved in the field.
- News feeds with updated information on industry trends and happenings.
There is also an opportunity to enter a Safety Community Contest. There will be five winners of the contest and each will receive a $250 American Express gift certificate. For more information and a link to a PowerPoint presentation that explains the rules of the contest go to: http://www.skillsusa.org/educators/safety.shtml
There is a great deal going on here, but almost all of it is moving so think of this as the motion-capture edition of SkillsUSA events as they race by toward completion.
We had a good Webcast on February 10 in celebration of SkillsUSA Week, and it is archived at http://web.ganconference.com/?meeting=3913885. It contains lots of good information on the state of SkillsUSA including some of our advocacy with the Obama administration and instruction on using the SkillsUSA advocacy site to write to Congress among other things. We sent out an e-mail to our active advisor list wishing them a happy SkillsUSA week and giving them a link to the 30-minute Webcast.
We’ve had three good conference calls with Lowe’s recently. One focused on Lowe’s hiring SkillsUSA graduates including use of the N.E.W. job board on the SkillsUSA Web site. Another call revolved around support of the National Leadership and Skills Conference and the third was on the new sustainability competition.
On February 19, I had a promising meeting with the president/CEO of K2Share, the company that manages CareerSafe, the online OSHA 10-hour card training and testing system. Larry Teverbaugh’s company makes a donation to SkillsUSA for every student who signs up for CareerSafe, and Larry is looking for ways to increase his financial support for SkillsUSA.
On Monday, February 23, I joined some other staff members for a visit at the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor. We reported on progress of the Work Force Ready System and on the vulnerable community pilot sites under Champions for Change. We were joined by Kisha Ajose from the Miami Job Corps Center and by Dave Daly and Rick Gonzalez from ASTRACOR in Alexandria. I also met with Esther Johnson, national director of Job Corps, and she got a clear picture on how SkillsUSA can meet the needs of Job Corps sites.
On March 5, we’ll have a meeting of the new ambassadors for SkillsUSA—top-level executives who will help build our corporate networking so we can reach higher levels of funding. The work of the ambassadors will be a big topic for the Youth Development Foundation when we’re at Toyota in California later in March.
The SkillsUSA Alumni Association is offering two merit-based $500 scholarships to qualifying students. These scholarships recognize the unique qualities of SkillsUSA members including demonstrated leadership, commitment to community service and improving the image of career and technical education. To apply, students must fill out an application that documents their SkillsUSA and technical education achievements. The deadline is May 15, 2009.
To download the application, go to: http://www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumnischolar.shtml.
Questions on these scholarships can be directed to Danielle Rinker at (703) 737-0636 or by e-mail to email@example.com.