Through our contacts at State Farm, SkillsUSA is now mentioned on Mike Rowe’s personal Web site: www.mikeroweworks.com/job-site. If you are not aware, Mike Rowe is the host of the Discovery Channel show “Dirty Jobs.” One of Mike’s personal projects is to promote skilled labor and Career and Technical Education. State Farm has had calls with Mike’s business group and will be uploading video to the site as well. At our National Leadership and Skills Conference, State Farm plans to conduct interviews with various partners to also post on Mike’s site.
We had an excellent Youth Development Foundation meeting in Torrance, California at Toyota, March 24-25. A dozen companies were represented. Much of the discussion centered on maintaining or building corporate support given the state of the economy. Foundation members are cautiously optimistic about future support. Peyton Sellers also attended, and there was discussion of further NASCAR related promotions with Jig-A-Loo.
Dave Camden said that despite the economic challenges, he “wanted to do this meeting the Toyota way,” and he did. Toyota Senior Vice President Robert C. Daly addressed the group as did Group Vice President, Toyota Customer Services Jane Beseda. Almost just as good, Toyota announced it was increasing its contribution to SkillsUSA by $10,000 this year. That’s good news no matter what the state of the economy. Thanks go to Dave and Toyota for being exceptional hosts. The next YDF meeting will be held in Calgary during the WorldSkills Competition.
I want to express SkillsUSA’s appreciation to the YDF members who stepped up to sign a letter to the Obama Administration and to Congress requesting increased funding for career and technical education. The Association for Career and Technical Education, the National Association of Directors for Career and Technical Education consortium and the National Association of Community Colleges requested the support. All three were very happy to add the support of business leaders to the letter. To see the final version of the letter go to: http://www.acteonline.org/uploadedFiles/Issues_and_Advocacy/files/FY10_President_Signon.doc.
The weekend of April 4 was a big SkillsUSA NASCAR weekend in Texas. The SkillsUSA logo appeared on two cars in two races. Peyton Sellers was in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. He raced with SkillsUSA’s logo on the rear quarter panel of his car. Jimmie Johnson had the full color SkillsUSA logo on the rear deck of his Lowe’s car and the “Tough Tools for Cool Schools” logo on the full rear panel.
I also interviewed with the Speed Channel personality-and SkillsUSA alumna as well as Championships medalist-Wendy Venturini at the track. The NASCAR promotions of our sponsors and partners are definitely paying off in increased visibility for SkillsUSA, not only in print, but in television coverage as well.
For information on Jimmie Johnson and the Tough Tools for Cool Schools program, visit: www.skillsusa.org/about/toughtools.shtml. There’s additional information at: www.lowesracing.com/Team-Lowes/Jimmie-Johnson/What-Are-You-Doing-Jimmie/Tough-Tools-for-Cool-Schools.aspx.
- We held a National Coordinating Council of Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) meeting in Washington on March 23 with transition staff at the U.S. Department of Education. It’s great to have the input. It was also good to hear that most of the other CTSOs are experiencing growth. As SkillsUSA has done, however, they are looking for ways to tighten their budgets. Also on the shared information front: those CTSOs that accept national conference pre-registration reported that their registrations are up slightly.
- The first eight Skill Connect Assessments were available for on March 16. After 2-3 business days on the market and a spring break in between, SkillsUSA sold more than 850 assessments and the orders continue to arrive. The most popular assessments thus far (not necessarily in order) are Employability, Welding, Cosmetology, Computer Maintenance Technology and Advertising Design.
- Staff held a National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) countdown meeting last Monday. It looks as though everything is on track. SkillsUSA University has even more sessions than last year. It’s logging in at 83 seminars and workshops. Staff is working with the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association (KCCVA) to arrange assignments in light of staff reductions at KCCVA.
- In state conference news, I attended the Maryland state conference in Baltimore County with Chuck Wallace March 21. It was Maryland’s largest conference ever. I was pleased to be the award ceremony speaker and to shake hands with all of the winners. On March 26 and 27, I spoke at the opening ceremony and the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the Texas College/Postsecondary conference in San Antonio. Stacy Scott ran a great conference at St. Phillips Community College in the Alamo Community College District. The conference was well attended, and there was good sponsor support including the Army, Air Products and Snap-on.
- In the news, staff reports that in comparing the first three months of news coverage from January 1, 2008 through March of 2009, our top three categories are state and local competitions, local coverage and trade sponsor related coverage. Local coverage (using our VOCUS system) is up 62 percent; state and local competition coverage is up 77 percent, and trade and sponsor related coverage is up 93 percent. A lot of coverage picked up in the last category is from the racing-related promotion.
- In news on advocacy, between March 27 and March 30, we asked our active advisors to contact their Members of Congress to ask them to sign a “Dear Colleague” letter supporting CTE funding. We know 95 people wrote to Congress, and that doesn’t count the number who called.
- Finally, I just want you all to know that I ran (and survived) a 10K race with my daughters in Richmond on March 28. There were 33,000 people in the race, and I was in the middle somewhere, so, I just had to keep moving.
We need your help with the National Courtesy Corps annual auction. The Auction Committee is collecting items and will hold an auction on June 26th to raise money to help support the National Courtesy Corps. As you know, the Courtesy Corps members work all week at the conference in many areas helping set up/tear down, run errands and assist the National Education Team, Conference Management Committees and national staff wherever needed.
If you have items that would sell at the auction and you would like to donate them, please either mail them to the attention of: NCC Auction, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. Or, bring them with you to the conference and drop them off at the NCC Auction collection station that will be set up in the national conference registration area in Lobby 2100.
Please also plan to attend the auction and join in the fun-remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so be sure and clean out your closets and garages and send us some treasures.
Many community colleges engage students in community service. But, do your campuses use it as a vehicle for learning? Recent studies show that a service-learning component improves student achievement and campus retention. Learn how community colleges and SkillsUSA can team up to create a national model where community service is an integral piece of classroom instruction and how to use and integrate it onto your classes. Cost is $50 per registrant. Presenter: Barbara Wallace, Director, College Success Program. UC Clermont College. Workshop will run 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Downtown Marriott, Royal Room. Deadline for registration: May 27. Pre-registration required.
We recently received an e-mail request from Calgary, Canada schools. They would like WorldSkills member countries/regions to participate in a pen pal program with Calgary schools. There are 152 elementary and middle schools that are involved with the One School, One Country (OSOC) program. The participating schools are adapting their curriculum to learn about a WorldSkills member country/region’s values, traditions and culture. They believe this program will provide the 50,000 students with a look to their future and the possibility of a career in skilled trades or technologies.
School system Calgary elementary schools are grades one (1) to six (6). Middle schools vary with grades between one (1) and nine (9). Their grade one (1) students are 5-6 years old while grade nine (9) students are 14/15 years old. The total number of students per school ranges from as little as 50 to as many as 800.
They are asking for any schools or classes that would like to exchange e-mails or letters with a Calgary school or class, to send the contact information to Debra Stark no later than May 1. The Pen Pal relationships should be set up by the first part of May. Debra’s e-mail address is email@example.com.
A sample release will be added in a few days to the SkillsUSA advocacy site. It’s a template to be used by state association directors, instructors and others to get the word out to the media about the students who qualified to compete in the SkillsUSA Championships. The news release can be sent to local media through the advocacy site five outlets at a time. The site can be reached by going to: http://capwiz.com/skillsusa/home/
Please use this valuable tool to let the news media know about their students.
We received some great TV exposure on Saturday, April 4 and a great testimony about SkillsUSA from SPEED Channel reporter and SkillsUSA alumna, Wendy Venturini.
SkillsUSA was in attendance at the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway where Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Impala SS showcased a Tough Tools for Cool Schools paint scheme.
Thanks to all those who work with the Lowe’s partnership that made this coverage possible! The interview is below:
The board held a productive two-and-one-half hour Webinar meeting on March 19 chaired by board President Cameron Ferguson. Nearly all of the board members were present for the meeting, and they plowed through a fairly heavy agenda. Among the significant outcomes:
The board approved a revised FY2009 budget reflecting some moves to be cautious with SkillsUSA budgets during these challenging economic times. SkillsUSA appears to be well positioned to handle the current recession, but staff and board want to be sure none of SkillsUSA’s essential services to its members are interrupted. That is the reason for the budget course correction.
The board approved the FY2010 strategic plan and budget with some amendments to the objectives that will address the need to build alumni membership and to prepare for budget adjustments in FY2010 if warranted by the economy.
The board also reviewed and commended the work of the Vision 2020 committee. Vision 2020 is a board initiative to assure that SkillsUSA is working strategically to create the place where it needs to be for its members 12 years from now. Subsequent meetings are scheduled for the committee to craft the organization’s vision and to be prepared to share it with SkillsUSA members and leaders during the national conference in June.
Much of the committee work was done in online meetings held March 10-12. The board reviewed the committee work during its full meeting on the 19th. Thanks go out to the three committees.
This was Kelly Bever’s last official board meeting. Kelly assured the board she would still “be around” and ensured State Farm’s continuity on the board by asking Russ Hoffbauer, director, Property and Casualty Claims at State Farm, to fill her position. Thanks go to Kelly for her work on behalf of SkillsUSA. She has particularly looked out after our students. We look forward to working with Russ.