July 15th, 2009
What were the students saying about this conference? “I’m so excited. I love it. It’s huge.” “I wouldn’t change a thing.” “It’s hot, but what can you do?” “I’ve met so many new people and I’m growing as a person.” “Everyone here is all pumped.” Here’s the fun part, you can see and hear these students for yourself. For the first time ever, the opening ceremonies and the awards session went out on streaming video and now both are archived and available online.
This was definitely one for the record books. With the effects of the economy on so many things, including local and state education budgets, I’ll admit I was a little uncertain that the conference registration and contestant numbers would hold at their record pace but they did. This was our biggest conference in history.
Nearly all the reactions I’ve received in phone calls and e-mails from members, state directors, sponsors, VIPs, exhibitors, technical committees and moms and dads have been positive. Just as the student said, if there were one thing I wish I could have changed to make this conference better, it would have been turning the temperature down at least 10 degrees.
Here are just a few of the highlights. There’s no way I can cover everything:
- Attendance was approximately 15,000 with 9,335 registrants and 5,346 contestants.
- We had over 300 VIP visitors. In fact, we’re getting so many VIPs that we need to take a look at board and YDF assignments in the future so we can handle them all appropriately.
- Announcement of the largest, single-year corporate donation in our history for $1.5 million from Lowe’s. And, that wasn’t the only donation. Air Products presented us with a check for $50,000 for alumni initiatives. Carrier presented us with a check for $11,000 and intelitek’s in-kind donation of student gifts totaled $121,000.
- This was the year of corporate giving to our students. Great give-aways from Lowe’s, Irwin, and the U.S. Army were highlights. Student gifts, scholarships and competitor prizes equaled more than $1 million in value.
- SkillsUSA Literature Service sales on site were nearly $12,000 and that’s $7,000 more than last year.
- TECHSPO participation was down as I’ve mentioned before but there were 27 new exhibitors and billing is at $314,000.
- We had the highest enrollment ever for Officer 101/201 with 196 students and instructors.
- The live streaming video — produced in cooperation with School Video News, SchoolTube and Bartha — had 3,047 computers tuned in to the opening ceremony with 6,635 total hits. On awards night, there were 4,846 computers tuned in and 13,300 total hits. It’ll be even better next year. To view the videos just link to www.skillsusa.org/events/nlscvideo.shtml.
Of course, the way we keep growing this conference is to take a look at what we’ve done right and where we can improve. We held a brief staff meeting on July 7 for a quick review. A more in-depth post-conference staff meeting will be held on July 20 and we’re also doing an online survey of state association directors and other stakeholders. In the main, staff felt we did well this time around. One thing is clear to me: we need to add or reconfigure staffing to meet our growing needs at conference.
There’s much more to cover but it will have to wait for later. Thanks go to our state association directors, corporate members and to our leadership on the board and on the YDF for making this a conference for the record books.
July 15th, 2009
The Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI), a five-day advanced leadership program for students and advisors, will be held September 19-23, 2009 at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport near the SkillsUSA National Center and Washington, D.C. Students who are interested must apply and be accepted through their respective state director’s office and have state approval prior to registering. Student sessions focus on how an individual can affect change: The impact of the individual as a leader, citizen and employee; learning advocacy skills and strategies, and participation in Congressional visits “on the Hill” are the culminating activities of the Institute.
Advisors will have a separate training track centered on becoming an advocate for career and technical education. WLTI forms are available online at www.skillsusa.org/events/wlti.shtml. Please contact the national office (1-800-321-8422) if you wish to have WLTI forms mailed/faxed to you. Questions about the application process can be directed to Deborah Kenn Tripp at 1-800-321-8422, Ext. 637.
July 15th, 2009
On Tuesday, September 22, the students and advisors attending WLTI will have time to go to Capitol Hill and visit with their Senators and Representatives between 10:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (The bus leaves at 3 p.m.) Appointments need to be set up ahead of time. A sample letter is available here
You are also welcome to use the SkillsUSA Champions Advocacy Site. You can download the sample letter – make your edits – and then you or your WLTI delegate can upload your letter to request appointments. You can access the site from the link above. From there, you plug in the zip codes and the rest is self-explanatory.
Note: letters sent by mail may take a month to reach Congressional offices because of security systems. We suggest those requesting appointments do so by e-mail or fax and then follow up with a phone call.
If you have questions, or need information about how to contact your representative, contact Jane Short at 703-737-0612 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
July 15th, 2009
Tony Glenn, Paul Williams and Glenn Barefoot are just leaving the SkillsUSA Board of Directors after serving their full terms. It’s been a time of important progress for SkillsUSA and they have been part of why that progress has happened. We’re excited to have two new members joining the Board. They are Holly Harriel, Career and Technical Education Specialist from Rhode Island and representing Region I and Marlys Bucher, Minnesota Department of Education and representing Region IV. Each brings considerable expertise to the work of SkillsUSA present and future. Finally, congratulations to new Board President Julie Yeater, Board Vice President Cameron Ferguson and to new Board Secretary Curtis Barnett on their elections.
The SkillsUSA state association directors held elections on Friday June 26 for the executive committee. Josh Klemp from Rhode Island and Steve Phillippi from Kentucky were re-elected to their positions representing Regions I and III respectively and Bruce McBurney from Washington high school division was elected Region V representative. Gail Silvey, Georgia high school division, was elected secretary, Kathie Collins-McKean, New York high school division was elected parliamentarian and Mike Cowles, Ohio, was elected president-elect.
July 15th, 2009
We are pleased to announce that four SkillsUSA projects have received Awards of Excellence in the annual APEX program. Our staff won recognition in these categories:
- Campaigns, Programs and Plans/Member and Customer Communications: 2009 SkillsUSA Membership Kit, by Karen Perrino and Danielle Rinker
- Electronic and Video Publications/Advertising and Marketing: SkillsUSA: A Partnership That Pays Off, by Tom Kercheval
- Electronic and Video Publications/Education and Training: Professional Development Program, Instructor’s Guide, by Ann Schreiber
- Magazines and Journals/Print: SkillsUSA Champions, by Tom Hall and staff (The magazine has won an Award of Excellence for six years running.)
APEX awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success of the entries in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence. For 21 years, APEX (Awards for Publication Excellence) has judged and presented these awards to professional communicators. From almost 4,000 total entries this year, about 31 percent were recognized with Awards of Excellence. A look at the list of winners shows that SkillsUSA’s communications are in the same league as those of many national associations, major corporations and communications firms. (Other winners include the Pepsi Bottling Group, Ford Motor Co., Lockheed Martin, Costco, AARP, Educational Testing Service, Walt Disney Co. and Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.)
July 15th, 2009
SkillsUSA has nearly 10 million former SkillsUSA members, and we are currently seeking new ways for those with a passion for the program to stay involved in future activities at the local, state and national levels. Many states have effective alumni programs tied to their fall leadership or spring state conference activities. Some local chapters have found useful ways to involve alumni in their programs.
If you have success stories, suggestions, or know of effective alumni engagement activities at local schools within your state, please share this information with our Alumni Coordinating Committee members or our national headquarters staff. We are conducting informal research and gathering ideas as we plan for FY10. Contact any committee member by e-mail using the links on the following Web page: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumnicoord.shtml
July 15th, 2009
Following the recent election, the 2009-10 Alumni Coordinating Committee has been announced:
Executive Chair: George Laubmeier, Wis.
Executive Secretary: Brittani Cockayne, Maine
Region 1 Representative: Kristen Smith, R.I.
Region 2 Representative: Albert Rice, Ark.
Region 3 Representative: Peggy Plowman, Mich.
Region 4 Representative: Brice Harader-Pate, Okla.
Region 5 Representative: Jessica Lueck, Wash.
State Association Director Liaison: Niki Clausen, Ore.
The committee members look forward to working with their respective state association directors during the coming year. The group is working to coordinate their first conference call. To contact your regional representative, go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumnicoord.shtml.
July 9th, 2009
In case you missed it, or just want to see it again, we have posted the video greeting by Mike Rowe that was shown at our Opening Ceremony on our Web site.
We are excited to be affiliated with Mike Rowe and appreciate his support. Please visit Mike’s site and thanks for all the hard work you do each day!