When SkillsUSA was founded in 1965, one of the founders’ goals was to give students and teachers a national voice. In part, our founders’ wishes continue to be realized. As a member of the Independent Advisory Panel of Experts to the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE), I’m proud to represent the viewpoints of CTE teachers and students as the research and reports are prepared for the U.S. Congress on the Perkins legislation. I met with the panel on October 26 and 27 to review the research and the draft of an interim report for Congress to be submitted early next year. The three top areas for research are the success of the programs of study as laid out in Perkins IV, accountability of instruction and fiscal responsibility. I’m serving on the subcommittee to prepare the full panel’s recommendations to accompany the report. Brenda Dann-Messier, the new assistant secretary for OVAE did stop by for a brief visit.
On October 30, we had representatives from five of the six pilot grant recipients under the SkillsUSA Champions for Change program here at the National Leadership Center for what we called the Virginia Retreat. (The group from Detroit attended WLTI.) Staff put together a comprehensive agenda of presentation and discussions with national staff on management of a complete SkillsUSA chapter. That includes methods for securing community support and industry involvement as well as publicity. Much of the agenda was aimed at developing a transition plan to take the sites from pilots to fully-functioning chapters adapted to meeting the needs of students after the Kellogg grant has finished. Following the morning meetings, the Alaska delegation went to the Frederick County Career and Technical Center in Maryland to see a full SkillsUSA chapter at work through an entire school.
- On October 21, I met in St. Louis with executives in the Global Opportunities Product Lifecycle Management division of Siemens. The meeting was arranged by board member Cameron Ferguson, Caterpillar, and student national officers Jason Brigner (Region III) and Brandon Mullings (college/postsecondary vice president) made the SkillsUSA presentations to Siemens. We talked about support for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam and getting their support on the Youth Development Foundation, on Championships technical committees and providing subject matter experts for engineering assessments in the Work Force Ready System. They’re very interested in giving software grants to schools.
- We signed an agreement with GAERF (Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation) to offer five co-branded PrintED/SkillsUSA Skill Connect assessments. The five are graphic communications, advertising design, screen printing, digital file preparation/digital file output and offset press operations/binding and finishing. News releases and official announcements are still being prepared. We’re very enthusiastic about this partnership because we are partnering with THE organization that certifies instructional programs and is recognized by the graphics/printing industry.
- My trip to California on October 16 and 17 went well. I worked with the California board on board training, state association policy and worked with them on strategic planning.
- Development of the instructional program for the Engineering Alliance is going well according to staff. Staff developed the EA logo, and we’re in the process of getting it trademarked.
- According to our marketing director, “Monster Garage” on the Discovery Channel is now talking about having eight SkillsUSA students participate in the programs to be taped at the end of November and possibly airing this coming spring. Thanks go to Lowe’s and Kobalt Tools for making the connections.
- On October 26, staff attended a manufacturing summit in Washington, D.C. hosted by NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills) and the Swiss Embassy. Approximately 80 people attended. A common theme throughout was the frustration of domestic employers – and the disbelief of foreign manufacturers – with the U.S. public education system. “Over and over again we heard: “We want better CTE and we want more CTE.”” Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates spoke during the summit.
- We had a good training seminar on diversity for department directors on October 20 with Ellen Hyslope from Human Resources at Middleburg Bank. Her key message to managers: Make sure you’re focused on creating equal opportunities for all employees.
- The Youth Development Foundation Committee’s spring meeting is scheduled for March 17-18. It will be held here at the national center and there will be a joint session with the board of directors at that same time.
SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a new program with our corporate partner, State Farm Insurance. In the past, State Farm has been committed to teacher development and training. They are increasing their support to SkillsUSA by establishing the Innovation in Sustainability Grant Award Program. The purpose of the Innovation in Sustainability Grant Program is to stimulate student awareness and interest in their environment and provide them with an understanding as well as skills and a voice to make a significant impact in their communities.
SkillsUSA chapters may apply for a State Farm grant of $10,000 to fund a green or sustainable program or project that uses innovation to ensure today’s needs are met without compromising future generations. One grant per State Farm zone (for a total of 12 grants) will be awarded for a project that culminates in a national showcase during the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference June 20-25, 2010.
Each $10,000 grant will designate $7,500 for project expenses and $2,500 in travel expenses to send one advisor and two students to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in June 2010. Winning chapters will present their projects to a panel of State Farm judges during the conference at the State Farm Showcase in Kansas City in June 2010. A first-place chapter will be selected from the presentations and will receive a $3,000 school award, the second-place chapter will receive a $2,000 school award and the third-place chapter will receive a $1,000 school award, in addition to the $10,000 grants.
Schools may apply for grants as a whole school or as an individual training program. Schools may also team up with another SkillsUSA chapter at a different school on a larger project. All trade areas are encouraged to apply for this program – the key to these grants is innovation. Examples of potential projects might be work with alternative fuel sources, recycling programs, construction of renewable energy sources, implementing weatherization projects, developing chemical disposal plans, creating organic food gardens and developing reforestation initiatives. The projects can be anything that is “green” or a sustainable project that uses innovation to insure that today’s needs are met without compromising future generations.
To apply, schools should submit an application, which is available online or as a PDF document. Electronic applications are preferred, but mailed applications will be accepted. For more information or to access the application, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/statefarm.shtml.
Applications must be submitted by November 30, 2009. Successful applicants will be notified by January 29, 2010. Projects must be completed by June 1, 2010.
Please direct all questions on the program to SkillsUSA grant manager Kelly Horton at 402-309-4679 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for sharing this exciting new program with your local chapter advisors!
The deadline for full membership service is November 16, 2009. This is the deadline to receive all four issues of SkillsUSA Champions magazine and the advisor incentives. Online registration is easier than ever due to system improvements, but call 800-355-8422 if you have questions. Remember, electronic membership is not complete until you hit the tab that says “Submit to National Office.” Go to www.skillsusa.org and click on “join.”
February 1, 2010 is the deadline for entries to the SkillsUSA National Conference Pin and T-Shirt competition. This event is open to all paid student members of SkillsUSA. What a great way to have a student and advisor from your state recognized in front of a national audience. Paid registration to nationals, a plaque for the teacher and student, plus a school grant to the advisor of the winning student will be announced at a later date. Rules are in the membership kit and are also posted on the SkillsUSA Web site at: www.skillsusa.org/compete/pindesign.shtml. Questions may be directed to Karen Perrino at 703-737-0610 or to email@example.com.
Have you considered adding SkillsUSA to your estate planning? A planned gift can create a lasting legacy of your service to SkillsUSA. If you have already included SkillsUSA in your estate planning, or if you intend to add SkillsUSA as a codicil, please send an e-mail to Eric Gearhart at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to discuss planned giving and trust programs, call Eric at 703-737-0603.