I’ve been traveling through the states attending state leadership and skills conferences, and I’ve seen student performances that have amazed me. From state officers, leading massive delegations and officer candidates speaking about life-changing experiences – to teams in leadership competitions and highly-skilled students in skilled and technical competitions – this is the time of year that always grounds me in why SkillsUSA was founded 45 years ago. It also proves the value of our state associations and leaders.
The most amazing group of people is our state association directors. During state conferences, I see them put into practice our core values including integrity, respect, responsibility and service, and those values are reflected in their students.
I was in Ohio from April 22 – 24. The state officer team was excellent, and the team used a creative new way to perform the emblem ceremony at the opening of the conference. The Championships filled the entire Ohio State Fairgrounds and alignment to national standards and business support was evident everywhere. There was also an impressive group of VIPs attending and Lowe’s had a huge support contingent on site. Speaking of VIPs . . . I also spent time with Byrl Shoemaker, former director of vocational education in Ohio and founder of the first Ohio youth club for T&I students back in 1946. Byrl is now 91 years young and he attended our Founders’ Day Celebration at the National Leadership Center on May 7.
From April 26-28, I was in Tennessee for a high-quality conference and Championships with a unique state conference model. They hold two conferences in one event. There’s a postsecondary conference and another for high school. Both state officer teams were excellent. There were two opening banquets and two awards ceremonies; but, they did hold the Championships for both high school and postsecondary students in the same venue – a packed Chattanooga Convention Center. Thanks go to state directors Carol Myers and Carl Creasman and corporate member Chancellor James King and his staff for all their hospitality and hard work. Tennessee has over 12,000 postsecondary members and is developing new and exciting programs.
While in Chattanooga, I also spent the full morning with State CTE Director Ralph Barnett and CTSO Director Will Lewis and with two Sequoyah High School teachers and the system CTE director. We visited a unique racecar fabrication lab and spent time at the Carpenters’ Local where the state TeamWorks competition was held.
From left to right: Daniel Jasso, Jr., SkillsUSA Puerto Rico state director Pedro Rodriguez, Undersecretary of Vocational Education Helen Sosa-Staples, Region IV V.P. Eduardo Luna
I announced the official record-setting membership in the last Executive Update. Since then. we’ve had an additional 1,000+ memberships come in, many of them from Puerto Rico where there’s been the difficulty of moving the education offices from one building to another. Staff attended the spring leadership conference in Puerto Rico, along with Region IV Vice President Eduardo Luna and his advisor Daniel Jasso. They also did several school visits from April 18-24 and met with the Undersecretary of Vocational Education, Dr. Helen Sosa Staples. There was also a meeting with officials to discuss creation of postsecondary membership in Puerto Rico, and that would be a fir
Staff was in Chicago April 29-30 attending the PLTW Core Training Preparation, a train-the-trainer conference for PLTW (Project Lead the Way) instructors. Marsha presented the Engineering Alliance and, of course, met with the trainers. Approximately 450 educators attended and they, in turn, will be conducting 185 training sessions around the country this summer during five two-week sessions.
We had a staff meeting on April 20 looking ahead to the National Leadership and Skills Conference, and it’s not far off. Georgia-Pacific and Robert Bosch Tool Corporation will co-sponsor the opening ceremony. There are already 75 SkillsUSA University sessions scheduled, and 13 new TECHSPO exhibitors are signed up. And, the National Robotics League will return again this year to hold its national competition at the Hyatt Convention Center from June 21-23 in conjunction with our conference.
On April 22, half of the staff went through Red Cross CPR training. The other half will receive training in September. This is a move to reduce the cost of health insurance. And, on April 23, the national staff pitched in to clean up the National Leadership Center in preparation for the 45th Founders’ Day Celebration held on May 7 (more on that next time).
On April 30, I attended the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) board of trustees meeting in Napa, Calif.
Parking passes for Municipal Auditorium Garage and Cathedral Parking Garage for conference week will be sold on-site only. The cost will be $50 for Municipal and $40 for Cathedral. Passes will be on sale in Lobby 2100 (north side of 13th Street), just outside the SkillsUSA Conference offices the following days and times:
Sunday, June 20 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Monday, June 21 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. A map of the immediate downtown area with other parking options will be provided there. State association directors will receive one complimentary parking pass in their packets.
We have posted many SkillsUSA Championships contest updates on our Web page. To view them, please visit www.skillsusa.org/compete/updates.shtml and make sure the information gets to the national competitors. There aren’t updates in every contest; just in some. If new information is presented about a contest, the information can be critical to a student’s competition.
We ask the technical committees to complete contest updates by June 1 so the students can prepare. If they do add or change anything after June 1, we mail the information directly to the competitors.
This year, again, we will be offering only digital copies of winners’ photos (no prints). These photos of groups of contest winners are taken back stage at the Awards Ceremony. There will be no charge for the photo(s). A photo order form will be distributed to winners back stage and can also be downloaded from www.skillsusa.org/downloads/PDF/NLSC/photoform.pdf. For more information, contact Jane Short at email@example.com or by phone at 703-737-0612.
Please remind students that by participating in SkillsUSA’s National Leadership Conference and SkillsUSA Championships, they’ve agreed to follow a code of conduct.
SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference is designed to be an educational function, and all plans are made with that objective. It is SkillsUSA’s most significant meeting of the year, with thousands of students attending from all over the nation. SkillsUSA wants every person to have an enjoyable experience with every attention paid to safety and comfort. All participants will be expected to conduct themselves in a manner best representing the nation’s greatest student organization.
We still have room for National Courtesy Corps (NCC) members for this year’s conference. SkillsUSA takes care of room and board for the NCC. Members only need to pay for their travel to and from Kansas City. If you have questions, please contact Bruce Potter at 703-737-0638 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SkillsUSA has recently had great exposure on the NASCAR circuit. The Peyton Sellers car ran in the Nationwide Series on April 4 with the SkillsUSA logo prominently displayed on the rear quarters. On Sunday, April 5, I had the opportunity to witness the SkillsUSA logo run on the #48 Kobalt Tough Tools for Cool Schools car and Jimmie Johnson drove to a 2nd place finish. The highlight of my trip was an interview on the SPEED CHANNEL with alumna Wendy Venturini. Wendy is from North Carolina and was SkillsUSA’s national gold medalist in 1996 in the prepared speech competition in Kansas City. You can view the interview and see how great our logo looked on the car here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWcmbcxwPas.
Peyton Sellers showed his continued commitment to SkillsUSA as the keynote speaker at the SkillsUSA Georgia opening ceremony in Atlanta on April 16. Wendy Venturini has accepted our invitation to be a part of the NLSC opening ceremony on June 23.
The final tally is in, and I’m proud to say SkillsUSA has had the privilege of serving 304,067 high school and postsecondary/college students and their instructors this year. That number is an increase of nearly 3,500 members over last year, the largest membership year on record for the organization. When we add in alumni membership, we have a grand total of 313,180 members for the 2009-2010 school year!
On April 13, I was honored to participate in a special press conference at the corporate headquarters of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in Allentown, Pa. Local dignitaries attending included representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the Lehigh Valley SkillsUSA Industry Council and a select group of Air Products employees. I was honored to introduce two students from the Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, Brittany Kistler, a Small Engines student and Smanatha Cancro, a Culinary Arts student. Brittany and Samantha spoke to the group and talked about the positive difference SkillsUSA had made in their lives. Laurie Gostly- Hackett and Youth Development Foundation member Lynn Scheitrum were key in organizing the event.
At the press conference, I announced that SkillsUSA has chosen John E. McGlade, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Air Products, to be the recipient of the inaugural SkillsUSA CEO Champion of the Year award. The CEO Champion award will be given each year to recognize the leadership of the chief executive of an organization doing exemplary work in the creation and support of America’s highly skilled workforce. The award will also recognize CEOs for their corporation’s involvement in promoting and supporting career and technical education.
Under McGlade’s leadership, Air Products has integrated support for SkillsUSA in a number of ways with employees from around the country serving on technical committees for the SkillsUSA Championships, and on task forces and boards of state and local SkillsUSA chapters in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas. Air Products’ employees are active in judging local, state and national student competitions, and with the SkillsUSA Youth Development Foundation. The company provides financial support for SkillsUSA initiatives such as the Professional Development Program, and is helping SkillsUSA build its national network through support of the Alumni & Friends Association. Yet another form of support from Air Products has been a best practice guidebook developed by employees to help the organization better forge business/education partnerships with career and technical schools around the country.
Two television stations covered the press conference and you can see a sample of the TV coverage of the event here: www.wfmz.com/news/23141916/detail.html