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.
Tags: State Conferences