The national officer team was here in Reston, Va. and they were very excited. They had a challenging week’s worth of training but they were up to it. Trainers had the students up and at it by 7 a.m. every morning and straight through the day. The team was here at the National Leadership Center on the 29th for a meeting and lunch with the entire staff. This is a diverse group of students and they became a cohesive team by the end of the week.
On July 15 I arrived in California for two days of meetings with the new board of directors. We began with a day of board training and then moved into the preparation of the strategic plan on the second day. Four of our national partners – Toyota, Snap-on, State Farm and Lowe’s – have representatives on the California board of directors. It looks to me as though the association now has the leadership and resources it needs to grow SkillsUSA California.
On July 18, I attended the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Conference. I believe there were 3,000 teachers in attendance and there’s no doubt that CTE has top-level respect in Georgia. They did two “Legislator of the Year” awards, and the legislators showed up.
I did two well-received and well-attended presentations on the Work Force Ready System on the 19th. My sessions included representatives from the Georgia Department of Education. A real highlight during the conference was the announcement that the department of education has not only added the full list of Skill Connect Assessments to the state-approved list, it’s also making the resources available for the students to take them.
State association director Gayle Silvey held her first annual Georgia SkillsUSA University. Approximately 75 teachers and administrators attended and they received some great materials in addition to the training.
The National Coordinating Council of Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSOs) met at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education in Washington, D.C. on the 21st. The early part of the meeting was a proposal by the National Research Center for CTE to conduct additional research on the CTSOs. Specifically, the research would be modeled on the math study done by the center a few years ago to demonstrate the value of CTE in teaching mathematics. This would focus on CTSOs as an intervention model and would include professional development for advisors as the math study did.
In our round table discussion, we heard that ACTE and the National Association of State Directors of CTE consortium (NASDCTEc) believe that Congress will go ahead with level funding for CTE next year. NASDCTEc is pushing to have CTE written into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act particularly in light of career clusters. And, speaking of career clusters, SkillsUSA also received congratulations for the great job SkillsUSA Kansas State Association Director Ann Wick did showing how CTSOs fit into the career cluster model during the NASDCTEc Career Clusters Institute in Denver last June. Representatives of ACTE and NASDCTEc were pleased with the opportunity to present during the Call to Action session at conference.
- I’m pleased to report that SkillsUSA’s board of directors is now at full strength. Robert Wagner of Lowe’s and Joe Pietrantonio of Air Products complete the industry chairs and Kathryn Manns will now fill the chair for the American Association of Community Colleges. This is going to be quite a board meeting in August.
- We held a post-conference debriefing meeting on July 13 and reviewed departments’ plus-delta reports. We created a top 10 challenges list of items to be overcome by next year’s conference, but – in the main – staff seems to believe that the conference went very well.
- On July 20, SkillsUSA staff, by invitation, attended a high-level meeting at the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers. The subject was industry’s concern on how it can excite American youth about manufacturing careers. They said manufacturing needs to rebrand itself. Participants also discussed the need for an umbrella organization to promote manufacturing careers to young people and to focus the message. The next phase of the discussion will be on message coordination. More meetings are planned.
- The Virginia state officer team was here at the National Leadership Center on July 17 along with state director Dave Rathbone. On the 14th, we had a meeting with Microsoft consultants to talk about much needed upgrades to our software and the server.
- And, on the 28th, I met with union executives at AFL-CIO headquarters to discuss support for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam.
SkillsUSA: Champions at Work
Respecting All Perspectives
The topic to be addressed by contestants in the Chapter Display, Prepared Speech and Promotional Bulletin Board contests is how our slogan, SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, relates to our national program of work in the area of Professional Development.
Within this topic, contestants might illustrate or discuss any of the following:
- How SkillsUSA’s professional development opportunities respect and value cultural differences to optimize personal and team success in the workplace.
- How members value different talents/skills to achieve common goals in competition and within the community.
- How students use collaboration and cooperation to achieve team success inside and outside the classroom.
- How SkillsUSA values inclusion and diversity in decision making and problem solving by teaching students to process all perspectives in a respectful and productive manner.
- How involvement in SkillsUSA creates a global awareness that broadens the horizons of students to foster an open-minded approach to learning.
- How SkillsUSA ideals support an understanding of generational differences in the workplace to merge existing practices with new technology and ideas.
- How SkillsUSA championships emphasize an appreciation of individual skills to strengthen team efforts and successes.
- How members build a respect for lifelong learning through quality education, competition, professional opportunities, and volunteerism.
- How SkillsUSA championships and activities promote innovative thinking to achieve personal and professional growth.
- How the dynamics of SkillsUSA programs and championships challenge individuals to adapt and achieve flexibility in various workplace situations.
- How SkillsUSA activities teach students the value of self-responsibility and the use of courage and candor to support team efforts in a helpful and productive way.
- How SkillsUSA creates an awareness of environmentally conscious industry practices that empower students to employ safe and sustainable work habits and ideals.
The new national officers have been trained and are ready for assignments. If you are interested in having a national officer visit your state, please contact Deb Tripp at 703-737-0637 or Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622. The newly elected officers for 2010-11 are:
High School Division
Katie Grimnes (Wash.) – President
Emily Combs (Ohio) – Vice President
Krista Williford (Va.) – Secretary
Ariel Padilla (Texas) – Treasurer
Andrea Arbogast (Mo.) – Parliamentarian
Ricky Jordan (Mass.) – Region 1 Vice President
Victoria Crespo (Va.) – Region 2 Vice President
Katie Rhodes (Ohio) – Region 3 Vice President
Janie Martinez (Texas) – Region 4 Vice President
Robin Cronbaugh (Ariz.) – Region 5 Vice President
Sam Soto (Tenn.) – President
Loree Hayden (Ill.) – Vice President
Kendra Lisec (N.C.) – Secretary
TraShawn Brooks (Okla.) – Treasurer
Vanessa Mendez (N.M.) – Parliamentarian