We’ve been asked to share this information with you. December 5-11 is the second annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). CSEdWeek was endorsed by the U.S. House of Representatives to acknowledge the critical role computer science education in Kindergarten through 12th grade and in higher education has in preparing students for 21st century careers and the transformative role computing plays in solving today’s foremost challenges.
Engaging computing jobs are being created every day, and hundreds of thousands will be created in the next decade, producing some of the most highly paid professional careers. But the current pipeline of computing graduates will fill only a small percentage of the 1.4 million new computing jobs projected by 2018. CSEdWeek seeks to raise public awareness of the need to prepare a greater number of students for computing careers by addressing issues with computer science education standards, teacher certification, curriculum, professional development and diversity.
On November 3, I departed for Atlanta to attend the 2010 Fabtech conference. It was great to see our partners from the American Welding Society (AWS), Lincoln Electric, Miller Electric and many more. I was there to see our top welding students in the “Weld-Off” Semifinals that will help determine our SkillsUSA WorldTeam competitor for London 2011. As a former welding student and instructor myself, I can say I have never been more impressed than by the quality of the work I saw these six top students perform. Their technical skills were truly world-class, but so were their leadership and professional skills. I spent time with each of them, and they were all well-mannered, well-spoken, well-groomed and extremely polite. These are the times that demonstrate SkillsUSA’s mission of empowering our members to be world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. WorldSkills Australia participated in the event to “practice and benchmark” against our students. The AWS Weld-Off was administered by two SkillsUSA alumni, Nick Peterson (Miller Electric) and Brandon Muehlbrandt (Lincoln Electric), both of whom are successful corporate representatives and former international welding medalists.
I was honored to announce the three semi-finalists during the closing banquet. The three will train and compete between now and June, and the final competition to determine the SkillsUSA WorldTeam welding competitor will be held during NLSC in June. The semi-finalists are Alex Pazkowski and Bradley Klink from Michigan and Zachary Brown from Mississippi. During the closing banquet AWS President John Bruskotter (Louisiana) and President-Elect John Mendoza (Texas) presented all six students with $1,000 scholarships. Bruskotter attended the SkillsUSA NLSC last June and is a big fan (he’s also a SkillsUSA alumnus) and Mendoza is a great supporter of our Texas college/postsecondary program.
You can view my comments from Fabtech and the Weld-Off on YouTube below:
From Atlanta, it was back to Washington, D.C. for two days of meetings at the U.S. Department of Education. I serve on an independent advisory panel for The National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE) created under the Perkins legislation to monitor implementation of the legislation. Top university researchers, CTE leaders and Washington, D.C. think tank and foundation representatives study research from the field that will help us report on the state of CTE. We heard in-depth reports on how states are spending federal dollars on programs of study (career pathways programs), lab equipment and leadership activities (including student leadership organizations such as SkillsUSA). We also received research reports on CTE’s effectiveness and challenges in Philadelphia and San Diego and we took a deep dive into how programs of study and technical skill assessments are being managed in the states and local schools. Finally, we approved an outline for our report to Congress. I was honored to be appointed chairman of the committee charged with writing the independent panel’s report on aligning CTE with broader education reforms.
From Washington, D.C., I flew to Minneapolis to present at the Minnesota Career and Technical Education Conference in Plymouth, Minn. It was great to work with Board Member Marlys Bucher and State Association Director Jennifer Polz. Jen and I gave two presentations on the SkillsUSA Work Force Ready System and our Skill Connect Assessments. The conference was attended by 270 teachers, school administrators and state department of education and Minnesota College and University System staff. The assessments were well received, and I had an excellent conversation with Minnesota State Director for Career and Technical Education, JoAnn Sismer, regarding support for SkillsUSA and the integration of our assessments as an option for meeting federal requirements that measure technical skill attainment.
From Minnesota, my marathon continued to Florida to end the week. I attended a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) in Lake Buena Vista. My first day there included work on a special task force to look at education and work force development issues. I also participated in the board meeting, and I gave a presentation on the 2011 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. The NCCER Board of Trustees will hold its summer meeting in Kansas City on June 22 in conjunction with the SkillsUSA national conference. The NCCER board roster includes several major commercial contractors and corporations. Hosting the board meeting will give us an opportunity to showcase SkillsUSA to many of these companies for the first time.
On Friday, we focused on a national image campaign to recruit, train, place and retain workers in the construction industry. It’s called “Choose Construction.” About 15 major employers talked about the need for recruits with a work ethic, time-management, teamwork, adaptability, problem-solving and communication skills. One statistic used during this meeting: two million workers lost jobs in construction during the economic downturn, but it’s expected there will be a huge need for skilled workers when the economy turns up.
I have two video releases to announce. We have produced a splendid new 10-minute DVD called, “A Week of Champions” about our national conference. And, we have edited the CEO Champion of the Year video to 10 minutes of highlights posted online below:
The fate of 24 children in a typical elementary school class in the U.S.
Seven drop out before HS graduation
Five go from HS to work (with 22% of those pursuing training)
Six do not graduate from college
Three do not find college-level jobs
Three find jobs requiring their baccalaureate degree education
In percentages, 30 percent drop out. Half of the 24 go to college, but only half of those graduate (BA/BS). Six of the 24 do graduate from college, but only three of those six find jobs upon graduation worthy of their education, meaning only 12.5 percent “win” the pursuit of baccalaureate education.
From the presentation to the fall 2005 conference of National Association of State Directors of Career & Technical Education (NASDCTEc) in Harrisburg, Pa., by Ken Gray, Ph.D., now-retired professor of Workforce Development & Education at Penn State.
Through a donation from the Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Fund, SkillsUSA and the McMinn County Vocational Center SkillsUSA Alumni Association are offering a $500 scholarship to a SkillsUSA student in memory of Sharon Melton Myers. The Sharon Melton Myers Memorial SkillsUSA Scholarship fund will provide graduating SkillsUSA members the opportunity to continue their education in college or technical school.
Sharon Ruth Melton Myers was an active member of the McMinn County Vocational Center SkillsUSA Chapter from 1985 through 1988. During that time, Sharon participated in local, state and national SkillsUSA activities. She served as a local officer in 1986 and 1987, Tennessee state secretary in 1986-87 and national president in 1987-88. Sharon also participated in the Chapter’s Opening and Closing Team in 1986, 87 and 88. Following graduation from McMinn High in 1988, Sharon continued as an active supporter of SkillsUSA, serving as a National Officer Trainer for several years. Sharon was active in establishing a Tennessee SkillsUSA alumni charter and constitution while attending David Lipscomb College in Nashville. Sharon was totally committed and dedicated to the ideals of SkillsUSA and actively worked for the advancement of this youth leadership organization.
A judging committee composed of Catherine Melton and National SkillsUSA staff will review the nominations and select the national winner.
Candidates may nominate themselves. All nominations must include two letters of recommendation from any of the following individuals: a) instructors; b) SkillsUSA advisors; c) state association director; d) community leader. A nomination form can be downloaded from SkillsUSA’s website at www.skillsusa.org/students/scholarships.shtml. Nominations must be postmarked by April 30.
The National Association of State Directors for Career Technical Education Consortium has recently created a two-minute video, “CTE: Making the Difference,” that underscores CTE’s achievements and potential to help our nation in this global economy. We hope you will use the video in your presentations, share it with your members, and feature it on your website. Check out the video and other great resources at www.careertech.org. Download the video and a Vision Toolkit created for the CTE community at www.careertech.org/sharethevision.
Questions, comments, suggestions? Please contact Erin Uy, NASDCTEc Communications and Marketing Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-588-9630.