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Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2011

I hope your holiday break was enjoyable and a happy time with family and friends.

After the excitement of the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) conference and board meeting in Las Vegas, what else could I do but go to Disney World with my five-year old grandson Will? We had a fantastic time at Epcot, the Magic Kingdom and the Kennedy Space Center. Will and I saw our first Cape Canaveral rocket launch together with lots of fire, smoke and noise. Here is what was happening before we got there and after we returned.

ACTE Conference

January 1st, 2011

SkillsUSA had a good ACTE conference overall. There was a lot of traffic at our booth and a great deal of interest in the Skill Connect Assessments. SkillsUSA staff did five presentations during the conference – including two on the assessments – and national officers Loree Hayden and Vanessa Mendez took greetings to many of the meetings.

We continued a SkillsUSA annual holiday tradition on December 1. The first stakeholder appreciation dinner was held at the ACTE convention in 2001, and it has become an event to look forward to. We had 29 individuals attend this year’s dinner. As always, we had a diverse group of stakeholders around the table including student officers, teachers, school administrators, state association directors, corporate members, business partners and staff. A decade later, I’m still honored to be surrounded by this group of work force and education champions.

I had a great meeting with the Chicago Public Schools CTE Director Aarti Dhuypelia regarding the establishment of SkillsUSA chapters in the newly restructured CTE system in Chicago. She is also interested in advisor training for chapter management and in the Skill Connect assessments. Sarah Morton will schedule a demonstration of assessments and teacher training in the spring.

The Association for Skilled and Technical Sciences (ASTS) had a successful pre-convention training series that included a “mini Chapter Management Institute” for SkillsUSA instructors taught by Dr. Chip Harris. Two technical training seminars were also held, and ASTS rolled out the “Certified Career and Technical Educator” recognition program and announced the first two honorees. Board member Dr. John Gaal was one of the two inaugural recipients.

I participated in the well-attended Trade and Industrial Policy and Planning meetings. Here, John Gaal started to transition next year’s responsibilities to incoming VP Jeff Johnson. Jeff also participated in the board of directors meeting.

Winter Board Meeting

January 1st, 2011

Activities began with the board meeting on November 30. The meeting was well attended, both in person and online. The first quarter report for FY11 showed our work to be ahead of schedule. We had a good report and discussion on the Work Force Ready System as well as discussion about the national conference in Kansas City. Vision 2020 was approved in its online form, and the board requested that a summary statement be prepared to replace the vision that currently appears in the strategic plan. And, revisions to the FY11 budget were approved.

A big thank you goes to The Southern Nevada Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas for hosting our board meeting. Culinary students prepared lunch and provided snacks throughout the day. The school provided excellent meeting facilities and great technology for the board Web conference. Three SkillsUSA Nevada state officers were with us. It was great to meet inside one of our schools. School administrators told the board that the school’s dropout rate is less than 1 percent. That’s a sign of what CTE can do. (Oh, and former SkillsUSA board member Mike Raponi is now the official Nevada CTE director. It was great to see him too.)


January 1st, 2011
  • Membership as of December 22 stood at 180,132 or 13,670 over our membership on that date last year. It also appears that Total Participation Plan membership is increasing over last year.
  • Staff attended a panel discussion recently hosted by the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers and Youth Development Foundation member Emily DeRocco. The subject of discussion was the disconnect between the skilled worker needs of manufacturing employers and the education system. Panelists included former SkillsUSA board member Bryan Albrecht and current YDF member Lynn Scheitrum of Air Products.
  • There are two new developments at the National Leadership Center. Staff reports that the wheelchair lift is now installed and has received its certificate of completion. Thanks go to Lowe’s for helping to underwrite this important improvement in service to our guests and members. And, SkillsUSA will be installing a new FIOS connection that should boost our Internet speed considerably and at a much reduced cost.

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