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Advisor Alumni Membership Incentive

January 14th, 2011

The Alumni Coordinating Committee is offering an incentive to SkillsUSA advisors who sign up alumni from their chapter. For every five members an advisor gets to join the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association, he or she will be entered into a drawing for a VISA gift card.

To be officially entered into the drawing, the advisor must have students register and join online at The advisor must then send an e-mail to Niki Clausen at The e-mail must contain the advisor’s name, school and state, and a list (for verification) of the students (first and last names) who joined as alumni. Remember that graduating seniors qualify to join during their senior year. Former SkillsUSA students are also eligible, provided they are not members already. These students must register through their former advisor to be counted as part of that advisor’s entry

Deadline for entry into the drawing is June 1. Contact Niki Clausen at 703-737-0639 or via e-mail, if you have questions.

Call for Presentations

January 14th, 2011

We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topic to present at the 2011 SkillsUSA University in Kansas City, Mo. All sessions will take place at the Downtown Marriott Hotel or the Kansas City Convention Center on June 22, 23 and 24.

We ask state directors or instructors who would like to present to send e-mails with proposed topics to Deborah Tripp at

Possible topics: local chapter activities; fund-raising; community service; SkillsUSA Program of Work success stories; business etiquette; communication skills for students; local industry partnerships, etc. These can be best practices (with a local advisor presenting) or an expert in the subject area. If you do not want to present, but you have suggestions for workshop topics, please feel free to forward them to us.

The deadline for proposals is February 22, 2011. For more information and a Request for Proposal (RFP), go to

Message from ACTE

January 14th, 2011

There is no better example of career and technical education (CTE) success than career and technical student organization students (CTSO). ACTE invites CTSO leaders and students to attend the National Policy Seminar, March 7-9, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. A special student rate is available. Join other CTE advocates to hear from national leaders, learn about education and work force development policies and join other CTE advocates on Capitol Hill.

As of January, the face of Congress has changed dramatically, and your voice is needed more than ever to help ensure your legislator understands the importance of CTE and CTSOs. New federal leaders need to hear from you to make the connections between their decisions and student experiences. For instance, House leaders are proposing a 20 percent reduction in education funding! Attend ACTE’s National Policy Seminar to let them know firsthand how this would affect you and your programs.

For more information and to register go to:

Honorary Life and/or Outstanding Career and Technical Educator Nominations

January 14th, 2011

If you would like to nominate someone for SkillsUSA’s national Honorary Life Membership or Outstanding Career and Technical Educator, please submit your nomination by going to the following assigned links and filling out the online application. The deadline for both applications is February 18, 2011.

If you have any questions, contact Marsha Daves via e-mail – or by phone: 703-737-0605.

SkillsUSA Store

January 14th, 2011

Start the new year off with a visit to the SkillsUSA Store. It’s a great time to get ready for spring and take care of official SkillsUSA uniform, supplies, apparel and gift needs. Go to Also, for great gift, apparel or other custom-branded product ideas while supporting SkillsUSA, go to

Mega Prizes for Advisors (Date Extension)

January 14th, 2011

We are pleased to announce state and national mega prizes for advisors. Check out to review the current list of awesome prizes. They include over $30,000 worth of Lowe’s gift cards for state awards; a trip to Washington DC including hotel, travel stipend, suite tickets for two to a Washington Nationals baseball game; tour of Washington D.C. and the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center hosted by Tim Lawrence; five – $2,000 tool shopping sprees from Klein Tools; a trip for two including hotel and travel stipend to Louisville Kentucky in April 2012, and, much more. State association directors will receive more information in early January about distribution of the state prizes, as well as mega prizes for each state association director.

How do SkillsUSA chapters qualify? Submit their membership by January 18 (since January 15 falls on a Saturday and January 17 is a holiday) and be a 100% chapter. That is all it takes. Also, chapters with a minimum of 10 members and a 10% growth in membership will be eligible for the state awards. Be one of the numerous advisors honored for providing opportunities to all students in his/her classroom through membership in SkillsUSA.

National staff is working to secure additional mega prizes designed for varied interests and trade areas. Please continue to check the website for additional mega prizes added as soon as they are secured from sponsors!

Call for SkillsUSA Talent Reminder

January 14th, 2011

Do you have a talented singer in your state who would enjoy a special performance opportunity? SkillsUSA seeks talented singers for the opening ceremony or awards ceremony during the 2011 SkillsUSA National Conference. We are looking for a SkillsUSA student member to sing the national anthem or another patriotic song appropriate for opening a general session. Singers may sing a capella or to a pre-recorded instrumental track. Send in all audition videotapes on DVD, postmarked by February 1, 2011 to: Heidi Ambrose, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. Questions may be directed to Heidi at 703-737-0610 or

Help Lowe’s give away $1 million to four great environmental charities

January 13th, 2011

Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation are kicking off the New Year by donating $1 million to four environmentally focused charities as a part of their first online community giving campaign.

The charities, AMERICAN FORESTS, Keep America Beautiful, National Park Foundation and, will each automatically receive a $100,000 grant. The remaining $600,000 will be distributed based on the percentage of consumer votes each charity receives at and on Lowe’s Facebook page. The voting will take place from Jan. 9-21.

Here’s how the four charities will be using the money:

American Forests
Your vote will help American Forests plant more than six million trees in 2011 and educate the public about the tremendous environmental benefits of healthy forests.

Keep America Beautiful
Your vote will help KAB host its signature community improvement program, the Great American Cleanup, this spring. In 2010, volunteers participated in 30,000 events in 33,700 communities.

National Park Foundation
Your vote will support national park restoration and preservation efforts, connect underserved communities to their parks, and give disadvantaged children the opportunity to experience their national parks for the first time.
Your vote will specifically support’s long-term development efforts in Haiti to increase the level of access to sustainable, safe water and sanitation services for 50,000 people.

Everyone is eligible to vote once per day, so make sure to go to starting Sunday, January 9.

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.

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