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Super State Director Meeting in Las Vegas

February 15th, 2011

The expression may be “what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas” but we plan to do some exporting. The SkillsUSA state association directors’ executive committee met January 26 – 28 to discuss a wide range of issues and to plan the state association directors’ August meeting in Louisville. Mike Cowles, state association director for Ohio, officially took over as chair of the committee during this meeting. Mike will be joining the board of directors during its March meeting.

A consistent theme throughout was the need for open communications, both inside state education agencies and within the SkillsUSA association. Mike and the other directors spoke of how state agencies are changing, and the student organizations’ need to change right along with them to meet education goals. That means showing how the student organizations work with career clusters, career pathways and how they align with the common core education standards developed by the National Governors Association and now adopted by 42 states.

To increase communications within SkillsUSA, the committee proposed a series of webinars for state directors beginning with a webinar on February 17 so the committee can discuss with the other directors nationwide, the outcomes of this meeting. They would also like to have webinar meetings on topics such as the strategic plan and training sessions on how to use SkillsUSA tools and programs, such as the membership mega prizes. By scheduling regular webinars during the year, we won’t be trying to put so much information into our two annual face-to-face meetings.

The committee approved the draft of the FY12 strategic plan – they’re eager to get some of the things sooner – and they also discussed major initiatives, financial reports, state liability insurance and the SkillsUSA Store.

I stayed in Nevada on Saturday, the 29th, to conduct board training for the Nevada association. It was a pleasure to work with Mike Pointer, our new association director, and his board. He had 100 percent attendance.


February 15th, 2011

Membership as of Friday was 269,044 and that’s exceeding the previous year same day total by 15,960. We have just about two weeks until the membership deadline, and we’re cautiously optimistic.

We added a new corporate partner. Blaklader-North America has come on board as an unrestricted sponsor for the SkillsUSA Championships.

The 2011 Lowe’s SkillsUSA Grants have been announced. Schools and colleges received Community Service Grants in 12 states and Campus Improvement Grants in 16 states. The list can be found at: 2011.

Two representatives from Project Lead the Way (PLTW) came to the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center to visit recently. Rosanne White and Sandy Honour of TSA (Technology Student Association) joined us. The discussion was around a new online portfolio program developed by PLTW to encourage student innovation for pre-engineering students. It’s supported by a grant from the Kern Family Foundation and is tied in with the Small Business Administration. They also pledged continued financial support for Engineering Alliance Web updates this year.

We’re working on the strategy for the April Youth Development Foundation Committee meeting visits in Washington, D.C. We know the committee will have great things to say about career and technical education and SkillsUSA.

State Farm Youth Advisory Board Grant Applications

February 15th, 2011

State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board grant applications are available now. The service-learning grants range from $25,000 – $100,000 and are designed to create sustainable change in local communities across the United States and Canada. Applying organizations must be a public K-12, charter, or higher education institution; nonprofit organizations are also eligible if they are able to demonstrate how they plan to impact student achievement within the public K-12 curriculum. All applicants must have a youth contact and adult administrator, as the programs must be youth-driven and youth-led.

Each grant request must fall under one of these issue areas:

  • Driver Safety
  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Financial Literacy
  • Access to Higher Education
  • Natural & Societal Disasters

Applications are due May 2. Find out more at

WorldSkills London 2011

February 15th, 2011

The dates for WorldSkills London are October 5-8, 2011 and will be conducted at the ExCeL London Exhibition and Conference center in London, England. The contest organizers are expecting almost 1,200 competitors from 52 countries competing in 41 official competitions and five demonstration contests.

SkillsUSA is moving forward with plans to enter 18 competitions and we will have a total of 18 competitors—the most ever for the U.S. We will enter four new contest areas in 2011. They are beauty therapy, graphic design, Web design and restaurant service.

The competitions will be open to the public at no cost. You may also purchase tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies at a cost of £20.

In an effort to encourage more U.S. participation in the WorldSkills Competitions, we have been working with the London organizing committee to offer special hotel/conference packages to our members. These packages would be available for five-night stays either at the beginning or ending of the conference and would include breakfasts, admission to the competitions and to the opening or closing ceremonies, transportation to and from the airport and an excursion. The costs are approximately $500 (U.S. dollars) per person based on SkillsUSA registering at least 50 people.

The organizing committee has put together various other hotel packages, and their travel agency will work direct with individuals who prefer to plan their own trip. Contact them by e-mail at

All information regarding the competitors, the 2011 WSC schedule and the housing packages can be viewed on our Web page at Please direct any questions to

Provisional registration is due by March 15. Please act now to register for the WorldSkills Competition!

Chapter Management Institute in Leesburg, Va.

February 15th, 2011

On February 22, SkillsUSA is hosting a State Farm-sponsored Chapter Management Institute (CMI) in Leesburg, Virginia at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CMI seminars provide instructors with the tools they need to develop, manage and advise a SkillsUSA chapter in their schools or classrooms. Participants explore the mission of SkillsUSA; learn to use the multitude of resources available and engage in hands-on activities. The training uses interactive sessions and provides answers to questions such as:

  • How do I get students involved?
  • What is the best way to organize our activities?
  • What does a chapter set out to do?
  • What is a Program of Work?
  • What materials are available to help students?

This is a must for beginning or novice advisors wanting to start a chapter or better manage an existing chapter.

As a participant in the CMI Basic Seminar, you will receive the following materials ($80 value):

  • Advisor’s Success Kit (Ask) CD-ROM
  • The SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards 2011-12 CD Package
  • National Conference DVD – A Week of Champions

Training and materials are free to participants. There is a $30 registration fee to cover lunch and breaks. To register, contact Stephanie Bland, 703-737-0622 or by e-mail to The deadline for registration is February 8, 2011. For more information on this and other training seminars, please go to

Safety Video Contest Reminder

February 15th, 2011

SkillsUSA is partnering with CareerSafe for a National Safety Video Competition. Teens across the country are challenged to create a video demonstrating safety in the workplace. For entry information and more details, visit: Entry submission deadline is March 1.

Alumni Pin Contest Reminder

February 15th, 2011

The SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association is sponsoring a Pin Design Contest again this year. The winning design will become the official Alumni Pin for the 2011 National Leadership and Skills Conference. The deadline for pin designs to be received by the national office is March 1. If you have any questions, please contact Niki Clausen at or call 703-737-0639. For more information and contest guidelines, go to:

2011 SkillsUSA University Reminder

February 15th, 2011

We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topics 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

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

Annual Cliff Weiss Essay Contest

February 15th, 2011

The Association for Career and Technical Education announced the topic for the Cliff Weiss Essay contest (held in the memory of former ACTE Senior Director of Communications Cliff Weiss (1951-2004). This year’s essay topic for secondary and postsecondary students is “What does this year’s theme, Learning Today, Earning Tomorrow, mean to you?”

In the essay, students should describe how learning career and technical education (CTE) today provides them with the skills and knowledge to be successful in their future career. ACTE will use the winning essays to inform policymakers, parents and educators about CTE’s role in preparing students to compete in the global economy.

The contest is open to high school and college/postsecondary students taking at least one course in CTE. The essays should be between 400-600 words, in Microsoft Word format, and e-mailed by Wednesday, February 16 to Only one entry is allowed per person. A secondary and postsecondary student winner will each receive an award of $250 in addition to having their essay published on ACTE’s Web site.

For complete rules on the contest, please visit ACTE’s Cliff Weiss Essay Contest or contact Sabrina Kidwai at Winners will be announced at the end of February.

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