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What do Graduates Say about SkillsUSA?

March 15th, 2011

“While in high school, SkillsUSA (then VICA) gave me the confidence I needed to come out of my ‘shell’ and to become a successful business owner, a teacher and now program coordinator for the largest two-year college in this state. Even today, I can personally relate to the shyest student in the classroom thanks to SkillsUSA.”

That’s one of 49 quotes received to the question “What was your experience in SkillsUSA” in an online survey of SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends conducted last month. Here’s one of the 43 replies to the question “What have you been doing since your involvement?”

“I am a Commander in the Navy assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. I will be a Commanding Officer on my next tour. VICA (now SkillsUSA) helped me become a professional and fostered a desire for continued education. I recently completed my Master’s Degree.”

While we received many remarkable responses from the 14-question survey, we can’t possibly cover them all including those to the question “What was your favorite SkillsUSA memory?” It appears many of the alumni went into teaching at some point during their careers. That squares with the reactions to a couple of other questions. When asked what they would like to have the alumni association provide its members, 79.4 percent said “A chance to volunteer at state or national events.” And, when asked “Why would you stay involved and join the Alumni & Friends Association,” 77.8 percent of the respondents said “to be giving back to the program.” This is a group to be proud of.

Highlights

March 15th, 2011

Membership stands at about 298,564 and 30 states have now exceeded their membership last year.

On February 22, we sent an e-mail to our industry partners asking them to sign on to a letter addressed to the Senate requesting restoration of funding to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The letter was from the Association of Career and Technical Education, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, the American Association of Community Colleges and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Several of SkillsUSA’s business partners signed on too. There were 168 business and organization signatories overall when the letter was sent recently. This is the start of what will likely be a very active advocacy season.

On March 1, the Lowe’s Campus Improvement and Community Service grant checks were sent to 34 schools and colleges. The total amount? $324,800. There had to be a lot of people smiling when the checks arrived. And, while on the subject, we heard last week from Lowe’s that Georgia-Pacific will once again co-sponsor the Opening Ceremony of the 2011 national conference.

We held a Chapter Management Institute here at headquarters on February 22, a wintry day when some of the area schools were closed, but 14 teachers came from three nearby states for training.

On February 23, staff and I attended the Destination and Travel Foundation dinner hosted by convention and visitors bureaus from across the country. We were invited by the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association and also met with the Louisville CVB while we were there.

By popular demand, I’m a video again. Staff has created a four-minute video for the national office to send greetings to the states during their spring conferences. It’s available online and on DVD. I’m in there and so is the Vision 2020 message. I believe the video is quite effective.

On February 24, I went to Baltimore for a meeting with the mid-Atlantic region U.S. Army Accessions Command. There was lots of interesting information on Army recruiting and I’ll be putting our state association directors in touch with the command regarding opportunities to support and promote SkillsUSA in the region.

On February 25, Second Eden Studios conducted an energy audit on the National Leadership Center. The preliminary report was delivered to the board of directors at their March meeting. The final report will be released in June.

And, finally, staff worked with the national officers in Kansas City, March 3-5, getting ready for their roles at the national conference.

NLSC 2011 Champions Night and SkillsUSA Night

March 15th, 2011

Champions Night at Power and Light will be held in the Living Room of the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City once again. The event is scheduled from 7-10 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, and is the first official overall conference event of the week. State delegations are encouraged to arrive at Power & Light (P&L) early enough to have dinner and tour the district before the start of the festival. Bus transportation will be provided from all outlying hotels beginning at 5 p.m. No transportation will be provided from the downtown hotels (Marriott, Hilton President, Aladdin Holiday Inn, etc.) since they are within walking distance of the P&L. As with all SkillsUSA events, the shuttle busses will operate throughout the event to and from hotels and downtown.

The required dress code for admittance to the Champions Night for all attendees is a state SkillsUSA shirt (polo, t-shirt or similar) and comfortable shorts or pants. This is a private event, and security will be instructed not to admit anyone without the official conference nametag and the required clothing. Carhartt and Pepsi are the official sponsors of Champions Night.

This year, for the first time, “SkillsUSA Night” will be held at Kauffman Stadium for a Kansas City Royals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game. The game begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 23. There will be several pre-game activities where SkillsUSA will be featured – so please make sure your delegation arrives early as possible. Bus transportation begins at 5:30 p.m. from hotels to stadium. Busses will drop off at the north side of the stadium near Gate A. SkillsUSA will be featured many times throughout the game, including first pitch and first catch, and many other surprise recognitions.

The required dress code for admittance to the SkillsUSA Night for all attendees is the official conference t-shirt provided by Lowe’s and comfortable shorts or pants. As with all SkillsUSA events, the official conference nametag is required, along with the admission ticket, for entry into the stadium. State delegations are encouraged to show state pride so banners and flags are encouraged. What is not allowed into the stadium: boxes, coolers, glass and PVC or aluminum poles (for banners).

If you have any questions about either of these conference events, please contact Shelly Coates, scoates@skillsusa.org.

Job Skill Demonstration Contest Clarification

March 15th, 2011

Because there are still some issues surrounding Job Skill Demonstration A vs. Job Skill Demonstration O (Open), both the State Directors’ Technical Standards Subcommittee and the SkillsUSA Championships Executive Committee will be working together to clarify this issue. In the interim, we hope the following will help.

Job Skill Demo A – Any skill can be demonstrated, as long as it relates directly to the competencies taught in the competitor’s curriculum (occupational specialty or college major). Examples are a culinary student who demonstrates correctly the calibration of a meat thermometer or an active SkillsUSA student member in horticulture demonstrating a gardening technique. Another approach is that it can be from any program listed in our 2011-2012 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards.

Job Skill Demo O – The competitor demonstrates a skill that is NOT RELATED to his or her occupational specialty. Examples would be a culinary student who demonstrates how to rebuild a carburetor, or an interior design student who demonstrates a motorcycle repair technique. Also included in this category is any program that is not covered in the 2011-2012 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards (an example would be an agricultural or business program).

If you have questions, please contact Dave Worden at dworden@skillsusa.org.

Student Photographer Wanted for NLSC

March 15th, 2011

The Timberland Company, a longtime partner and sponsor of SkillsUSA, seeks a seasoned photography student to provide photography services at the 2011 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City. Hours are flexible throughout the week, for a total of approximately 25-30 hours. Looking for color and black and white still photography at our vendor booth outside of Bartle Hall and before/during/after pictures of our community service event. The Timberland Company seeks to own the rights of these pictures post-event as photos may be used within company presentations, slideshows and print ads. The Timberland Company to pay travel expenses for student and school advisor if necessary. Editing/post-production capabilities preferred but not required.

Interested parties to send 5-10 portfolio pictures to cgreco@timberland.com. A résumé is appreciated.

Frontier Airlines Travel Discount

March 15th, 2011

Welcome aboard! A Best Care Business (BCB) account has been created for SkillsUSA, Inc. as another carrier option for travel to Kansas City. Frontier purchased Midwest Airlines earlier this year and has just introduced their discount program to SkillsUSA – “Best Care Business (BCB) ID: B1529.”

To ensure the customer receives the best price and SkillsUSA receives credit for the purchase, make sure the Best Care Business (BCB) identification number is provided during the reservation process. It’s very easy to book flights using the two options listed below.

Option 1: Online is only available at www.frontierairlines.com

  • From the SkillsUSA home page and enter your desired itinerary
  • Choose the desired flights and airfare type
  • When you reach the passenger information page, there is a box to enter your Best
Care Business ID (Be careful to enter the code carefully)

Option 2: Travel Agency
Simply instruct the travel agent to enter the BCB ID into the IT/Tour Code Box before ticketing.

Keep It Green Reminder

March 15th, 2011

Lowe’s and SkillsUSA want to know what you are doing to keep it green. A new contest has been established for SkillsUSA instructors to show methods/techniques/technologies used in their classrooms that provide the ability for that class to reduce in the carbon footprint left on the environment.

If you are a proactive “green” instructor implementing innovative methodologies to teach your program, go to www.skillsusa.org/compete/lowesgreen.shtml and apply for one of six $2,500 Lowe’s awards and the chance to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City this June. In addition, the six winning instructors will be asked to present their program during a SkillsUSA University session on Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

To be eligible, you must be a registered SkillsUSA professional member with an active SkillsUSA chapter. Membership for the 2010-11 school year will be verified by the national headquarters. (The name must appear on a roster for this school year.) Only one entry per SkillsUSA professional member is permitted.

Deadline is April 1. For complete details and application instructions, go to: www.skillsusa.org/compete/lowesgreen.shtml.

Webinars are a Wonderful Way to Travel

March 1st, 2011

SkillsUSA is very big on communications, and the national office has been “webinar central” the past month. We’ve held four online conferences: two for state association directors; another for alumni; and, the webinar for SkillsUSA members during SkillsUSA Week.

On February 8, students and teachers from 18 schools nationwide tuned into the SkillsUSA Week inclusion and diversity webinar on “Respecting All Perspectives.” Board President Russ Hoffbauer addressed the group saying how pleased he is that SkillsUSA is discussing inclusion and diversity because this is also an important issue to business.

The February 4 webinar with 16 state association directors was a discussion on SkillsUSA’s online conference registration system. During their August meeting, the state directors asked us to make our registration system more user-friendly, and our consultant, Mark Williams, has been doing just that. He’s even created a series of online training modules to walk users through the process. Reactions from the participants were extremely positive including posted notes that said: “Love the changes.”

On February 17, the state association directors’ executive committee conducted an hour-long webinar for the 18 directors who signed in. This was a follow-up report on their meeting in January including: minutes; proposed Constitutional amendments; the improvement of services to states by the SkillsUSA Store and stock of core products; and, the August Professional Development Conference. There were also updates from national staff on Vision 2020, state association insurance, national conference updates, membership mega prizes and an April membership registration task force to include some non-SkillsUSA instructors to help us improve online registration by next school year.

And, on February 15, the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association held its first membership service webinar on enhanced communications. Three of our alumni members served as the expert speakers on topics including job interview techniques, communication and asking questions and serving as a mentor. There were 18 participants, and it seemed a propitious start to this kind of membership service.

All the webinars have been archived, so we strongly encourage those who could not participate “live” to go to our website to view them.

Highlights

March 1st, 2011
  • Air Products’ John McGlade, CEO Champion of the Year, will be a featured speaker at the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education consortium (NASDCTEc) spring meeting in Washington, D.C. SkillsUSA is delighted John will take the time to talk to the state leaders of CTE about their new vision for CTE, the value of CTE and maybe just a little about the value of SkillsUSA. Thanks to Laurie Gostley-Hackett, Youth Development Foundation Committee member from Air Products, for her coordination of John’s participation.
  • In answer to proposed cuts to Perkins funding this year, and in support of both NASDCTEc and the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) urgent requests to contact Congress, SkillsUSA sent out more than 16,000 e-mails asking our professional members and technical committee members to call Congress. We’re getting reports back from the field. One said: “Our congressman said his office has been flooded with faxes and e-mails so he’s shut them down. Calling is the only thing that works.” It appears this will be a busy year for advocacy given the pressure of the federal budget.
  • In an effort to encourage more U.S. participation in the WorldSkills Competitions this October, 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 end of the conference (from October 5-8) 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 directly with individuals who prefer to plan their own trips. Contact them by e-mail at worldskillslondon@travelplaces.co.uk. All information regarding the competitors, the 2011 WSC schedule and the housing packages can be viewed on our Web page at www.skillsusa.org/compete/worldteam.shtml. Please direct any questions to akranenberg@skillsusa.org.
  • Here’s a list of additional reports. The executive directors of the Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) held a meeting with Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Education, on February 15 to discuss CTSO policy. We started the energy audit of the National Leadership Center on February 25 and hope to have a preliminary report ready by the next board meeting. The second half of the staff has now gone through (and passed) Red Cross CPR and First Aid training. Cindy Sutton, former YDF member and now executive VP of Earth Alive dropped by the office on February 7 with the two co-founders of Purple Heart Homes seeking advice for the start up of a nonprofit. And, finalists for the Lowe’s national conference pin and T-shirt designs have been selected. Lowe’s will be announcing the winners soon.

Lowe’s Community Service and Campus Improvement Grants

March 1st, 2011

The 2011 SkillsUSA and Lowe’s community service and campus improvement grants were recently announced. Congratulations to all successful applicants.

Campus Improvement: Arkansas – Arkansas Career Training Institute; California – Warren High School; Colorado – Sheridan High School; Florida – Belleview High School; Illinois – Elgin Community College; Illinois – Jo Daviess Carroll Area Vocational Center; Iowa – Central Campus; Kansas – Labette Community College; Maine – Bath Regional Career & Technical Center; Maine- Tri-County Technical Center; Missouri – Southwest Area Career Center; New Jersey – Salem County Career & Technical High School; New York – E.J. Milliken Technical Center; Oklahoma – Eastern Oklahoma County Technical Center; Oregon – Centennial High School; South Carolina – Sumter County Career Center; Washington – Elma High School; and, Wisconsin – Fox Valley Technical College.

Community Service: California – John F. Kennedy High School; Georgia – Lumpkin County High School; Illinois – Fox Valley Career Center; Kansas – Hutchinson Community College; Massachusetts – Greater Lawrence Technical School; Michigan – Eaton ISD Career Preparation Center; New Jersey – Bergen County Academies; New Jersey – Camden County Technical Schools; North Dakota – North Valley Career and Technical Center; Oklahoma – Canadian Valley Technology Center; Pennsylvania – Lycoming Career & Technology Center; Tennessee – Haywood High School, County Career & Technical Division; Tennessee – Tennessee Technology Center at Crossville; Tennessee – Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton; Tennessee – Tennessee Technology Center at Hartsville; and, Wisconsin – Lincoln High School.


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