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All the webinars have been archived, so we strongly encourage those who could not participate “live” to go to our website to view them.


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 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
  • 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.

Alumni Membership Increase Incentives Program

March 1st, 2011

The Alumni Coordinating Committee is sponsoring two alumni membership increase incentives for the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association at the state level for advisors. An advisor will have his or her name entered into a drawing for a $500 VISA Gift Card, one entry for every five alumni memberships submitted. To participate, advisors need to have graduating seniors or program completers join the Alumni & Friends Association online. Then, the advisor needs to e-mail Niki Clausen his/her name, school and a list of students who joined. Please contact Niki Clausen with questions about this program.

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