We had a great board meeting in Louisville. It was great to have all of the board members attend. I know that I and all of SkillsUSA benefited from having each of them there. Particular thanks go to Russ Hoffbauer as board president for keeping the ideas coming, the discussion lively and keeping us all on task. Steve Phillippi, Kentucky state association director and Kentucky CTE director, John Marks provided excellent information to the board. It was great to have our good friends from Kentucky join us.
On March 14 and 15, several staff members and I traveled to Mooresville, N.C., to meet with various Lowe’s representatives and executives. One key topic was the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) review and approval of the 2011 grant allocations, which will carry forward programs including state Championships TeamWorks events, support for the WorldTeam, Championships support, and CareerSafe, among others.
While we were reviewing the Community Service and Campus Improvement Grant applications, SkillsUSA and Lowe’s decided future grants will be evaluated in part on how the grant-funded projects address essential and basic needs and whether they will be long-lasting and self-sustaining.
In an exciting new development, Lowe’s executives agreed to help SkillsUSA grow its partnership base by soliciting their own vendor partners on our behalf. The goal is to acquire at least 10 new vendor sponsors for SkillsUSA by this summer building upon “The Power of 10” theme established during last year’s conference.
Also, the team spent a great deal of time helping to coordinate and organize Lowe’s presence during national conference, their giveaway pavilion and their sponsorship of the awards ceremony.
Other discussions centered on using social media to promote our partnership, public relations and special projects to come. More exciting news came from the Kobalt team. Not only will they continue their tool giveaway program, but they are expanding the program to include 1,000 schools. And, they are also creating an opportunity for a very special event that we’ll announce soon for a lucky and talented SkillsUSA student.
- Membership now stands at 299,879 paid student and professional members and 30 states have now exceeded their membership last year. Memberships continue to come in slowly, and we now have 18,969 alumni members. . A reminder – professional and alumni memberships count; so, be sure to add yours as soon as possible and encourage others too. Here’s another reminder of the Web link that has simplified the process for individuals joining SkillsUSA as professional members (non-advisors/instructors): www.skillsusa-register.org/reports/JoinAsProfessional.aspx.
- On March 8, we received a “Sustainability Post-Occupancy Evaluation” (what we call an “energy audit”) on the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center conducted by Second Eden Studio. The draft report looks at eight areas including energy, carbon, water, and building materials. A nice feature of the audit is that suggestions for improvements are ranked in three categories: low or no cost, moderate cost and then the big one, investment. That’s language we understand. The final report is due June 2011.
- Nicholas Pinchuk of Snap-on was honored as the Business Leader of the Year by the Association of Career and Technical Education during the Policy and Planning Seminar on March 8. I was honored to attend, along with SkillsUSA Board Member, Greg Rintala of Snap-on.
- Staff spoke recently to trainers of the International Training Institute for union apprentices. She said of the 150 trainers in the audience, only 10 had ever heard of SkillsUSA; but, they thought they needed to know a lot more now.
- On March 16, I taped a radio interview with “The Money Pit” Home Improvement Media. It was broadcast on Sunday, March 20, and was nationally syndicated to 210 stations including WABC AM in New York City. I covered information on the need for skilled workers in construction and what it means for students to be career ready. The Money Pit connection came about through the CEO Champion of the Year program for John McGlade of Air Products last fall. Tom Kraeutler, president, was one of the invited news media guests for that event.
- It was reported to the staff on March 16 that we now have orders for 6,200 Skill Connect Assessments, double last year’s orders. She said three states have already ordered assessments for their state competitions and two more are to come.
- And, finally, we already have 60 SkillsUSA University presentations booked, and the Championships office has held six webinars with technical committees and national education team members to get ready for conference.
ACTE has launched a series of informal polls to engage CTE stakeholders in issues that are likely to arise during the next Perkins reauthorization and collect input to inform reauthorization positions. Please consider responding to the polls and share the link, www.acteonline.org/perkins_input.aspx, with educators in your state to encourage participation. A new poll will be added every few weeks.
SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race will take place on Wednesday, June 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in connection with TECHSPO. This program will be similar to the TV show where participants are challenged to perform various tasks and move quickly through the TECHSPO territory in order to learn more about exhibitors and win prizes. In addition, SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race will provide interactive fun for students and adults. The passport will be distributed through the state delegation conference materials included at the registration appointment at the beginning of the week.
Participants will be challenged to find different SkillsUSA products in exhibit booths throughout the show in designated TECHSPO booths. Once at the correct booth, participants must either perform a task or duty in order to qualify for a stamp on their passport cards. There are two roadblocks included in the race. Each roadblock will delay the participant and require a bit more effort to earn the stamp. After completing pit stops 1-11 (out of 12), the participant must report to the 12th and final destination and turn in the card at the last booth. The race will conclude at the SkillsUSA Alumni booth where membership will be encouraged. Prizes will be distributed at the alumni booth to participants who complete the race. There is a limited quantity of prizes, so it will be important to complete the race in a timely manner.
SkillsUSA will be raffling off a Dyna Super Glide Motorcycle at the 2011 National Conference Awards Ceremony, Friday, June 24 in Kansas City, Missouri. This event is made possible thanks to a generous donation by Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc.
SkillsUSA programs and the Alumni & Friends Association will be the beneficiaries of this year’s raffle. State alumni groups have an opportunity to sell the raffle tickets and raise money for their own state group or to support the national alumni association. Tickets are $5 each or five tickets for $20.
Adding excitement to the raffle again this year, Justin Barnes of American Chopper fame, will come to Kansas City and custom paint the bike. Justin will also be doing a paint demonstration this year at the National Conference.
The winner does not need to be present for the drawing. However, the winner will be responsible for picking up the motorcycle at a local Harley-Davidson dealer in his or her community. Visit this link to order your tickets.
SkillsUSA is seeking alumni leaders to serve on the national Alumni Coordinating Committee for the SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association.
Applications are now being accepted for the following positions: Regions 1, Region 3 and Region 5. These are two-year terms beginning July 1, 2011. We encourage you to nominate any former SkillsUSA member who is registered as an alumni member.
To complete an online nomination form or to download and print a form, go to:
The completed form is due to Niki Clausen in the national office by April 15, 2011. If you have any questions, please contact her at 703-737-0639 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SkillsUSA sponsors a national recognition program based on the Student2Student mentoring program. Any chapter involved in mentoring can submit their project plan, description and outcomes. The winning chapter will be given a cash prize, recognized at the National Leadership and Skills Conference, in Medallion magazine, in the Awards and Recognition booklet and at an event during the conference. In addition, the overall winning chapter will be invited to present their winning mentoring program as a part of SkillsUSA University. For information go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/mentrecog.shtml. All entries must be submitted online to the national office by April 4. Winners will be announced in May.