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Student Officer Team Ready to Roll

August 15th, 2011

The new team of national student officers was here for training from July 21-28 and what a great group of students this is. Each team is a perennial reminder of what SkillsUSA is really about: recognizing and nurturing the next generation of America’s leaders and champions. The week of training is a special time. We get to see individuals from diverse backgrounds as they learn about each other and about themselves while becoming a team with a common purpose: to represent their fellow students, SkillsUSA and CTE.

This year’s team looks as though it will be outstanding. To see the group photo of the officer team and their elected offices, please visit:

Construction Industry Institute

August 15th, 2011

In Chicago, July 24 -27, I attended the Construction Industry Institute (CII). It was a tremendous networking opportunity to meet with major contractors and business owners. I understand this was the first time students were involved in the CII conference and the first time there was a concentration on crafts. SkillsUSA was there in partnership with NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research).

Past SkillsUSA national officer Katie Grimnes, who is training to be an electrical line worker, spoke during the opening general session to a tremendous response. CII also showed a video produced in cooperation by NCCER and SkillsUSA. Later during the conference, I moderated a panel entitled “Embracing Youth, Diversity & the Future of Our Craft Professionals.” Katie Grimnes was on the panel along with past SkillsUSA member Holley Thomas, a certified structural welder with Kellogg, Brown and Root in Alabama and Dr. Mittie Cannon, Director of Workforce at the Robbins & Morton Group a supporter of SkillsUSA in Alabama.

Among the individuals I met was a gentleman from the Smithsonian. He said he might be of assistance in archiving SkillsUSA memorabilia. I’m hopeful SkillsUSA will be invited back to CII next year.


August 15th, 2011
  • On August 1, Phil and Vickie Cronin from Iowa were here to claim their SkillsUSA membership mega prize: a trip to a Washington National’s baseball game. And, it was more than just the game. We were in the N.E.W. Customer Service Companies suite overlooking home plate. We began with a tour of the National Leadership Center and a reception before boarding the bus for Washington accompanied by 12 staff members. Phil has been a construction technology teacher for 34 years and has taken his SkillsUSA membership from 15 when he started to 100 percent of the students in the school. YDF member Bill Maddox from N.E.W. was our generous host.
  • ¬†Toward the end of July, I received a short report on the 10th annual Timberland PRO community service day held during this year’s conference. There are some impressive numbers here. A total of 385 volunteers planted 125 fruit trees and 40 blueberry bushes in an urban orchard. In addition, 1,500 backpack kits were stuffed to feed community children. And, 300 students won free footwear. That’s pretty neat too.
  • Wel have surveyed the National Education Team and the Championships technical committees. There were approximately 10 questions on each survey. The final results will be released later, but the answers to two of the questions from the technical committee survey jumped out at me. When asked if the membership of the 2011 national technical committee reflects a variety of leading companies in their industry, 71 percent strongly agreed and 24 percent agreed. When asked if the 2011 contests reflect current industry expectations for the skills and competencies of an entry-level worker in their occupational specialty, 73 percent strongly agreed and 24 percent agreed.
  • Letters accompanying the state press releases on Championships medalists and Skill Connect recipients have been faxed to all the members of Congress who had constituent winners. They’ve also gone to the governors and state CTE directors. We’ve been getting good responses from both Congress and governors requesting home addresses so they can send letters of congratulations. It makes a difference sending the letters before the congressional recess.
  • And, we’re getting ready for the State Association Directors Annual Professional Development & Training Conference and site visit in Louisville, Ky., August 15-20. I’m pleased to say that as of today, we have 46 state directors attending. That would be our largest turnout in quite some time. The officers have put together a great program. The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau has been very supportive and has planned some great activities for the directors.

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