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Training for State Leaders in Louisville

September 1st, 2011

Each August, we gather with our state association directors for our annual State Association Director Professional Development and Training Conference. It’s a great time of training, networking and sharing of best practices among state associations and a time that reminds us that we are about to embark on a new school year with a new crop of students to inspire. The conference started on Monday evening, August 15, with training for nine new state association directors who received two days of training on the basics of managing a quality state SkillsUSA organization. On Tuesday, our experienced state directors arrived and we were very pleased that Dr. Dale Winkler, the new state director of career and technical education for Kentucky, spoke at the opening banquet. Dr. Winkler expressed his support for SkillsUSA as an integral component of CTE instruction and his commitment to our national conference when it moves to Louisville in 2015. Over 50 state directors and support staff were there and they had the opportunity to tour the city, visit the Kentucky Expo Center and meet city officials and representatives from conference hotels and local attractions. The directors were impressed with Louisville and all it has to offer for our national conference.

The conference also featured the presentation of the 2011 SkillsUSA “Best of Brand” Awards. Congratulations to the following state associations for their excellent work and for winning the various categories: SkillsUSA Arizona and director Carrie O’Grady-Wolf for Best of Brand Online; SkillsUSA Georgia and director Gayle Silvey for Best of Brand Multi-Media; SkillsUSA Massachusetts and director Karen Ward for Best of Brand Print; and SkillsUSA Wisconsin and director Brent Kindred for Best of Brand Conferences and Events.

Training sessions included best practice workshops in social networking, conference and contest management, membership development, finance and insurance, alumni growth, program of work strategies and Vision 2020. State directors also held regional meetings, brought recommendations from standing and special committee meetings, and they held their annual business meeting on Saturday morning. On Saturday evening, during a special reception at Churchill Downs, Board President Russ Hoffbauer and State Director Chairman and Board Member Mike Cowles, conducted a listening session for state directors with the purpose of providing input and questions for the national board.

Finally, I am thrilled to congratulate three state association directors for achieving the SkillsUSA State Director Certification. The certification is based on American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) standards and demonstrated expertise in membership development, communications, image and media, conference management, industry partnerships, operations management and personnel management. Congratulations to Gayle Silvey of Georgia and Millie Perez of Puerto Rico for attaining their certification and to Mike Cowles of Ohio for attaining re-certification.

WorldTeam on Parade

September 1st, 2011

I always worry a little bit when talking about future news coverage because I know how quickly news can change. Nevertheless, it appears SkillsUSA WorldTeam will be getting coverage in the Labor Day Weekend edition of Parade Magazine. We’re being told there will also be more extensive coverage in September in Parade Magazine Online. Parade is the largest circulation magazine in the country with 70 million readers of the print edition and 40 million online. This will be a nice splash for the delegations going to Capitol Hill in September and for the WorldTeam before they’re off to London on September 30.

2011 WorldTeam

The 2011 WorldTeam

Supporting our Professionals in North Dakota

September 1st, 2011

On August 7-9, I was in Bismarck for the North Dakota summer teacher conference. Over 600 teachers and all but one of the school directors from across the state were in attendance. It was great to spend some time with former board member Wayne Kutzer who led this professional development conference. Our State Association Director, Clarke Molter, also played a major part in the conference and had very well organized events for our SkillsUSA advisors and directors. I was very excited to have three key speaking opportunities during the conference as I was a featured speaker at the opening general session with all CTE educators in the state, a 45-minute session with all the school directors and another 45-minute session with all SkillsUSA instructors. North Dakota has excellent support from the governor’s office and the State Department of Education. It was a pleasure to meet and spend some time with the nation’s longest serving chief state school officer, Dr. Wayne G. Sanstead. Dr. Sanstead is in his 26th year as state superintendent and is very supportive of CTE and SkillsUSA. And to cap off the experience, on the last day of the conference, Marsha Daves conducted a Chapter Management Institute for select SkillsUSA North Dakota advisors.


September 1st, 2011
  • Twenty-five states have registered for the Washington Leadership Training Institute. We’re working to secure speakers for the advisors’ track. I believe this will be another substantive series of sessions.
  • Alumni membership is now at 26,112 and the alumni now have a new page on the SkillsUSA website for archiving their series of professional development webinars.
  • At the Louisville conference, a new training tool kit for state student officers was introduced that was very well received. This kit comes in a large duffle bag packed full of tools to help officers conduct state and local workshops on the roles of SkillsUSA leaders and implementation of our Program of Work. The kit also includes props that will be purchased by state officer teams at their local Lowe’s Store. Lowe’s sponsored the development of this exciting new training tool.
  • The SkillsUSA, Inc. board of directors will be meeting on September 19 at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center during the Washington Leadership Training Institute. On September 20, the board will be going to Capitol Hill with our student leaders for Congressional visits. This will be an excellent opportunity for our students, in tandem with our governing body, to tell the SkillsUSA story to policymakers.
  • We are finalizing plans for the fall meeting of the Youth Development Foundation hosted by Air Products in Bethlehem, Pa. September 14-15. Special thanks to Laurie Gostley-Hackett who will be our host. We have 17 attendees registered and look forward to the meeting.

Free SkillsUSA Advisor Membership Incentives

September 1st, 2011

When they register at least 20 student members plus one or more professionals by November 15, 2011, advisors will receive a free copy of Leveraging Your Leadership through Effective Chapter Meetings. This brand new resource from the SkillsUSA Educational Resources Catalog discusses how to improve attendance at meetings, ideas for large or small chapter meeting programs, the basics around developing an agenda and meeting room set-up, plus the value behind holding meetings. This tool is ideal to assist in preparing chapter officers to truly lead chapter meetings (value: $15).

Also, instructors who submit a roster with 100-percent membership plus one or more professionals will also receive a SkillsUSA Program of Work calendar (value: $5.95).

Remember, the membership roster must be submitted online or postmarked by November 15th to receive these free items.

2011 ACTE Trade and Industrial Education Awards

September 1st, 2011

Trade and Industrial educators and administrators are invited to submit nominations for the ACTE National Trade and Industrial Education Division awards. Qualified people may be nominated by individuals or groups. You may also nominate yourself.

For complete details and the nomination form, visit:

The deadline for nominations is September 23, 2011.

State Farm: Project Ignition Grants

September 1st, 2011

The National Youth Leadership Council® and State Farm® are pleased to announce the availability of $2,000 Project Ignition grants for public high school students and teachers to address teen driver safety through service-learning.

Car crashes remain the number one cause of death for adolescents. That’s a staggering statistic, but one that young people, in partnership with their teachers and community, can and are changing through Project Ignition.

For the past eight years, high school students in public schools throughout the United States and in three Canadian provinces have been using service learning to tie their academic objectives to this important issue. They do this by getting the facts out, engaging their audiences and working to ultimately influence driving behaviors and save lives on the road.

Students use their own creativity to create impactful awareness and engagement campaigns. Strategies used in the past have included: hosting events and demonstrations; forming community-wide partnerships; working on local and state policy; producing public service announcements; and, more.

Twenty-five schools will be chosen to receive $2,000 grants to support the implementation of their campaigns between January and April 2012. Ten of these 25 schools will be granted an additional $5,000 to support their participation in a significant national conference or event – including the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. They will also be given the opportunity to be named “National Leader Schools” and receive an additional $2,500 to go deeper with their campaigns during the 2012-2013 school year.

Applications are due November 15, 2011. To apply, go to: Partnership

September 1st, 2011

SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a partnership with to assist SkillsUSA alumni and graduating students with job networking opportunities and to help our partner companies hire qualified skilled workers. is an innovative company offering skilled workers free tools to showcase their skills. Companies can hire exactly who they need and can access education and work history and information such as background checks, DMV records and drug tests for those who choose to share it on their profile. The basic product is free of charge, with more advanced premium recruiting tools coming soon. Companies who sign up on can hire SkillsUSA alumni or one of the thousands of other skilled workers currently on the site. is directly donating to SkillsUSA’s Youth Development Foundation a percentage of the fees generated from SkillsUSA partner companies that hire through

You are welcome to explore’s website at:

Call for SkillsUSA Talent

September 1st, 2011

Do you have a talented singer in your state who would enjoy a special performance opportunity? SkillsUSA seeks talented singers for the opening ceremony or awards ceremony during the 2012 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. We are looking for a SkillsUSA student member to sing the national anthem or another patriotic song appropriate for opening a general session. Singers may sing a capella or to a pre-recorded instrumental track. Send in all audition videotapes on DVD, postmarked by February 1, 2012 to: Heidi Ambrose, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. Questions may be directed to Heidi at 703-737-0610 or

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