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WorldTeam in Washington

October 31st, 2011

WorldTeam 2011 at the CapitolOn September 30, we took advantage of the fact that we had our impressive WorldTeam in town and conducted a series of meetings in Washington, D.C. each meeting was an exchange of information and – for SkillsUSA – an opportunity to talk about the importance of career and technical education both as learning that works and an important avenue to developing America’s skilled workforce.

Our first meeting was at 9 a.m. with Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House Conference Center. After introductions, Aneesh began his remarks by asking: “Who are the innovators here? All of your hands should go up.” His point was that the American economy is counting on people – particularly young people – from all backgrounds and all occupations to discover new and cost-effective ways to provide new products and services.

Several congressional offices were represented at a meeting hosted by the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus held at the Cannon House Office Building at 10 a.m. Here the discussion was largely about the team and the preparations team members had undergone (several mentioned the need to compete using metric measurement, different processes and different materials) and more detail about the WorldSkills Competition itself.

Following lunch at the Rayburn cafeteria, the team met at 1 p.m. with Sharon Miller, director, Division of Academic and Technical Education, U.S. Department of Education and additional staff. The lively conversation was again about the team and their contests and differences between how other nations prepare their teams – often training them for years – as opposed to how the U.S. team is prepared.

The last formal meeting of the day was at the Hart Senate Office Building from 2-2:45 p.m. with Thomas Showalter, research assistant for Senator Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Showalter was clearly impressed by the team members, what they have learned through CTE and where it has taken them in further education and in their careers. He told the students that aspects of CTE are being added to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and he wrote subsequently: “It’s meetings like this one with the team that remind me what our jobs on the Hill are supposed to be about.” SkillsUSA followed up with all of the people visited and updated the congressional offices on the team’s progress.

Highlights

October 31st, 2011
  • With all of our activity during the past month or so, including the Washington Leadership Training Institute and WorldTeam, over 30 days we had an 87 percent increase of “likes” on the SkillsUSA Facebook page. What’s more, our active users are up 111 percent, the number of people looking at posts is up 383 percent and feedback is up 453 percent. Every time we posted new photos or videos, the site would get 4,500 impressions. During the first week of October, 67,246 people viewed posts on our news feed. A good comparison here is to the first week of September when we had only 12,680 people viewing the news feed. Good news and activity gets great attention.
  • On September 29, I had a conference call with Larry Teverbaugh, CEO of K2Share. We will be signing a new memorandum of understanding to continue our CareerSafe agreement with K2Share, and Larry is projecting continuing growth of CareerSafe.
  • While in London, I had meetings with three of our industry partners. Russ Hoffbauer, the four national officers attending WorldSkills and I met with FLUKE. Russ did a super job of talking about the business advantages of partnering with SkillsUSA and taking it to a higher level. I’m scheduled to meet with FLUKE in Seattle in early December. The four officers, Karen Ward, SkillsUSA Massachusetts state association director, and I met with Autodesk representatives in hopes Autodesk will become involved in the Youth Development Foundation. And, I met with Lincoln Electric CEO, John Stropki, Jr. Lincoln has been a SkillsUSA partner for over 30 years, and I’m looking forward to meeting with John in early December.
  • The Alumni Coordinating Committee was in Leesburg for their fall meeting October 14-16, and they had good discussions.
  • The SkillsUSA Champion of the Year event is coming ever closer. Here’s a nice development: Toyota has asked its government affairs staff to get letters of congratulations for Jim Lentz from governors all across the country. That’s another way of leveraging this event. We hope many of you will encourage your business partners to participate in the event on November 4. Broadening our partner network will allow for greater awareness of the need for a skilled American workforce and help show that SkillsUSA and CTE are part of the answer. If you would like additional information about this year’s event, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Chris Powell of our staff.

National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Contest Reminder

October 31st, 2011

February 1, 2012 is the deadline for the entries to the SkillsUSA National Conference Pin and T-shirt competitions. This event is open to all paid student members of SkillsUSA. This is a great way to have a student and advisor from your state recognized in front of a national audience. A plaque for the teacher and student, plus a school grant to the advisor of the winning student will be announced at a later date. Rules are in the membership kit and are also posted on the SkillsUSA website at:  www.skillsusa.org/compete/pindesign.shtml. Questions may be directed to Heidi Ambrose at 703-737-0615 or to hambrose@skillsusa.org.

Mentoring Webinar

October 24th, 2011

Thanks to everyone who participated in our mentoring webinar. If you did, please take a moment and complete this survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/mentoringwebinar.

WLTI was a Great Washington Experience

October 15th, 2011

The Washington Leadership Training Institute was truly a first this year bringing together the students, advisors and the board of directors. I heard from many of the students and teachers how much they enjoyed the board, and I could tell by just looking that the board was having a good time too. The conference evaluations have been tabulated and on a scale of one to five (with five being the highest), the students gave the conference a 4.49 percent and advisors gave it a 4.65 percent. Comments from students included: “For my first time at WLTI, I feel very honored to have been here, meeting new people, learning new things and having the best time of my life” and, “Arlington and Pentagon, very moving.”

In all, we had 25 states and Puerto Rico, 174 students and 93 advisors and state directors. Most of the participants this year were attending for the first time – that’s great to see – and 184 of the participants earned their national Statesman Awards.

We’re still going through the state delegation Capitol Hill visit reports. We had many more this year because turning in a report was required to earn the Statesman Award. We also received a report from Jamie Baxter of ACTE and Nancy Conneely of the state CTE directors. They wrote saying that they had just visited the education legislative aide in Representative Joe Wilson’s office (R-SC) and how impressed she was. They wrote “she said she has never been more impressed with a group of students than she was with SkillsUSA. She said that the group was very professional and talked about Perkins funding. She went on to say “What they are learning is working.”

Students Shine at NBC News “Education Nation Summit”

October 15th, 2011

Our two national student presidents, Victoria Holbert and Chance Litwin, traveled with me to New York City on September 24-27 to represent SkillsUSA at the NBC News Education Nation Summit. SkillsUSA was invited by NBC News to the Summit to be there with a national group of 350 people considered to be “key thought leaders in American education.”

The agenda was packed with sessions that engaged high level discussions on the American education system. Starting Sunday afternoon, we participated in the premier of a new film “American Teacher,” and a discussion that followed, moderated by Al Roker and Jenna Bush.

On Monday morning, speakers included Tom Brokaw, Warren Buffet, Melinda Gates, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Ann Curry, Sal Khan and LeBron James. There were two additional days of presentations and panel discussions and notables included former First Lady Laura Bush in a discussion of school principal leadership and teacher support, 10 governors discussing common core standards (including a good discussion on the importance of career and technical education), a session on the changing face of education (sponsored by State Farm) and much more. The Summit was streamed online at EducationNation.com and broadcast on MSNBC and CNBC with special spots each morning on the “NBC Today Show.”

Both of our student presidents took advantage of the opportunity to speak to the Summit during panel discussions, and they made us proud. I also took advantage of a discussion on the global competitiveness issue, and how CTE is critical to our national prosperity and national defense. I used the SkillsUSA WorldTeam as an example of U.S. students competing on a global scale and benchmarking our skills against the skills of other nations. Finally, the student officers had the opportunity to meet former President Bill Clinton during the closing session. They were able to have a short discussion with him on how CTE and SkillsUSA had influenced their lives.

CTSO Presidents

We took advantage of the only free time before the Summit started and went to the Top of the Rock for a great city view, to a NYC pizzeria for lunch, to the center of Times Square for a deli sandwich and New York cheesecake for dinner. What an incredible event and a life-changing experience for our students!

Highlights

October 15th, 2011
  • The board of directors met on September 19. The board approved the August financials. It appears we will have a positive change in net assets and SkillsUSA will beat its budget for the ninth time in 10 years. The board also went to the Hill with the students and I heard from many people that the student and board member advocacy combination was very powerful.
  • Caleb Houston, high school division parliamentarian, and I made a presentation about SkillsUSA to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) on September 22 near Baltimore. The ACA is interested in finding effective partners and methods to recruit young people into apprenticeship. Our friends, Bob Baird of the Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc, Greg Chambers of Oberg Industries, Inc. and Steve Mandes of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, all recommended to the committee that involvement with SkillsUSA would be a good approach. I’m certain we’ll be hearing more from ACA.
  • Members of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam arrived in Leesburg on September 29, in preparation for the trip to London Friday evening. Before they left, we had some Washington visits for them. At 9 a.m., we were at The White House Conference Center for a meeting with the Office of Science and Technology Policy. At 10 a.m. we met with staff from the CTE Caucus in the Cannon House Office Building and some of the team members’ Senators and Representatives staff members. At 1 p.m. we met at the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education, and then, at 2 p.m. we went over on the Senate side to meet with staff from the Senate HELP Committee.
  • The competition has finished and here are the scores from the 41st WorldSkills Competition in London: Bradley Clink of Washtenaw CC in Saline, Michigan won Silver in Welding. Laina Call of Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College in Ogden, Utah won a Medallion of Excellence (at least 500 points out of a possible 600) in Hairdressing. Daniel Lehmkuhl of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, California won a Medallion of Excellence in Automobile Technology (Automotive Service Technology). Rachel Koppelman of Columbia Area Career Center in Columbia, Missouri won a Medallion of Excellence in Cooking. WorldTeam information is online at: www.skillsusa.org/compete/worldteamres.shtml.

Student2Student Webinar

October 15th, 2011

On November 1, you’re invited to participate in a webinar on SkillsUSA’s national Student2Student Mentoring Program. Discover how this program can help you accomplish many chapter goals such as performing community service or helping to endorse career and technical education. Use this program to help SkillsUSA support the America’s Promise Alliance and use the hours to help students qualify for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Doing a Student2Student mentoring project can also help your chapters attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in June.

URL: http://web.ganconference.com/?meeting=9818575
Telephone: 888-222-0475
Attendee code: 5692952
Date: Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011
Time: 11 a.m. EDT

2011‑2012 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards

October 15th, 2011

Last year we changed the technical standards to be valid for two years. These standards are the result of many hours of work from a collaboration of industry partners, subject matter experts and SkillsUSA staff who worked diligently to create a user‑friendly product. The standards provide our chapters and students with an up‑to‑date official competition guide for both the 2011 and 2012 SkillsUSA Championships. We will post changes to any of the contests on our website Contest Updates page.

The CD‑ROM package, including the standards, an information piece, a poster and 2011 contest projects, can be purchased for $19.95 through the SkillsUSA online catalog at: www.skillsusa.org/store/contests.html. Contest singles cost $10.95 each and include the 2011 contest project (if available). If you purchased the two CD‑Rom package last year, you need only purchase the 2011 contest projects as a single CD for $15.95 ea.

Upon request, we are also offering a 606‑page, perfect‑bound book version for $32.95, plus shipping and handling. To purchase this printed version through the online catalog, look beneath the listing for the CD‑ROM package and locate the blue and yellow “LuLu button.” This button will take you to LuLu.com to place your order. To further our efforts to produce more eco‑friendly materials, we’ve chosen LuLu to deliver this on‑demand printed version. Delivery time is approximately three to five days, depending on the selected delivery option. Please know the book version of the technical standards does not contain the 2011 SkillsUSA Championships contest projects.

Dates for the 2012 National Leadership and Skills Conference

October 14th, 2011

Because Kansas City will be hosting the Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in 2012 and the schedule conflicted with the annual conference schedule, SkillsUSA has agreed to move the National Leadership and Skills Conference up by a couple of days in 2012 only. Following is the revised schedule for NLSC 2012.

48th NLSC – Kansas City, Mo – June 23-27, 2012. This means the 2012 NLSC schedule will be from Saturday to Wednesday. This means the Opening Ceremony will be held on Monday, June 25, the SkillsUSA Championships will be held Monday and -Tuesday, June 25-26, and the Awards Ceremony will be held Wednesday, June 27.


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