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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 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!


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:

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.

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: 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 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.

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