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Lowe’s Community Improvement and Community Rebuilding Grants

October 14th, 2011

SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a continuing partnership with Lowe’s for 2012. As part of their overall grant to SkillsUSA, Lowe’s will be awarding grants to local chapters of up to $25,000 each for Community Improvement and Community Rebuilding Grants implemented in 2012.

The Community Improvement: Champions Serving Others grant category is for those schools that are proposing a project that will focus on benefiting their local community or school. In choosing grant winners for the upcoming year, projects that focus on a local need vs. want will stand a greater chance of receiving funding. For this category, a maximum of $10,000 per grant winner will be awarded.

The Community Rebuilding: Reaching Out and Partnering grant category brings grant project opportunities to a new level in both funding and building leadership skills! Proposed projects in this category will combine the efforts of two SkillsUSA Chapters partnering and reaching out to a community or school that has been drastically affected by a natural disaster. One of the partnering chapters may be the beneficiary of the project. The maximum grant in this category will be $25,000. Community Rebuilding grant winners will be highlighted on stage at the 2012 NLSC closing ceremony with a video/photo presentation of their project.

Lowe’s will be reviewing the top applications, as submitted by a SkillsUSA staff committee, and selecting the chapters to receive the funding. Grant applications must be submitted by November 1, 2011. Notification of successful applicants will be in January of 2012. Projects may be implemented during the spring or fall semesters in 2012 and must be completed by November 30, 2012.

In addition, CareerSafe Online training vouchers to promote safety among technical students will again be available in 2012.

If you have questions on the grant program, please contact Lowe’s grants manager, Carol Lowery, at 641-512-0504 or 641-456-4515 or

For more information and to reach the application, go to the following:

2011 NLSC Souvenir DVD

October 14th, 2011

Relive the excitement of the 2011 Week of Champions! The 2011 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference DVD is now available. Use it to share the memories with your students or friends. The DVD is organized in chapters for each major NLSC event so it can easily be divided into instructional topics. The DVD is $14.95. To order, call 800-321-8422 or go to

Awards Ceremony

October 10th, 2011

The SkillsUSA WorldTeam represented our nation well. I’m extremely proud of each and every one of them. They brought home five international awards:

  • Bradley Clink received a Silver medal for Welding
  • Laina Call received a Medallion for Excellence in Ladies/Men’s Hairdressing
  • Daniel Lehmkuhl received a Medallion for Excellence in Automobile Technology
  • Rachel Koppelman received a Medallion for Excellence in Cooking.

Bradley Clink also joined all countries’ highest scoring students on stage to receive a gold medal for Best of Nation.

The rigor and challenges of WorldSkills 2011 will be a great memory and a building ground for WorldSkills 2013, to be held in Leipzig, Germany.  SkillsUSA is very appreciative of everyone who made the London experience possible for our students.

Special thanks to the many parents who attended to show support, to each of our experts, our staff, team leader Mark Claypool and official delegate Ada Kranenberg. And a big thank you to Mr. Don Hatton, our retiring USA technical delegate who completed 27 years of service to SkillsUSA and WorldSkills as of the close of World Skills London 2011.  I’m very appreciative of the entire team representing the United States of America in London.

WorldSkills Competition Day Three

October 7th, 2011

The SkillsUSA WorldTeam is finishing their third day of competition.  The third day is usually the toughest as it begins the second half of very challenging and rigorous competitions. Our team is amazing and I am so proud of how they have represented SkillsUSA and the United States of America.

There are tough assignments benchmarked to international standards and our students are also encountering some equipment not usually seen in the USA. But each student is taking the challenge head on and performing well. Tomorrow will wrap up the final day and awards will be presented on Sunday evening.

Also today, National Treasurer Emad Madha and National Region I Vice President Elena Melekos made an excellent presentation to world leaders at the Global Skills Marketplace. They shared the SkillsUSA model of student leadership and also presented information on social networking. They were excellent.

If you’re an American, there’s a lot to be proud of in London today! Seeing our students’ technical and leadership skills demonstrated on this world stage reminds me of the importance of what we all do to fulfill the SkillsUSA mission: to help its members become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.

WorldSkills London

October 4th, 2011

We are excited that we now have a total of 93 members of the USA delegation attending the WorldSkills Competition in London. This is the largest contingent of USA participants in many years.

We will have a SkillsUSA WorldTeam Rally outside the main entrance of the O2 Arena, one hour prior to the opening ceremony. Our four national student officers will be holding a big American flag and we are asking all our USA visitors to gather with the students at the flag. We have purchased small American flags and “thunder sticks” (noise makers) for all USA participants. We will be handing them out at the rally and we will try to all go into the arena together with a little noise and USA fanfare. We expect some big noise when our World Team is introduced on stage during the Parade of Nations!

Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI)

October 1st, 2011

WLTIIt’s over and it went off without a hitch. There were 269 registrants from 25 states and Puerto Rico this year. We were particularly pleased that some of the states who sent delegations this year were new, or haven’t been with us for some time. That includes the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia.

There were also some great guest speakers including our Saturday night speakers John Gallina and Dale Beatty, co-founders of Purple Heart Homes (and introduced to us by Cindy Sutton of The Social Eyes LLC), and on Monday Jennifer McNelly of the Manufacturing Institute. For the advisors sessions there were presentations made by Steve DeWitt and Jamie Baxter of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Nancy Conneely and Erin Uy of the National Association of State Directors consortium (NASDCTEc).

We also held the SkillsUSA board of directors meeting at the same time and both the board and the WLTI participants visited Congress in Washington, D.C. to convey the message that CTE is needed and funding is extremely important.

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