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Lehigh Valley Chamber Awards

December 1st, 2011

On November 8, I attended the Greater Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards in Stabler Arena at Lehigh University. The Lehigh Chamber has 5,000 members and is the largest Chamber of Commerce in the country. There were more than 1,000 people attending.

U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent introduced the featured speaker, John McGlade, chairman, president and CEO of Air Products. Congressman Dent also referenced SkillsUSA and CTE in his introduction and played the CBS Evening News clip where John talked about his concern for America’s future workforce. John’s topic was “The Lehigh Valley’s Highly Skilled Workforce” and he told the audience “Air Products will hire 600 people next year and they’ll all be in technical jobs.” Time and again, John referenced the technical schools in the valley and he encouraged his listeners to “get involved with CTE and SkillsUSA.” He said he is concerned about the workforce, but he can be hopeful when he thinks about SkillsUSA. Melinda Stumpf of the SkillsUSA Lehigh Valley Industry Council was delighted by the speech and the number of businesses John was able to reach with his message.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

December 1st, 2011

I attended the National Coordinating Council of Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) meeting on November 9. The big topic of discussion was the request from the administration to involve CTSOs in an entrepreneurship in education event next summer. President Obama has declared November “National Entrepreneurship Month,” but the intent is to do much more in the months ahead to promote innovation and business under an initiative called “Startup America.”

As I understand it, every federal agency will be asked to undertake some kind of activity on a Startup Weekend. The U.S. Department of Education wants the CTSOs – which are already holding entrepreneurship contests – to work together with Junior Achievement and possibly two other youth organizations to solve an education issue.

In addition, we held a lengthy discussion on gathering data from all of the CTSOs so we can begin to aggregate the investment and impact of the student organizations.


December 1st, 2011
  • Staff recently attended the annual meeting of the CEWD (Center for Energy Workforce Development), a nonprofit consortium formed in 2006 of electric, natural gas and nuclear utilities and their associations. SkillsUSA has engaged in a partnership with the CEWD which was formed to help utilities work together to develop solutions of the coming workforce shortage in the utility industry. It is the first partnership between utilities, their associations, contractors and unions to team with secondary and postsecondary educational institutions and the workforce system to create workable solutions to address the need for a qualified, diverse workforce. CEWD contracted SkillsUSA to create a Skill Connect Assessment in Energy Industry Employability Skills, and it is now available. SkillsUSA’s Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) is being used by CEWD as the companion curriculum for that assessment. With help from a Gates Foundation grant, CEWD has launched the Get Into Energy Career Pathway (GIECP) featuring eight pilot sites whose goal is to attract a total of 5,000 low-income students into training and jobs for the energy workforce sector. Additional information about CEWD is at
  • Some closing media notes . . . The Champion of the Year releases – both before and after the event – were sent to 1,148 automotive trades, business and education reporters nationwide, both print and online each time, and posted in several places online including Google, Yahoo and AOL. We also produced a report of WorldTeam coverage to share with WorldSkills International and discovered we had at least 118 stories or repostings of press releases on the WorldTeam including WCBS-TV, WAGC-TV, several other TV stations, and several newspapers including the St. Petersburg Times, BodyShop Business as well as several other trade publications and, of course, Parade Magazine.

Dates for the 2012 National Leadership and Skills Conference

December 1st, 2011

Because Kansas City will be hosting the Major League Baseball 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.

So, 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
  • The Awards Ceremony will be held Wednesday, June 27.

For the NLSC 2012 condensed agenda, go to:

2011 NLSC Souvenir DVD Reminder

December 1st, 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. 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:

Champion of the Year Report

November 15th, 2011

SkillsUSA’s second Champion of the Year dinner went very well. The Champion of the Year award is given by SkillsUSA to honor the leadership of a corporate chief executive doing exemplary work in the creation and promotion of America’s highly skilled workforce. The award also recognizes the honoree for the corporation’s involvement in promoting and supporting career and technical education (CTE).

Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. Inc. received the 2011 SkillsUSA Champion of the Year award on November 4, during a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Representatives from 36 corporations and organizations attended the event. A big thank you to the following state association directors for attending and bringing students to participate – Bruce Potter (New York), Heidi Balch (Connecticut), Pete Carey (New Jersey) and Karen Ward (Massachusetts). For photos and additional information, go to:

Efforts for Perkins Paying Off; Still Work To Do

November 15th, 2011

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have released their allocations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. Due to the advocacy efforts of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), NASDCTEc and the entire CTE field, Perkins funding has been maintained in both bills. This is a great victory for the CTE community. However, level-funding for Perkins is not “in the bag,” according to ACTE. Negotiations on how to complete work on the appropriations bills are still taking place and we have to remind Congress how crucial Perkins funds are to our students, communities and businesses.

Read the full message by going to the SkillsUSA advocacy site, and we encourage you to send a letter to your senators and representative. Log on to the SkillsUSA advocacy and legislative website. Fill in your zip code and then click on compose your own message, and please construct a letter to send to your senators and representative to encourage their support of Perkins and other education and workforce programs.

Scholarship Opportunities

November 14th, 2011

There are several scholarships opportunities available for students on the SkillsUSA website. Please pass the word.

National Technical Honor Society Scholarship (four @ $1,000 each) – Deadline, April 1, 2012 – go to:

Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Scholarship ($500) – Deadline, April 30, 2012 – go to:

Alumni Merit Scholarship (two @ $500 each) – Deadline, May 15, 2012 – go to:

Alumni Coordinating Committee Nominations

November 14th, 2011

SkillsUSA is seeking alumni leaders to serve on the national Alumni Coordinating Committee for the SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association. Applications are now being accepted for the following positions: Executive Chair, Region 2 and Region 4. These are two-year terms beginning July 1, 2012. We encourage you to nominate any former SkillsUSA member who is registered as an alumni member.

To complete an online nomination form or to download and print a form, go to:

The completed form is due to Niki Clausen in the national office by April 15, 2012. If you have any questions, please contact her at 703-737-0639 or by email to

SkillsUSA WorldTeam Report

November 1st, 2011

I am extremely proud of every student on the SkillsUSA WorldTeam. The team represented SkillsUSA and the United States of America very well in London. If you haven’t had a chance to look at the WorldTeam coverage, the link is:

I want to extend a special thank you to Lowe’s as the anchor sponsor for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam and to all of the other businesses and unions that supported our competitors. And, a big thank you goes to board president Russ Hoffbauer from State Farm and secretary and chair of the Youth Development Foundation Committee, Greg Rintala from Snap-on Industrial, for their participation with the WorldTeam. It was great having them in London and participating in the team recognition dinner and several other WorldSkills activities.

I do have a nice addition to the CBS story. Board member, Joe Pietrantonio from Air Products, emailed me on October 13, that the young welder interviewed at the beginning of the segment is not only an Air Products employee, he’s also a SkillsUSA alumnus. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the segment, it’s archived at:;contentBody

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