Legal / Privacy / Index / Membership Login
StudentsEducatorsSupportersAbout UsEventsCompeteJoinConnectShopContact

Home > Tim's Blog

Webinar: So You Want to Be a National Officer?

February 29th, 2012

Do you know a student you think would make a good national leader? Has he or she wanted to run for a national SkillsUSA office but wasn’t sure how?

This webinar features experts who will provide an overview of the national officer candidate procedures and national officer responsibilities. You will also get to hear first-hand experience from a current national officer.

March 14, 2012, 1 p.m. EDT
Telephone: 888-222-0475
Attendee code: 5692952

Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Scholarship

February 28th, 2012

Through a donation from the Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Fund, SkillsUSA and the McMinn County Vocational Center SkillsUSA Alumni Association are offering a $500 scholarship to a SkillsUSA student in memory of Sharon Melton Myers. The Sharon Melton Myers Memorial SkillsUSA Scholarship fund will provide graduating SkillsUSA members the opportunity to continue their education in college or technical school.

Sharon Ruth Melton Myers was an active member of the McMinn County Vocational Center SkillsUSA Chapter from 1985 through 1988. During that time, Sharon participated in local, state and national SkillsUSA activities. She served as a local officer in 1986 and 1987, Tennessee state secretary in 1986-87 and national president in 1987-88. Sharon also participated in the Chapter’s Opening and Closing Team in 1986, 87 and 88. Following graduation from McMinn High in 1988, Sharon continued as an active supporter of SkillsUSA, serving as a national officer trainer for several years. Sharon was active in establishing a Tennessee SkillsUSA alumni charter and constitution while attending David Lipscomb College in Nashville. Sharon was totally committed and dedicated to the ideals of SkillsUSA and actively worked for the advancement of this youth leadership organization.

A judging committee composed of Catherine Melton and National SkillsUSA staff will review the nominations and select the national winner.

Candidates may nominate themselves. All nominations must include two letters of recommendation from any of the following individuals: a) instructors; b) SkillsUSA advisors; c) state association director; d) community leader. A nomination form can be downloaded from SkillsUSA’s website here.  Nominations must be postmarked by April 30.

If you have questions, please contact Christen Battaglia (703) 737-0627 or

National Education Startup Challenge

February 21st, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education is launching the National Education Startup Challenge. They are inviting students to develop an innovative solution to an education problem and design a blueprint for a new company or organization – a startup – to deliver that solution.

Students from across the country are invited to submit a business plan and a video pitch for a for-profit or non-profit startup that includes an innovative strategy, product or service designed to address one of these four topics:

  1. Middle Grades Matter
    Helping middle school students transition to high school and stay on track to graduate.
  2. Skills, Skills, Skills
    Providing students in rural, urban, and/or high-poverty communities with opportunities for internships or other work- and community-based learning experiences that help them develop skills for success in postsecondary education, 21st century careers, and civic life.
  3. Education Pays
    Making it easier for students and families to find and select high-quality, affordable postsecondary programs – whether colleges, universities, or career training programs – that provide good value.
  4. Finishing Faster
    Increasing the likelihood that postsecondary students complete their degrees, and decreasing the time it takes them to finish, such as by improving and speeding up remedial education.


Submissions will be judged by a panel of prominent educators and entrepreneurs who will identify the top startup submissions in three categories:

  • 6th – 8th grade students
  • 9th – 12th grade students
  • Undergraduate/ postsecondary students

Complete guidelines and entry information can be found here:

SkillsUSA Week

February 15th, 2012

I hope everyone had a great SkillsUSA Week, February 6-10. We heard about lots of activity from around the country as our chapters and state associations were very engaged in advocacy and service activities. We were also happy to have approximately 100 attendees on our SkillsUSA Week Webinar on Tuesday, February 7 and very pleased with the special guests who participated. Our board president, two national student presidents and one of our business partners (and a former member) all did a great job with their presentations on the broadcast. What did you do for SkillsUSA Week?

State Director Association Officers’ Meeting

February 15th, 2012

The officers of the SkillsUSA State Director Association met on January 25-27 in Red Rock, Nev., to review the first draft of the national FY13-14 strategic plan, advise national staff on issues in the states and to create an agenda for the state directors’ annual professional development and training conference. The annual conference will be held this year on August 14-18 in Rapid City, S.D. The officers selected Grand Rapids, Mich., as the site for their 2015 meeting.

The officers are great communicators. They’ll be holding a webinar on February 21 to update all of the state association directors on their meeting. My thanks go to Ohio state association director, Mike Cowles, the state association officers and to national staff members.

Swing through Keystone State Competitions

February 15th, 2012

January 31 – February 1, I visited two events in Pennsylvania. The first was the District 2 Championships in Bucks County near Philadelphia. It was my first competition of the season, and it was impressive to see the commitment of the administrators and their schools. On the first day they had 200 students competing in leadership contests. The next day, there were 300 students competing in the skills contests. And, they had 200 volunteers judging coming from business, the military and education, including the superintendent of schools. That’s doing it right.

Then I was off to District 11 in Allentown. There were over 400 students competing, and the whole set up was beautiful. It looked like a miniature national Championships. Jeri Widdowson, Pennsylvania state association director was there as well as Joe Pientrantonio, Laurie Gostley and Lynn Scheitrum from Air Products. In fact, over 100 companies supported the contests and over 100 business leaders from the area attended the VIP luncheon. It was a great networking opportunity. There is a nice TV story on the contests at:


February 15th, 2012
  • Membership continues to run ahead of last year. We have 269,915 members entered now. That’s 715 more than this date last year. More states have surpassed their total membership last year. Congratulations to the following state associations for exceeding last year’s overall membership. They are California, Clay Mitchell; Connecticut, Heidi Balch; Hawaii, Gilbert Chun; Massachusetts, Karen Ward; Mississippi, Andy Sims; New Jersey, Pete Carey; New York high school division, Bruce Potter; Oklahoma, Darren Gibson; Pennsylvania, Jeri Widdowson; Rhode Island, Josh Klemp; and, Virginia, David Rathbone. And, a reminder that professional membership and alumni memberships also count. Individuals such as yourself, industry partners and other friends not affiliated with a local chapter can join, too, online at the following link:
  • On January 21, I was in Henderson, Nev., at a brand new state-of-the art technical center to do strategic planning with the Nevada board of directors and Mike Pointer. They put together a two-year plan and a copy has gone to Mike Raponi, past SkillsUSA state association director and now state CTE director.
  • I recently met with Tim Zilke, CEO of ASE. Mr. Zilke invited in the local expert on nonprofit management and human resource management ASE uses and he’s agreed to review our SkillsUSA succession plan.

Safety Video Contest

February 15th, 2012

SkillsUSA is partnering with CareerSafe for a National Safety Video Competition. Teens across the country are challenged to create a video demonstrating safety in the workplace. For entry information and more details, visit: Entry submission deadline is March 1.

Alumni Professional Development Webinar

February 15th, 2012

The SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association will be offering a one-hour webinar on “Understanding Auto Insurance: What coverage is for me?” with partner Elephant Auto Insurance. It’s free and no registration is required, just call and log in at: Telephone: 888-222-0475, URL:, Attendee code: 6837807 Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012 3 p.m. EST.

Student2Student Mentoring Program

February 15th, 2012

SkillsUSA sponsors a national recognition program based on the Student2Student mentoring program. Any chapter involved in mentoring can submit its project plan, description and outcomes. The winning chapter will be given a cash prize, recognized at the National Leadership and Skills Conference, in Medallion magazine, in the Awards and Recognition booklet and at an event during the conference. In addition, the overall winning chapter will be invited to present its winning mentoring program as a part of SkillsUSA University. For more information, go to: All entries must be submitted online to the national office by April 4. Winners will be announced in May.

%d bloggers like this: