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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.

Alumni Pin Contest

February 15th, 2012

The SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association is sponsoring a pin design contest again this year. The winning design will become the official alumni pin for the 2012 National Leadership and Skills Conference. The deadline for pin designs to be received by the national office is March 1. If you have any questions, please contact Niki Clausen at or call 703-737-0639. For more information and contest guidelines, go to:

2012 SkillsUSA University Reminder

February 15th, 2012

We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topics to present at the 2012 SkillsUSA University in Kansas City, Mo. All sessions will take place at the Downtown Marriott Hotel or the Kansas City Convention Center on June 25, 26 and 27.

We ask instructors who would like to present to send emails with proposed topics to Deborah Tripp at

Possible topics: local chapter activities; fundraising; community service; SkillsUSA Program of Work success stories; business etiquette; communication skills for students; local industry partnerships, etc. These can be best practices (with a local advisor presenting) or an expert in the subject area. If you do not want to present, but you have suggestions for workshop topics, please feel free to forward them to us.

The deadline for proposals is February 24. For more information and a Request for Proposal (RFP), go to:

Chapter Management Institute in Leesburg, Va. Reminder

February 15th, 2012

On March 23, SkillsUSA is hosting a State Farm-sponsored Chapter Management Institute (CMI) in Leesburg, Virginia at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center from  8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. CMI seminars provide instructors with the tools they need to develop, manage and advise a SkillsUSA chapter in their schools or classrooms. Participants explore the mission of SkillsUSA; learn to use the multitude of resources available and engage in hands-on activities. The training uses interactive sessions and provides answers to questions such as:

  • How do I get students involved?
  • What is the best way to organize our activities?
  • What does a chapter set out to do?
  • What is a Program of Work?
  • What materials are available to help students?

This is a must for beginning or novice advisors wanting to start a chapter or better manage an existing chapter.

As a participant in the CMI Basic Seminar, you will receive the following materials ($80 value):

  • Advisor’s Success Kit (Ask) CD-ROM
  • The SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards 2011-12 CD Package
  • National Conference DVD – A Week of Champions

Training and materials are free to participants. There is a $30 registration fee to cover lunch and breaks. To register, contact Stephanie Bland, 703-737-0622 or by e-mail to The deadline for registration is March 9. For more information on this and other training seminars, please go to:

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