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26 Seconds Campaign Final Project and Grand Prize Entry

April 30th, 2012

State Farm would like to thank all those who have supported the 26 Seconds campaign. The final BMOR project monthly activity for this school year has been launched. In addition to a chance to win a prize for the final activity, high school students have until May 10 to enter to win a grand prize.

By completing five of the eight BMOR Project activities, they are automatically entered to win the GRAND PRIZE – an end-of-the-year PARTY for their community. In addition to getting to invite 100 of their closest friends, they also get to play host, select the music, food, and all the fun activities for the celebration. They also win a TABLET computer.

Encourage students to complete all eight activities. State Farm will send all who do a limited edition T-shirt marking their accomplishment and participation.

Time is short.  Please visit the BMOR Project tab on our Facebook page today at:

Official Competition Clothing

April 30th, 2012

All SkillsUSA Championships competition clothing should be purchased through SkillsUSA’s officially licensed merchandiser, EGroup. If EGroup doesn’t offer some item of official competition clothing required by some contests (e.g., plain black slacks, culinary tunics), such items of competition clothing may be purchased from non-EGroup sources, but must comply with clothing rules set forth in the Technical Standards 2011-2012 or in the contest updates, if cited. Official competition clothing can be purchased at:

2012 NTHS Scholarships

April 30th, 2012

The 2012 NTHS Scholarship recipients have been announced. Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship from NTHS. There were 138 applicants for this year’s scholarships.

High School Recipients

  1. Jennifer Trevino, Dubiski Career High School, Cosmetology, Grand Prairie, Texas
  2. Izaak Noman, Canadian Valley Technology Center, Computer Aided Drafting, Chickasha, Okla.
  3. Christianne Durham, Meridian Technical Charter High School, Electronics Technology, Meridian, Idaho
  4.  Kimberly Reed, Mid-Coast School of Technology, CNA, Rockland, Maine

Congratulations to each of the recipients!

Blood Drive at NLSC

April 30th, 2012

There will again be a blood drive as part of the National Leadership and Skills Conference. The drive will be sponsored by the Kansas City Community Blood Center and will be held on Wednesday, June 27, Bartle Hall, Room 2105 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Kansas City Community Blood Center hopes to receive at least 55 pints of blood from the drive. Blood collected will be used in the Kansas City community and they are very much in need of donations. At last year’s blood drive, 45 donors registered to donate and 32 pints were collected. There were 42 first-time donors.

Donors ages 16-19 will be entered into a drawing to win an Amazon Kindle Fire. As an extra incentive, if the Kansas City Community Blood Center registers at least 60 donors this year, all donors will be entered into a drawing for six $25 gift cards. The gift cards will be sent to those six individuals after they return home.

Please try to take the time to stop by and participate in this worthy cause and help save a life. You may also register for an appointment ahead of time at: and enter the sponsor code “SkillsUSA.”Anyone who signs up for an appointment in advance can enter the raffle for gift cards twice.

Note: Donors must weigh no less than 115 lbs and must be at least 17 years of age (or a donor can be 16 years of age with written parental permission).

SkillsUSA Champions Magazine: Summer 2012

April 30th, 2012

The Summer 2012 issue of SkillsUSA Champions marks the 10th anniversary of our member magazine. This issue, which is arriving in schools now, is also available online:

In 2002, it was determined that our members would be well served by a new publication. We didn’t want to be like all the other association magazines, full of snippets and news items that would be meaningless in a few months. Instead, our talented editor E. Thomas Hall and his staff focused on building a magazine rich with personal stories – real lives, real successes, real problems faced and overcome, the greatness and the humanness that connects us.

To celebrate 10 years of SkillsUSA Champions, the new issue features cover models from earlier years and where they are today. Every one of them is a former student member of SkillsUSA. Some, like Ed Soto, have traveled the world. Culinary student Megan Barnes Vissari, who appeared on our first cover, later served in Afghanistan and taught school, but she is now at home, raising a family and baking custom cakes. All who were interviewed felt their SkillsUSA experience made a difference in their lives, and we continue to hear that from the onetime cover models who contacted our staff after the issue went to print.

Stories like these are timeless and inspiring. You can go online and read every single issue of SkillsUSA Champions magazine ever published. Go to: There’s a lesson plan to help you share each issue with your students.


Heart Saver SkillsUSA University Session at NLSC Reminder

April 30th, 2012

The SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association is offering the American Heart Association – Heart Saver course during SkillsUSA University at NLSC 2012. This session is open to all NLSC participants, educators and students and will be offered Sunday, June 24, 1 – 4 p.m.

Every three seconds in the United States someone suffers from a cardiac arrest or other cardiac-related emergency. The American Heart Association now offers a hands-on approach to ensure victims receive immediate care by non-medical personnel. This short SkillsUSA University session will provide the basic knowledge to save a life in the event of such emergencies.

The pre-registration fee is $20 for this certification, $30 registration fee at the door (space permitting). The presenters are: Brice Harader-Pate, RN, BSN and alumna, and Emily Hughes, EMT-B and alumna. Pre-register for this course at:

Contact Niki Clausen at or 703-737-0639 with questions or for further information.

Working Toward a Nation of High School Graduates

April 15th, 2012

On March 18-21, Chance Litwin, SkillsUSA college/postsecondary national student president, Heidi Ambrose and I attended the 2012 Building a Grad Nation Summit in Washington, D.C.

The focus of the conference was the high school dropout challenge. The goal is to achieve 85 percent high school retention in the next decade and 90 percent thereafter. Over 1,100 people attended representing a wide array of businesses, organizations and community groups and there was a long list of illustrious presenters including Alma and Michael Powell (this is an initiative of General Colin Powell and family), George Lucas and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. State Farm was the presenting sponsor of the Summit along with America‘s Promise. Other sponsors included Target, AT&T and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chance took to the microphone during one of the general sessions to say CTE and SkillsUSA had provided the connections and relationships that kept him in high school which made it possible for him to be a community college student today. He then asked if there should be more emphasis on CTE as a strategy for keeping students in school and to turn lives around. Chance received a big round of applause following his comments.

Board Spring Meeting in Kenosha, Wisconsin

April 15th, 2012

We had an excellent board meeting on March 21 and 22 at the Snap-on Corporate Headquarters and I‘m pleased nearly all board members were present. A big thank you goes to Greg Rintala and Snap-on for hosting the meeting and the tours and to the president of the board, Russ Hoffbauer, for his leadership throughout.

Big State Conferences in the Southwest

April 15th, 2012

Following the board meeting, I was off to Corpus Christi on March 22-24 for an outstanding Texas high school division conference. There were 5,600 registrants and 6,000 attending overall. The event filled the entire Corpus Christi Convention Center and several contests were held at the Craft Training Center. The Texas conference had some special features such as a competition for projects – in categories such as furniture or outdoor grills – built back at the school and then taken to conference to be judged and awarded ribbons. There were 2,000 projects and there were 1,000 contestants in the Technical Information Contest which used the Skill Connect Assessments. Texas also held exploratory competitions for middle school students.

It was great to spend time with John Ellis, statewide CTE coordinator at the Texas Education Agency and Tom Pauken, chairman of the Texas Work Force Commission. Both were tremendously impressed by the conference. It was also great to see Larry Rabalais, state director of SkillsUSA Louisiana. Congratulations go to high school state director, Janet Conner, and husband, Pat, for running an outstanding conference.

On March 27-28, I was in Phoenix for the 45thannual SkillsUSA Arizona Championships which took up the majority of the floor space of the Phoenix Convention Center. There were more than 2,000 participating and over 60 contests. One of the most outstanding features of the conference was how professional everything looked with eye-catching banners and signs. The Arizona Skills Standards Commission and the Arizona Stakeholders Committee held a joint meeting in conjunction with the conference. Commissioners did a “walkabout” of the Championships.

I had the pleasure of visiting long-time SkillsUSA friend, Carolyn Warner, co-chair of the Skill Standards Commission and spending the afternoon meeting with John Huppenthal, co-chair of the Arizona Skills Standards Commission and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Arizona Department of Education. It was also great to see long-time friend Mark Hamilton, deputy associate superintendent of CTE (and a former SkillsUSA state director) and Dennis Fiscus, team leader for the student organizations in the state department. Congratulations go to Arizona state director, Carrie Wolf.


April 15th, 2012
  • SkillsUSA was invited to help prepare hearings for a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on April 17. The hearing will be about the skills gap and how to address it. Our staff met with committee staff on Monday, April 2, to discuss the overall agenda, suggest additional witnesses from among our partners and what SkillsUSA is doing that can add to the hearings.
  • On the legislative front, staff attended the National Coordinating Council meeting for the student organizations, and according to a report from the U.S. Department of Education, Perkins is not likely to be folded in with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and reauthorization of Perkins is more likely in 2015 than next year. In a related development, we also understand that Perkins funds are protected from being folded into a workforce investment fund as originally proposed. NASCTEc worked for the change and reports that Perkins is the only program that cannot be consolidated into the unified workforce plan. And, on March 30, Representative Jim Langevin, co-chair of the bipartisan CTE Caucus presented the 2012 SkillsUSA Rhode Island Outstanding Advisor of the Year award in Cranston. That‘s great visibility for SkillsUSA.
  • On March 27, we had a webinar for state association directors on the expanded curriculum and changes to the officer training seminars held during conference, formerly called State Officer 101/201 and advisor training, but now called Leverage (state officers), Activate (chapter leaders) and Engage (advisor training). Seventeen directors joined the webinar and six more have asked for a reprise. Reaction was positive. There have also been six webinars on the Skill Connect Assessments focusing on general administration of the tests and on building student success with the assessments. And, staff reports that four states are using the assessments as part of their state competitions.
  • We have 46 applications in for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam. The interview and selection process will begin soon. We also got the good news that Festo will sponsor our 2013 Mechatronics Team.
  • Staff reports that the March 23 Chapter Management Institute held here at the national center was attended by 22 teachers from Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
  • And, finally, the succession plan approved by the board last year has been reviewed by a local consultant sent our way by Tim Zilke of ASE. The consultant commended the plan overall and had some suggestions that we’ll implement soon.

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