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SkillsUSA Championships Contest Updates

May 12th, 2012

We have posted many SkillsUSA Championships contest updates on our Web page. To view them, please visit: and make sure the information gets to the national competitors.

There aren’t updates in every contest; just in some. If new information is presented about a contest, the information can be critical to a student’s competition. We request technical committee chairs complete contest updates by June 1st so the students can prepare. If they do add or change anything after June 1, we have to mail (by first-class mail) the information directly to the competitors.

If we don’t have a competitor’s home address in our records, the information will go to the state association director to be sent to the students. After June 1, please make all students should check their mail for any contest update information.

NLSC Parking Information

May 11th, 2012

Parking passes for Municipal Auditorium Garage and Cathedral Parking Garage for conference week will be sold on-site only. The cost will be $50 for Municipal and $45 for Cathedral. Passes will be on sale in Lobby 2100 (north side of 13th Street), just outside the SkillsUSA Conference headquarters on the following days and times: Friday, June 22, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, June 23, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard and American Express are also accepted. A map of the immediate downtown area with other parking options will be provided. Please refer to the following link for more information:

SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race

May 11th, 2012

SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race will take place on Monday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in connection with TECHSPO during the NLSC in Kansas City. This program will be similar to the TV show where participants are challenged to perform various tasks and move quickly through the TECHSPO territory in order to learn more about exhibitors and win prizes. In addition, SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race will provide interactive fun for students and adults. The passport will be distributed through the state delegation conference materials distributed during the registration appointments at the beginning of the week. Participants will be challenged to follow clues and vendors’ requests to advance to the next exhibit booth. Once at the correct booth, participants must either perform a task or duty in order to qualify for a stamp on their passport cards. There are two roadblocks included in the race. After completing pit stops 1-11 (out of 12), the participant must report to the 12th and final destination and turn in the card at the last booth. The race will conclude at the SkillsUSA Alumni booth where membership will be encouraged. Prizes will be distributed at the alumni booth to participants who complete the race. There is a limited quantity of prizes, so it will be important to complete the race in a timely manner.

State Conference “Mega Tour” Visits Kentucky and Idaho

May 1st, 2012

On April 3-5, I was in Louisville for the SkillsUSA Kentucky State Leadership Conference and Skills Championships held at the Galt House Hotel, the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenter Joint Apprenticeship Training Center, two local community/technical colleges and a high school. There were 88 leadership and skills contests and lots of industry support. There were prizes for all medalists in all contests both high school and college/postsecondary. That’s a rare occurrence, and I know it required considerable work, not only to secure the prizes but organizing them as well. A highlight of the conference was the presentation of scholarships from the Steve Phillippi Scholarship Fund with checks presented by none other than  …  Steve Phillippi, recently retired Kentucky state association director. Congratulations go to Fran Dundon, interim state association director, for holding such a successful conference.

My next stop on the mega tour was in Boise, Idaho on April 11-13. First stop was a trip to Dennis Professional Technical Education Center with Dr. Irene Vogel, state association director. Dennis is a high school tech center and has 100 percent SkillsUSA membership. The school is full of SkillsUSA banners, posters and student recognition. There’s even a wall of fame for national winners, and many of our national partners have their logos displayed as well including Lowe’s, State Farm and Caterpillar. If there’s a “Disneyland of SkillsUSA,” I believe Dennis Tech is in the running.

I spoke during the opening ceremony early on April 12 and then met with the advisors immediately following the ceremony. I also spent time with Ann Stephens, the current state CTE director and with Todd Schwarz, the incoming state CTE director, effective June 1. I’m hoping Todd can be with us for the national conference in Kansas City. I also got to meet with the SkillsUSA Idaho board of directors and former SkillsUSA national board president, Dr. Don Eshelby. Contests were held in 17 different locations.


May 1st, 2012

On April 2, SkillsUSA briefed staff of a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee subcommittee preparing for hearings to discuss ways to address the skills gap. Staff was particularly interested in things done by and with our partners, such as the CAT ThinkBig program. The staff also appreciated our helping them to secure potential witnesses from among our sponsors. One of the witnesses on April 17 was from the American Welding Society.

More in the “it’s nice to be asked”category. Staff and I had a conference call with the Boston Consulting Group on Monday. The Group is working with Harvard Business School on the topic of U.S. competitiveness. The goal of the project is to identify a set of actions that companies can take to improve competitiveness, and they thought SkillsUSA would be a good source. We were also called for an interview on the increasing popularity of “trade schools” by “Fox Business.” (We can’t correct everything in the news.) Here is the link to the story: And, staff member Eric Gearhart and Bob Skodzinsky of Haas Technical Education Center Network were the primary sources for a tremendous three-page feature article entitled “Student Journey: From SkillsUSA to WorldSkills”printed in the March 2012 edition of Manufacturing Engineering published by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The article really ties together the need for skilled workers, SkillsUSA, the Championships and the WorldTeam.

During the first week of April, we signed an agreement to coordinate where we can with Rebuilding Together (formerly known as “Christmas in April”), an organization dedicated to renovating homes owned by the poor and elderly. They do 10,000 projects every year. We’ll encourage our members and partners to work with Rebuilding Together and serve on their local affiliate boards. For their part, they have several major partners and several excellent visibility opportunities every year, including the Super Bowl.

Skill Connect assessment sales are brisk. SkillsUSA University has 75 classes confirmed and eight more pending. We have a record number of President’s Volunteer Service Award winners with 122 individual awards representing 34,251 hours of service and 11 team awards totaling 19,097 service hours.

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