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Construction Industries Institute Builds Connections

August 15th, 2012

From July 22-25, SkillsUSA had the opportunity to be a major participant in the Construction Industries Institute (CII) in Baltimore, Md. I was joined by Karmen Ayres, immediate past national student vice president, high school division, and an electrical trades student from Aberdeen Washington. Karmen was a featured speaker during one of the CII plenary sessions.

We were pleased to have the support of NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) at this event. NCCER provided booth space in the CII Expo for SkillsUSA and worked closely with Karmen on her presentation. NCCER CEO, Don Whyte, and Vice President Steve Greene, and his wife, Diane, were instrumental in securing the opportunity for our participation.

More than 650 construction executives attended. The conference was packed with high-level training and information sessions on building efficiency, productivity and profitability in commercial construction. One of the most popular sessions at the Institute was the presentation by Karmen and some more of our students. We received high praise for the students’ presentation skills and educational opportunities and Karmen has already been invited to participate in two additional national conferences, representing SkillsUSA, NCCER and the construction industry.

State Board Training in Minnesota

August 15th, 2012

On July 29 I traveled to Fargo, N.D., and then drove across the border into Detroit Lakes, Minn. to work with the SkillsUSA Minnesota board of directors in a training session on the role of non-profit board members. Jennifer Polz, state association director, and Marlys Bucher, SkillsUSA corporate member, and immediate past national board member representing Region 4, put on an outstanding training conference for board members and advisors over a three-day period.

The conference was held on the beautiful lake front of Detroit Lake and featured cookouts, picnics and outdoor games for the participants and families. Following board training, I took the board through a strategic planning exercise, and we developed a quality two-year plan with measurable objectives for the state association. Marsha Daves also attended and did an excellent job conducting a Chapter Management Institute for teachers, including five new advisors getting their first exposure to SkillsUSA. I heard nothing but great comments about the training and the conference overall. Congratulations to Jennifer Polz for her excellent work.

Making Important Connections in Louisville

August 15th, 2012

Chris Powell and I traveled to Louisville on August 1 to meet with the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau’s CEO, Jim Wood, for dinner and to meet with General Electric executives on August 2. Jim had held a preliminary meeting with GE executives a few weeks ago to discuss a partnership between GE and SkillsUSA. GE’s Appliance Manufacturing Division is headquartered in Louisville, and we met with Deborah Wesler, GE’s global manager of communications and PR, and with their community relations manager. It was a great meeting, and we left very happy with the results. GE is considering support of the NLSC when we move to Louisville, including possible warehouse space in their Appliance Park facility, donation of appliances for the Championships, employee volunteer support and even a potential annual cash contribution. Thanks go to Jim Wood for making the connection for us. We are hoping for more such connections and prospect meetings as we prepare for the big move in 2015.


August 15th, 2012
  • Newly-elected board President, James King, paid a visit to the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center on August 8-9. He participated in our monthly staff meeting and NLSC debriefing. He also spent time with individual staff during his time with us. We very much enjoyed his visit.
  • Letters have been faxed to Members of Congress, governors and state CTE directors, along with medalist and Skill Point recipient news releases. They were sent out in record time this year, well in advance of the congressional recess. Staff reports we’ve received many requests from Members for home addresses so they can send letters of commendation.
  • Staff traveled to Snap-on headquarters in Kenosha last week to continue planning for the Champion of the Year Dinner where Snap-on CEO, Nick Pinchuk, will be honored on September 18. And, staff met with Bosch at their Chicago headquarters on August 9 to discuss our partnership moving into the future.

Membership Kits for 2012-13

August 15th, 2012

The 2012-13 SkillsUSA membership kits have been mailed to all chapters that affiliated with SkillsUSA last year. Extra kits have been mailed to all state offices. Please read “What’s New” on page 5. The kit includes: a poster, educational resources, tools for recruitment, retention and alumni, lesson plans, enrollment instructions, programs, scholarship and recognition opportunities, membership cards, and information on products.

This year’s membership incentive is the book, “Accelerate,” for all chapters that register 15 or more students plus one professional, by November 15 – the full services deadline. In addition, instructors with 100 percent membership with one or more professional members will also receive a SkillsUSA Program of Work Calendar. All this information is listed on page 61 under “Member Benefits” of the membership kit.

Work Force Ready System Website

August 15th, 2012

SkillsUSA offers 47 technical and employability assessments in 11 cluster areas including four co-branded assessments with ASE/AYES and five co-branded assessments with PrintED/GAERF. A complete list of available assessments can be found on our Work Force Ready System website at: The price for the Skill Connect assessments remains $10 for SkillsUSA members and $20 for non-members for the 2012-13 school year.

Thank you to all the state association directors who purchased assessments for your state competitions this past year. The Graphic Communications, Marine Service Technology and Power Equipment Technology assessments were used as the written portion of their competitions at the 2012 SkillsUSA Championships in Kansas City.

For additional information on assessments visit our Work Force Ready System website at or contact Patty Duncan at 703-737-0633, option #1.

WLTI Student Leadership Development Scholarship

August 15th, 2012

Congratulations to the four winners of the 2012 WLTI Student Leadership Development Scholarship ($800 each):

  1. Michael Ferranti, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.
  2. Konner Lamb, Louisville High School, Louisville, Neb.
  3. Nolan Rogers, Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center, Bay City, Mich.
  4. Devin Woodland, Ironwood High School, Glendale, Ariz.

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