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In SkillsUSA There are Triple-Headers

October 15th, 2012

From September 15-19 in the Washington, D.C. area, SkillsUSA held three of its most important events of the year: 1) the Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI); 2) the fall board of directors meeting; and, 3) the Champion of the Year dinner. Each of these manifests the important work SkillsUSA is doing in the interests of our members, partners and ultimately the nation.

The WLTI is at the core to SkillsUSA’s mission to teach students and their instructors the skills they’ll need to be successful leaders and advocates. The emphasis isn’t just on making an impact in Washington — although we do that too — it’s on putting those skills to work back home. I was particularly pleased to hear that some of the state delegations are doing just that. In New York, for example, students are expected to go back to school boards and other groups to talk about their experiences when they return.

With 314 registered attendees, this was our largest WLTI ever. There were excellent presentations to the students and instructors by Congressional staff from both parties from the House and the Senate. There were discussions with senior staff from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education on the administration’s Blueprint for Reform and reauthorization of Perkins. And, Barry Wulf, a past national officer and now a Black Hawk helicopter pilot for the California National Guard was a commanding keynote speaker.

We’re still compiling the reports from the states on their delegation visits. We have record of 80 visits — down from 103 last year — but we still don’t have reports from all of the states. We heard from board members and from delegations about how much they enjoyed making the congressional office visits together and I received a letter from one of the board members about WLTI saying the “national staff is simply outstanding.” WLTI photos are available here:

The Champion of the Year became two events on September 18 with a news conference at the National Press Club in the morning and then the dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The news conference focused on America’s skills gap. Of course, Champion of the Year Nick Pinchuk, chairman and CEO of Snap-on was the featured speaker. Also speaking: Jane Oates, assistant secretary of Employment and Training, U.S. Department of Labor; Bryan Albrecht, president, Gateway Community College; Amelia Powers, western region parts manager, Caterpillar and a SkillsUSA alumna; Kaila O’Farrell, national Region I vice president of SkillsUSA; and, yours truly. Bloomberg News was there to cover it as were reporters from two magazines, the Association of Career and Technical Education, and a 5:30 video news release was written and edited together and put on the feed to Fox stations by 3:30 p.m. for the evening news and then transmitted again the following morning.

The dinner was an impressive affair. (One student said to me: “I didn’t think it would be this elegant.”) Mr. Pinchuk is an eloquent and passionate speaker when it comes to both the importance of the skilled workforce and SkillsUSA. He said in part: “We, as a nation, need to make skilled workforce training a national priority, and to make skilled careers, a national calling.” He concluded his remarks by recognizing the students in the audience saying, “Meet America’s future, the young men and women of SkillsUSA.” Special thanks go to Greg Rintala, Alicia Smales and Rick Secor of Snap-on for all of their work on these events. Check out the pictures and video:

A news release went out from this office to all of the search engines and many more business and trade magazines, broadcast networks and newspapers. To read the release, link to: Clips are still arriving.

Major Movement in Tennessee

October 15th, 2012

On September 20, I flew to Chattanooga, Tennessee to address the Tennessee Board of Regents thanks to SkillsUSA Board President James King. The day started with a one-on-one tour of the new Volkswagen manufacturing plant and the Volkswagen Training Academy operated by Chattanooga State Community College /Tennessee Technology Center (CSCC/TTC) in partnership with Volkswagen. Students training at the academy are in an employment pathway and are hired at the Chattanooga plant when their training is complete. Courses are in precision machining, welding, industrial maintenance, lean manufacturing, teambuilding and mechatronics. Since the students are enrolled through CSCC/TTC, they are also SkillsUSA members. They had a national bronze medal Mechatronics Team at the Championships this year. Both Volkswagen and the college are proud of their team.

From Chattanooga, I traveled with Dr. Jim Barrott from CSCC/TTC to Cleveland State Community College for the Board of Regents meeting. Dr. King reported on the success of the Tennessee Technology Centers over the past year and told them SkillsUSA is an integral component of the TTC system and a proven method of delivering employability skills. After showing a brief SkillsUSA video, I gave a national overview of our program. I also commended TTC and Dr. King for their national leadership in education reform and in SkillsUSA at the college/postsecondary level. National officers Mary Kamuiru and Mark Roark spoke and then Mark introduced all 16 SkillsUSA Tennessee College/Postsecondary national gold medalists. The students presented each board member with a state gold medal. This was a great way to impress the leaders of the state’s postsecondary system. Thanks go to James King.

SkillsUSA Advisor Webinar Reminder

October 15th, 2012

The 2012-2013 SkillsUSA membership kit is loaded with new resources, best practices and lesson plans to ensure your chapter is prepared for a successful year. Please join us on Thursday, October 18 at 11 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. (EDT) as we discuss the many uses of the information and resources included in the kit. The new registration landing page will be unveiled and the easy to use 1, 2, 3 step system for membership registration.

SkillsUSA Advisor Webinar
Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. EDT
Webinar URL:
Meeting Number: 30039980
Participant Passcode: 5787


October 15th, 2012
  • The national office has been converting its email system to Microsoft Outlook the past few weeks with a new IT supplier. As anyone who has ever been through a similar undertaking knows, where there’s lots of data migration not all data migrates to where it’s supposed to be.
  • Staff reports that our 12 contestants going to WorldSkills Americas in November have their plane tickets. There’s just that little matter of making sure everyone has visas.

Final List of 2012 Official Sponsors

October 15th, 2012

he following organizations, through their cash and/or documented in-kind donations, have qualified for SkillsUSA’s Official Sponsor status of $25,000 or more in calendar year 2012. We also award Official Sponsor status to organizations making unrestricted financial donations of $15,000 or more.

We encourage SkillsUSA teachers and students to patronize these organizations when the opportunity arises.

  • 3Dconnexion, Inc.
  • Air Products
  • Architectural Woodwork Institute
  • Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers
  • Robert Bosch Tool Corporation
  • Calculated Industries, Inc.
  • CareerSafe, LLC
  • Carhartt, Inc.
  • The Culinary Institute of America
  • Deere & Company
  • Delmar, Cengage Learning
  • DELTA Power Equipment Corporation
  • ETA International
  • Google, Inc.
  • Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation
  • Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc.
  • International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry
  • Interstate Battery System of America, Inc.
  • IRWIN Industrial Tool Company
  • Johns Manville
  • Lincoln Electric Company
  • Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
  • mikeroweWORKS Foundation
  • Miller Electric Mfg. Co, Inc.
  • National Association of the Remodeling Industry
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research
  • Navistar, Inc.
  • PHCC Educational Foundation
  • Pivot Point International Inc.
  • RSC Chemical Solutions
  • SawStop, LLC
  • Snap-on Industrial
  • Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.
  • State Farm Insurance Companies, Inc.
  • Timberland PRO
  • Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, Inc.

2013-14 Technical Standards

October 15th, 2012

The Technical Standards are valid for two years. These Standards are the result of many hours of work from a collaboration of industry partners, subject matter experts and SkillsUSA staff who worked diligently to create a user-friendly product. The Standards provide our chapters and students with an up-to-date official competition guide for both the 2013 and 2014 SkillsUSA Championships. We post changes to any of the contests on our website on the “Contest Updates” page. If a posting appears on the updates page, it supersedes the Technical Standards as written. The 2013-2014 Technical Standards will be without the score sheets as they change year to year. These are available at no charge by going to:

The CD-ROM package, including the Standards, an information piece, a poster and the 2012 contest projects, can be purchased for $19.95 through the SkillsUSA online catalog at: Contest singles cost $10.95 each and include the 2012 contest project (if available) as well as helpful hints from some of our technical committee members.

The Standards are available as a 480 page perfect-bound book version for $35.95, plus shipping and handling. To purchase this printed version through the online catalog, look beneath the listing for the CD-ROM package and link for purchasing on Lulu. This button will take you to to place your order. To further our efforts to produce more eco-friendly materials, we’ve chosen LuLu to deliver this on-demand printed version. Delivery time is approximately three to five days, depending on the selected delivery option. Please be advised the book version of the technical standards does not contain the 2012 SkillsUSA Championships contest projects.

2013 Lowe’s Grant Reminder

October 15th, 2012

Lowe’s continues a fourth year of generosity with another round of SkillsUSA grants in 2013. The focus for this year’s Lowe’s grant program is to identify schools, classrooms or students who have a very basic need to improve the quality of the students’ educational experience. Grants will be awarded ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

Grant applications will detail the need for classroom improvements, upgrading or providing tangible tools for learning technical skills, leadership development opportunities, or providing competition clothing that will enable students to compete at SkillsUSA events. In addition, those applicants who can outline their plan to “pay it forward” by planning and implementing a project or event that will allow them to use the tools or skills obtained due to receiving the grant dollars, will stand a greater chance of receiving funding. The best projects will detail how the outcome will provide a life-changing experience for the beneficiaries of the grant dollars. Grant applications are available at:

Work Force Ready System Updates

October 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.

System updates were released in September with new features to enhance the grade reports, certificate printing and username password reset functionality. Training webinars will be available in November for instructors, assessment coordinators and administrators. Dates and times will be scheduled soon and posted on the Work Force Ready System website.

For information on our assessments visit our Work Force Ready System website: or Contact Patty Duncan at 703-737-0633, email


Regional PDP, CMI and CSEP Training Seminars Update

October 15th, 2012

State Farm Insurance is, once again, generously sponsoring regional Professional Development Program (PDP), Chapter Management Institute (CMI) seminars and Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) seminars. There will be one training session (CMI, PDP or CSEP) per region. All materials and training will be free to participants. The only cost is $30 for lunch and breaks. PDP participants will receive a complete set of PDP materials and free licenses for each level. CMI participants will receive an ASK CD, a SkillsUSA Leadership Handbook and the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards CD package. CSEP participants will receive one free CSEP license.

Region I State Farm-funded Chapter Management Institute (CMI)
November 17, 2012
Where: Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor, Maine
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Registration Deadline: November 2, 2012
Fee: Training and materials are free to participants. There is a $30 registration fee to cover lunch and breaks.
Contact: Harold Casey at 207-974-4865 or

If you would like to sign-up for or host a regional PDP, CMI or CSEP training seminar, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or A minimum of 25 participants is needed to conduct the training. For the latest seminar information, go to:

Peyton Sellers Hero card

October 14th, 2012

Check out Peyton Sellers’ new Hero Card (click on it for the full size):


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