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Save the Date: 2013 National Leadership and Skills Conference

November 30th, 2012

SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference will be returning to its usual schedule in 2013. The conference dates were skewed by a couple days this past June in connection with Kansas City hosting the Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.

The NLSC 2013 schedule will be as follows: 49th NLSC – Kansas City, Mo – June 24-28, 2013.

So, the 2013 NLSC schedule will be from Monday to Friday. This means the Opening Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 26, the SkillsUSA Championships will be held Wednesday and -Thursday, June 26-27, and the Awards Ceremony will be held Friday, June 28.

For the complete NLSC 2013 condensed agenda, go to:

Workforce Ready System Updates

November 30th, 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. Fall orders are up 173 percent compared to last year’s usage during the same time period. More users are taking advantage of pre and post testing for program improvement.

System Enhancements:

Recent updates to the ordering website will make adding to existing orders easier and will allow users to review previous orders online.

Training Webinars

The training webinars for instructors and administrators offered in November were well received. To view the archived presentations, go to:

For information on our assessments visit the Work Force Ready System website: or contact Patty Duncan at 703-737-0633, Ext. 1, email

SkillsUSA Store Update

November 30th, 2012

Here is a note from Steve Korker at the SkillsUSA Store

Add some color and fun to these grey winter days with terrific new products from the SkillsUSA Store.

The 2012 – 2013 apparel line features hot new SkillsUSA branded outerwear and dress apparel, and a wide range of colors for cotton and performance polos for both men and women.

Our updated gifts and accessories category includes an exciting new Tech Collection, along with an expanded selection of drinkwear, bags, and school and office products.  From our Under $5.00 products to our Executive Collection, we truly have something to fit everyone’s budget.

And we are of course here to help you and your team gear up for competitions. The SkillsUSA Store is proud to be your official supplier for SkillsUSA blazers, wind jackets, ties, competition work uniforms, chapter supplies, pins, patches, medallions, and everything you need to succeed!  We are located at and are available 24/7 to serve your product needs.

If you are looking for a way to recognize a great team, say thank you to someone special, reward a champion, or simply to immortalize a moment in time, we have developed an amazing new resource to help, the new SkillsUSA Awards Webstore. Here you’ll find a great selection of plaques and framed awards that you can customize with personalization and great SkillsUSA images right from our gallery.  Or even better, upload your own photo to create an amazing piece that can never be duplicated!  Don’t let special memories slip away, let the SkillsUSA Awards Webstore help you keep them forever.  Visit today at:

Lastly, please remember that the SkillsUSA Store team is your merchandising resource. We are here to help you with product ideas and SkillsUSA custom product orders for your school or office.  Please contact Heather Williams, SkillsUSA Account Manager, at or 703-674-5430 for assistance anytime.

From all of us at the SkillsUSA Store, have a wonderful Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!

National Conference Pin and T-shirt Contest Reminder

November 29th, 2012

February 1, 2013 is the deadline for entries to the SkillsUSA National Conference Pin and T-shirt competitions. This event is open to all paid student members of SkillsUSA. This is a great way to have a student and advisor from your state recognized in front of a national audience. A plaque for the teacher and student, plus a school grant to the advisor of the winning student will be announced at a later date. Rules are in the membership kit and are also posted on the SkillsUSA website at: Questions may be directed to Heidi Walsh at 703-737-0615 or to

National Youth Safety Video Contest Reminder

November 29th, 2012

CareerSafe, Safety Education for America’s Future, is sponsoring the 2012-2013 National Youth Safety Video Contest.  Students across the country are challenged to create a video demonstrating safety in the workplace.  All submissions should be sent to CareerSafe by March 1, 2013.  The winning students will receive a SkillsUSA Prize Pack as well as a scholarship up to $2,500 and the winning school will receive a prize up to $5,000. To view an online flyer about the contest, go to: For more information on the contest, please visit the CareerSafe website at

Happy Thanksgiving

November 20th, 2012

Happy ThanksgivingAs we enter this time of thanksgiving and reflection, I want SkillsUSA members, students and advisors, state directors, business partners, alumni and parents to know that you have my personal thanks, appreciation and respect for the work you do.

I send you and your family my best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a rewarding and productive school year!


Timothy W. Lawrence

SkillsUSA WorldTeam Competes in Brazil

November 15th, 2012
SkillsUSA WorldTeam

The SkillsUSA WorldTeam prior to departing for Brazil.

Eleven members of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam are currently in São Paulo, Brazil to participate in the WorldSkills Americas competition to compete with countries from North and South America. This competition is a great “warm up ” for the WorldSkills Competition to be held in Leipzig, Germany, in July 2013. WorldSkills Americas, in cooperation with its member countries, organizes a competition every two years focused on vocational training. The first competition was held in 2010 in Rio de Janeiro.

WorldSkills Americas (WSA) is a non-governmental not-for-profit organization. Its objective is to provide means for vocational education quality improvement in North America, Central America and Caribbean and South America countries, involving governments, industries, commerce and vocational education and training organizations and/or institutions. The WorldSkills Americas operates in conjunction with the WorldSkills International.

Members of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam who are competing at the WorldSkills Americas competition are:

Autobody Repair – George Mason, Lexington Technology Center, Lexington, S.C.
Automobile Technology – Kieron Kohlmann, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich.
CNC Turning – Ronald Olkowski, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich.
CNC Milling – Joshua Bedell, Pinellas Technical Education Center, Clearwater, Fla.
Cabinetmaking – Daniel Berrios, Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pa.
Cooking – Matthew Lorman, North Point High School, Waldorf, Md.
Graphic Design Technology – Sarah Parker, Ronald Reagan High School, Pfafftown, N.C.
Mechatronics – Antony Costantini, The Technology Center, Fremont, Ohio
Mechatronics – Jarrod Nichols, The Technology Center, Fremont, Ohio
Plumbing and Heating – Nicholas Michalenko, Smith Vocational, Northampton, Mass.
Web Design – Michael Angel, Essex High School/Center for Technology, Essex, Essex Junction, Vt.

Twelve of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam technical experts are also participating.


November 15th, 2012

In his recent essay in the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) Friends of CTE Blog Series, SkillsUSA Champion of the Year, Nick Pinchuk of Snap-on says “When some say the American worker is the problem, I say no . . . the American worker is the answer. We need to enable workers with both training and respect. Because of that, CTE and SkillsUSA have never been more important to assure a prosperous American future. ” To read the complete essay on the importance of CTE and America’s workforce and based on his remarks during the Champion of the Year events, please visit:

Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute and new member of the Youth Development Foundation, was honored recently in the inaugural 100 Women Leaders in STEM, a showcase for the careers and initiatives of women leaders who are active role models for STEM professionals. Congratulations go to Jennifer.

On October 25, staff and I conducted a webinar on the Skill Connect Assessments for the Arizona Department of Education. Joining the one-hour presentation were the state superintendent of education, the assistant superintendent and others in Arizona working on career planning and assessments. The presentation went well, and they certainly appeared to be interested. In a related development, Daniele Stacey of National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) came by the national office on October 18 to meet with me to discuss how our Skill Connect Assessments could cooperate with the NCCER assessments. Daniele said NCCER also wants to increase visibility of SkillsUSA in its own curriculum materials.

In our continuing effort to get information from all of our stakeholders, we invited SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association Coordinating Council members Bryan Doxford of New York and Peyton Holland of North Carolina to meet with select staff on October 11. We discussed their vision for the organization and their ideas for areas of emphasis in SkillsUSA including social media networking, videos, a strong alumni association, digital marketing tools and training for all. The full Council just met at the national center, November 9-11.

And, on October 19, we held our annual staff outing with a lovely autumn lunch and wine tasting at a local winery. We honored years of service at the luncheon for five of our staff members: Ashley Ridgeway, five years; Sandy Moore and Roxanne Hodge with 10 years; Tom Kercheval for 15 years; and, Karen Beatty for 45 years of service. While I’m on the topic, I’ll also mention anniversaries of staff from September, October and November: Niki Clausen, 3 years; Byekwaso Gilbert, 12 years; Jane Short, 19 years; Kim Graham, 24 years; Tom Hall, 27 years; Shelly Coates, 32 years; and, Judy Garrison, 34 years. Each and everyone is an amazing resource for SkillsUSA. We have a great staff.

Interstate Batteries Fundraiser

November 15th, 2012

SkillsUSA is excited to announce a new partnership with the Interstate Batteries fundraising program for local chapters. This is a great opportunity for our chapters to raise funds in partnership with a company whose mission and product align very closely with SkillsUSA.

Through this partnership, local chapters would sell Interstate Batteries products and will receive 50 percent of the sales.

Below is the link for local chapters to sign up today. We encourage you to promote this program and encourage all chapters to participate in this program as they seek to raise funds for district and state events and leadership development activities and materials.

For more information, go to:

Work Force Ready System Update

November 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. See examples of the enhanced grade and username password reports at:

Free training webinars are now scheduled for the month of November. To see the scheduled dates and times, go to:

For information on our assessments, visit our Work Force Ready System website: or contact Patty Duncan at 703-737-0633, Ext. 1, email

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