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January is National Mentoring Month

December 31st, 2012

Mentoring project from Kendrick (Ga.) High School.

Students are encouraged to get involved in SkillsUSA’s Student2Student Mentoring Program. Chapters can submit their projects for a chance to win an opportunity to attend the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City this summer. In addition, these volunteer hours apply to the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

See our website for materials and information on both programs:

“Vision 2012″ ACTE National Conference Makes and Appearance in Atlanta

December 28th, 2012
ACTE Photo

SkillsUSA National Officers Craig Swanson, Brian Bradley and Kaila O’Farrell in SkillsUSA’s booth at ACTE along with SkillsUSA Executive Director Timothy W. Lawrence

From November 27 through December 1, I participated in the annual Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) conference in Atlanta. I was joined by staff members Heidi Walsh and Niki Clausen and national officers Brian Bradley (Ga.), Craig Swandon (Ga.) and Kaila O’Farrell (Mass.). The students did an outstanding job speaking to various stakeholder meetings and networking with attendees in our exhibit booth. SkillsUSA conducted six workshops and had good attendance at all of them. Workshops on chapter management, assessments and leadership were conducted by Niki, Heidi and me. A big thank you goes to Karen Ward, SkillsUSA Massachusetts state association director, for conducting workshops on Skill Connect Assessments and leadership development, and to Lana Ford for conducting an additional assessment workshop.

Board member Jeff Johnson, ACTE vice president, did a great job leading the trade and industrial division meetings and policy and planning sessions. It was also a great time to network with existing partners from education and industry. Greg Rintala, YDF member, attended and helped sponsor the conference, and I had good meetings with more than 12 partner companies and at least six more with prospective partners. It’s always important for SkillsUSA to have a strong presence at this annual event of CTE teachers, administrators and business partners.


December 27th, 2012
  • Staff met recently with representatives of the ALCOA Foundation on future support. ALCOA is a past SkillsUSA partner. And, staff met in Washington, D.C. with superintendent of Arizona Public Instruction and his chief of staff to discuss the Skill Connect Assessments.
  • Janet Conner, state association director for the high school division of SkillsUSA Texas visited the National Leadership Center on December 5 to review new SkillsUSA conference management software. Because of the association’s size, Texas is often a driver of association services that benefit other state associations.
  • We recently finalized a new partnership with the Gates Corporation (automotive division and a manufacturer/supplier of automotive hoses, belts, tensioners, pulleys and a variety of other parts). A Gates representative serves on our national auto service technical committee and came in at the official sponsor level ($25,000 minimum). We are thrilled to have them on board. We will be sending out information on how Gates would like to work with state associations and local chapters.
  • And, in the “it’s nice to be asked” category, we’re pleased that a congressional office has consulted SkillsUSA to ask what our priorities for CTE are in the 113th Congress and what we would recommend to promote CTE. Discussion included the administration’s blueprint for CTE, Perkins, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, high school and postsecondary CTE, SkillsUSA WorldTeam and the importance of industry involvement. There will be further discussion in the weeks ahead.


Work Force Ready System Update

December 22nd, 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.

NEW! Teacher Preparation Guides:

Teacher Preparation Guides will be available to assist teachers in preparing students for the Skill Connect Assessments. The first six are scheduled to be released in January: Carpentry, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice/Crime Scene investigation, Television (Video) Production, Nurse Assisting and Welding. The guide will be included as part of the assessment purchase and will be accessible online to the instructor who provided the order.

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

A Moment of Silence and Reflection

December 21st, 2012

Newtown Moment of SilenceSkillsUSA’s headquarters will be observing a moment of silence in honor of those lost in the tragedy in Newtown today at 9:30 a.m. EST. This is in accordance with Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proclamation declaring today a “Day of Mourning.” Gov. Malloy has also requested every state to consider joining in to stand with them during this time of reflection and mourning.

We also want to pass along information shared with us from SkillsUSA Massachusetts state director, Karen Ward:

Thank you to our membership for hoping to help. “How can we help?” is a question that the entire nation is asking, and there are no clear answers. The best effort, for now, appears to be letters and cards for the families. The U.S. Postal Service has set up a dedicated post office box to allow the public to send condolences to those affected by the tragedy. Here is what the U.S. Postal Service representative has published:

“We understand that there is an outpouring of support for everyone in the Newtown area and we hope to make it easier for those who wish to send encouragement and messages of compassion to those affected. Through letters and cards, families will be able to hold that friendship in their hands and read kind words at a time and place that supports their pace of healing.” — Kimberly J. Peters, Connecticut Valley district manager for the U.S. Postal Service

Cards and letters of condolence can be sent to:
Messages of Condolence for Newtown
P.O. Box 3700
Newtown, CT 06470

In the coming weeks, we will seek additional avenues for chapters that wish to provide additional help to the families in Newtown. Once we have secured legitimate quality opportunities, we will communicate them to our membership.

In the meantime, we encourage our members to send cards and letters. It will help the healing in Newtown and will help our members overcome the feeling of helplessness that comes with having to stand by and watch such a tragic event unfold.

Peace to each of you during the holiday season.

National Conference Pin and T-shirt Contest Reminder

December 21st, 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

Happy Holidays from SkillsUSA!

December 20th, 2012

SkillsUSA national staff with the 2012-13 SkillsUSA National Officer Team
As we approach the end of the year, all of us at SkillsUSA want to extend warm wishes to you and yours for this holiday season. We sincerely thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of our students. We are also very grateful for your exemplary work on behalf of Career and Technical Education in this country. We look forward to another great SkillsUSA year in 2013.

Enjoy the holidays, and best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


Tim and the SkillsUSA Staff

Call for SkillsUSA Talent Reminder

December 20th, 2012

National Anthem SingerDo you know a talented singer who would enjoy a special performance opportunity? SkillsUSA seeks singers for the Opening Ceremony or Awards Ceremony during the 2013 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. We are looking for a SkillsUSA student member to sing the national anthem or another patriotic song appropriate for opening special sessions. Singers may sing a capella or to a pre-recorded instrumental track.

Send in all audition videotapes on DVD, postmarked by February 1, 2013 to: Heidi Walsh, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. Questions may be directed to her at 703-737-0610 or

Alumni Coordinating Committee Nominations

December 20th, 2012

Alumni Coordinating Committee

The SkillsUSA Alumni Coordinating Committee (ACC) is seeking nominations for Regions I, III and V. If you, or someone you know, would like to run for a position on the committee, please complete the nomination form. The form is posted online at: This dynamic group provides leadership and guidance in furthering the goals and purposes of SkillsUSA and its alumni. This group of elected volunteers works directly with the national staff and meets regularly to carry out alumni projects.

Please contact Heidi Walsh at if you have questions or would like more information.

Our thoughts are with Newtown

December 18th, 2012

Newtown, Conn.During this season when we think of others, and in light of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, we know SkillsUSA chapters will want to reach out to help in any way possible.  If we can provide any support to these efforts, we hope state associations and chapters will not hesitate to ask.

Meanwhile, I ask the entire SkillsUSA family to keep the children lost, those surviving, their families and all the educators and responders dealing with the tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.

Let us also all be truly thankful for the difference we all make daily for the great students we serve.  Know that even during challenging times like these,  each state association director, staff member and advisor is constantly lifting up our youth — and we always will — despite the challenges, and even losses suffered in the wake of tragedy.

Continue to do good things for kids … that will make our communities and our nation a better place. And, know that because of these efforts, good will always prevail.

May God bless those suffering today and help them on their journey through the challenging days ahead.

Tim and National Staff

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