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Staff Planning 2013

January 15th, 2013

Every year in January, SkillsUSA staff takes a week for strategic planning. Staff worked diligently last week developing the goals, objectives and tactics for the FY 14-15 strategic plan. We’ll be making our first report on new objectives to the state association director executive committee at their meeting later this month.

White House Networking

January 15th, 2013

On Tuesday, December 11th, the White House Business Council extended an invitation to SkillsUSA and “our networks” to join a conference call with senior administration officials on the president’s plan for the budget and the “fiscal cliff.” A staff member and I joined the call, and I extended an invitation to business partners on the board and YDF to join as well. Representatives from Bosch, CAT, Snap-on and State Farm all joined. We again placed this opportunity in the “nice to be asked” category as it confirms that SkillsUSA is on the list of thought-leaders regarding the nation’s future.

SkillsUSA Highlighted during Washington Symposium

January 15th, 2013

Board member Joe Pietrantonio of Air Products served as a panelist at the Talent Driven Innovation – Best Practices Symposium on November 28th at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The Symposium was sponsored by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte and was moderated by The Manufacturing Institute’s Jennifer McNelly, a member of our Youth Development Foundation Committee. Joe participated in a discussion on “How Global Businesses Operate Public-Private Partnerships.” Joe used Air Products’ positive experience with SkillsUSA extensively in his remarks, and his fellow panelists from Toyota, Alcoa Foundation and Haas Automation also spoke on the benefits of their respective company’s relationships with SkillsUSA. There were positive references to SkillsUSA throughout the Symposium, but especially during the above-referenced panel. Joe said he was pleased with how much positive reaction occurred after the panel discussion, including the enthusiastic support of Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates.

In a related development, in December Deloitte requested additional information about SkillsUSA and our partnerships for a report entitled “Manufacturing for Growth” that Deloitte and the World Economic Forum will premiere at the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland this month. SkillsUSA was recommended to Deloitte as an example of a best-practice, public-private partnership “based on conversations we have had with leaders around the world.” We sent in all of the information. This will be one more step toward being “internationally known” as we say in Vision 2020.

WorldTeam Debriefing

January 15th, 2013

We held a WorldTeam conference call on December 19th including the technical experts, competitors and some state association directors. The experts and competitors who attended WorldSkills Americas in Brazil gave overviews of what they experienced. The key take away was that the competition was intense and that this is actually “a very big deal.” Sharing their insights with those experts and competitors who could not attend will help set the stage for the rest of the training and meetings the team will be undergoing.

We also discussed what materials and other things experts and competitors will need. We will do all that we can to accommodate their needs based on budget. And, we talked about getting the whole WorldTeam to the national office for additional training and visits to D.C. this coming spring. A decision will be made in February pending budget.


January 15th, 2013
  • On December 17th, members of the Office of Business Partnership and Development and Education, Training and Assessments Office joined me for a visit with the CEO of ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence), and the executive directors of NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) and AYES (Automotive Youth Educational Systems) to talk about strengthening our mutual alliance and capitalizing on a shared vision of our business partners. We also discussed customizing the Professional Development Program (PDP) to make the curriculum auto industry specific. NATEF wants to include employability skills in its curriculum and believes this is a way to do it. We’ll be meeting again soon and will seek funding to design and publish the polished up PDP.
  • Staff reported last week that we’ve secured a $50,000 grant from the Alcoa Foundation for the purpose of informing youth about careers in manufacturing in two communities where Alcoa has facilities. We’ll be informing state associations of the locations once Alcoa has determined them.
  • We now have state association support for four additional demonstration competitions during this year’s Championships: Community Action Project; Graphic Imaging Sublimation (graphic imaging); Humanoid Robotics (programming robots for dangerous tasks); and, Urban Search and Rescue (a RoboRescue Challenge). This will take us to six demonstration contests and a total of 98 contests overall.

CTE Month and SkillsUSA Week Events

January 15th, 2013

February is Career and Technical Education Month and February 10-16 is SkillsUSA Week. SkillsUSA Week activities are a great way to highlight the good work your state association and local chapters are doing. For SkillsUSA Week ideas, see the Chapter Management section on the SkillsUSA website. SkillsUSA offers downloadable public service announcements at:

On February 12th, at 1 p.m. EST, SkillsUSA will be holding a Web conference to kick off SkillsUSA’s week of celebration. Hear from your national student leaders and SkillsUSA leaders on the state of the organization. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions. All state directors, instructors and members are welcome to participate in the Web conference.


Free Webinars in 2013

January 15th, 2013

Free national Web conferences are scheduled for 2013. It’s your chance to hear from and communicate with national staff. We’ll provide some training and information on professional development, some updating and motivating advice and tips on being a national leader.

Please join us for one or both of these events and encourage your state leaders and chapters to participate. Invite students, officer teams, key advisors, instructors, alumni and others. The links will be available soon. Please check the website for the links.

SkillsUSA Week: Prepared with the Skills America Needs – February 12, 2013, 1 p.m. (EST)
Use this webinar to help kick off SkillsUSA Week celebrations. Hear from your SkillsUSA leaders on the state of the organization. Listen to what it means to be “Prepared with the Skills America Needs,” which is this year’s theme. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions. To participate, go to: and click on the link. The meeting number is 46844558 and the participant passcode is 5892.

2013 SkillsUSA University

January 15th, 2013

We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topics to present at the 2013 SkillsUSA University. This year SkillsUSA University is sponsored by Universal Technical Institute. All sessions will take place at the Downtown Marriott Hotel or the Kansas City Convention Center on June 26, 27 and 28.

We ask state directors or instructors who would like to present to send emails with proposed topics to Nikole Clausen at

Possible topics: local chapter activities; fundraising; community service; SkillsUSA Program of Work success stories; business etiquette; communication skills for students; local industry partnerships, etc. These can be best practices (with a local advisor presenting) or an expert in the subject area. If you do not want to present, but you have suggestions for workshop topics, please feel free to forward them to us.

The deadline for proposals is February 28. For more information and a Request for Proposal (RFP), go to:

Discounts with Intercontinental Hotels Group for SkillsUSA members and partners

January 15th, 2013

Effective immediately, SkillsUSA staff, state directors, alumni, professional and student members-along with all of our partners can book hotel rooms, both business and personal, under our new corporate account with Intercontinental Hotels Group. Intercontinental hotels include some of the largest variety of hotels in the country such as Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, The Intercontinental, Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites. This account is a great member/partner benefit to SkillsUSA.

This program provides up to 10 percent additional savings from advertised rates, specials and online advance purchases. It’s very easy. Listed below are the SkillsUSA Corporate ID number; URLs and, directions to book.

SkillsUSA Corporate ID: 100293475

  1. Under search enter the country, city, state, arrival, departure dates, and number of guests, bed type, and special requests and click on Find Hotel.
  2. This will result in a geographic display of the city and state you have selected. Scroll down and you will see a brief description of each property in that geographic area and rate ranges for that location- these rate ranges include the SkillsUSA discount.
  3. The SkillsUSA MMA (Mid Market Account) rates will usually be displayed first (unless the hotel is offering an advance purchase rate which will charge the entire reservation booking in advance and does not offer a refund policy). The SkillsUSA discounted rate is calculated off the hotels Best Flexible Rate Structure (which is set to maximize hotel occupancy based industry standards of past performance, group demand, etc). As a result of this system, if you visit a specific location frequently you may see that your rate fluctuates based upon these different factors.
  4. Last step—select your location and preference choices, secure the reservation with a credit card and receive a confirmation number.

Other options for booking a room: call into 1-800 HOLIDAY and provide them with SkillsUSA’s Corporate ID # 100293475.

2013 ACTE National Policy Seminar: March 4-6, 2013

January 15th, 2013

Registration is open for the 2013 ACTE National Policy Seminar. This year, the CTE community will “climb the Hill” in March during the 2013 ACTE National Policy Seminar. The focus of the conference will center on how to overcome key obstacles, such as funding battles, and working with both sides of the aisle in today’s partisan environment to create successful CTE policy. For more information, go to

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