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Highlights

February 28th, 2013
  • SkillsUSA had an exhibit at the AACC’s Workforce Development Institute from January 30-February 2 in San Diego. The annual conference is growing in size and a lot of people stopped by the exhibit. National officer Ben Morris was a featured luncheon speaker – the only student speaker in the entire conference – and he was followed by Assistant Secretary of Education Brenda Dann-Messier who had lots of great things to say about Ben and about SkillsUSA. Current SkillsUSA board member Kathy Jo Mannes and past board member Jim McKenney were both in attendance, of course, as well as past board member Greg Rintala.
  • Staff reports that UTI (Universal Technical Institute) will sponsor SkillsUSA University at national conference this year. UTI is talking about the possibility of having representatives from NASCAR attend conference as well.
  • Larry Rabalais, SkillsUSA Louisiana state association director, high school (and a former SkillsUSA board member) reports that 25 students and four teachers from Bonnabel High School participated in the Super Bowl sanctioned 18th Annual Rebuilding Together event in New Orleans. Larry said the event was well-run, the students and teachers worked hard, and it was a positive experience for all concerned. Lowe’s was the “presenting sponsor.”

New Partnership with Gates Corporation Education

February 28th, 2013

Gates Corporation logoSkillsUSA is excited to announce a new partnership with Gates Corporation Education. Their “Tools for Schools” program is a great opportunity for SkillsUSA’s automotive teachers.

The purpose of the “Tools for Schools” program is to provide educators with supplemental educational materials from a global company. Gates assists many of the Original Equipment Manufacturers with their research and development and through this program new products and systems are designed and problems solved. Technology is changing so quickly that it can take years for the latest information to reach you and your students. The “Tools for Schools” program is one way Gates can ensure the latest technology and information are available to you 24/7 simply by accessing their website. Gates hopes you make their site a daily part of your learning curriculum and visit often.

The “Tools for Schools” program is made up of three components: (1) “Tools for Schools” website where all elements of the program can be found; (2) “Tools for Schools” Performance Center eLearning for your students contains a wealth of informative content and tests each student’s ability to retain and understand via an exclusive training quiz found at the end of each segment; and, (3) “Tools for Schools” “Free” tool program. A program designed to reward the school for using the eLearning tool and using Gates products. Schools can earn Gates diagnostic and installation tools by accumulating points based on program participation.

Websites for this Program

Tools for Schools Webpage for the Educator (only): www.gates.com/education

Gates Performance Center for Students: http://gatesaftermarkettrainingcenter.com

For more information, please contact: Bobby Bassett, manager, Training Automotive Aftermarket, Gates Corporation, cell 601-954-4152, email: rbassett@gates.com.

Alumni Membership Incentive

February 27th, 2013

Join the SkillsUSA Alumni and FriendsThe Alumni Coordinating Committee is offering an incentive for SkillsUSA advisors who sign up alumni from their chapters. For every five members an advisor registers with the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association, he or she will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Lowe’s gift card.

To be officially entered into the drawing, the advisor must have students register online at: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumnijoin.shtml. (Paper forms will not be accepted.) The advisor must then send an email to Byekwaso Gilbert at bgilbert@skillsusa.org. The email must contain all of the following: the advisor’s name, school, address, phone and email (make sure what you provide will be accessible to you after June 1); and, a list (for verification) of the students (first and last names) who registered as alumni.

Remember that graduating seniors qualify to register during their senior year. Former SkillsUSA students are also eligible, provided they are not members already. These students must register through their former advisor to be counted as part of that advisor’s entry. Students may only register once. Deadline for entry into the drawing is June 1.

Harley-Davidson Raffle

February 27th, 2013

Harley Raffle

SkillsUSA will, once again, be raffling off a Dyna Super Glide Motorcycle at the 2013 National Conference Awards Ceremony, Friday, June 28, in Kansas City. This event is made possible thanks to a generous donation by Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc.

The SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association will be the beneficiary of this year’s raffle. Tickets are $5 each or five tickets for $20.

Tickets can be purchase online at this link.

Making the Case for Manufacturing Careers

February 15th, 2013

Mike Rowe and Tim Lawrence

Three corporate representatives from Caterpillar – including Youth Development Foundation (YDF) member, Cameron Ferguson – met on January 28 at National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) headquarters with YDF member, Jennifer McNelly, president of The Manufacturing Institute and her communications team, Mike Rowe of mikeroweWORKS, another SkillsUSA staff member and me. The overarching topic was the public image of manufacturing and how to engage all four organizations in a national movement to educate youth about the benefits and opportunities of careers in manufacturing. Jennifer and her team are working on an action plan including media outreach featuring Mike Rowe.

The following day, Mike Rowe and his team met with Cameron and his team and me in Washington, D.C. Mike is a corporate spokesman for Caterpillar as well as a scholarship underwriter for SkillsUSA. We spoke with him about participation in the national conference, doing some promotion for SkillsUSA including the WorldTeam and promotion to recruit students into technical pathways. He’s interested! He loves the SkillsUSA Creed and was happy to hear that of the 50 students who received mikeroweWORKS travel scholarships to conference last year, four took medals and 13 finished in the top ten of their contests. He also enjoyed hearing from Cameron and friends about the students they’d met that morning from Washington County Technical High School in Hagerstown, Md. The students said what they believe is important is to do something for others and leave the world a better place. I believe Mike Rowe liked that as much as he liked the SkillsUSA Creed.

Atlanta Meeting with State Association Directors

February 14th, 2013

Mike Cowles chaired the annual meeting of the State Association Directors’ Executive Committee, January 23-26. I was joined by several staff members. The committee devoted much of its agenda to planning the state directors’ summer conference to be held this year in Portland, Maine. We also had a frank discussion on both this year’s national conference registration fee increase and about states signing up under the national liability insurance policy.

We received good feedback on the first draft of the FY14 strategic plan. They were enthusiastic about proposals for outreach such as a monthly e-newsletter to school administrators. They also strongly supported our working to engage with state departments of education to make SkillsUSA a priority. They want us to emphasize the importance of training advisors in chapter management when we meet with departments of education and state CTE directors. There was also a great deal of interest in cross-walking SkillsUSA curriculum to the Common Core Standards. They specifically recommended an instructor guide on how the Professional Development Program can reinforce teaching the Common Core. Speaking of core, they recommended that SkillsUSA develop an easily understood framework that helps teachers deliver the SkillsUSA core program that creates student success. They were enthusiastic about the Skills Build America individual giving campaign saying they want to be more involved and do more to promote it at the state level.

Thanks go to all involved and particularly for the chair leadership of Ohio state association director, Mike Cowles.

 

Highlights

February 14th, 2013
  • The Youth Development Foundation Committee met through a conference call on January 30 to discuss major funding priorities. The majority of committee members participated, and we were joined by two new members, Taryn McKenzie of Delmar, Cengage Learning and John Kett of Insurance Auto Auction International. The next YDF meeting is scheduled for April 16-17 here in Leesburg.
  • I had a great telephone conversation with SkillsUSA Champion of the Year and Snap-on CEO, Nick Pinchuk, on January 31. Nick says he’ll be making some high-level contacts for SkillsUSA, and he’s willing to travel on a couple of occasions this year to visit partners and high-value prospective sponsors. I also thanked him for his generous personal contribution to the Skills Build America campaign.
  • As you may recall, I served on the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE) Independent Advisory Panel. I recently received word that the interim report from the NACTE was sent to Congress on February 8, way ahead of any serious talk of reauthorizing the Perkins Act. The more comprehensive final report is due to be released in the fall of 2013.

Student2Student Mentoring Program

February 14th, 2013

Student2Student Mentoring photoSkillsUSA sponsors a national recognition program based on the Student2Student mentoring program. Any chapter involved in mentoring can submit its project plan, description and outcomes. The winning chapter will be given a cash prize, recognized at the National Leadership and Skills Conference, in Awards and Recognition booklet and at an event during the conference. In addition, the overall winning chapter will be invited to present its winning mentoring program as a part of SkillsUSA University. For more information, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/mentrecog.shtml. All entries must be submitted online to the national office by April 4. Winners will be announced in May.

New Student Opportunity from Aggreko

February 14th, 2013

Aggreko logoSkillsUSA is excited to announce Aggreko as a new official partner and they have an exciting opportunity for our SkillsUSA members. Aggreko, the global leader in providing temporary power generation, temperature control, and oil-free compressed air systems, has partnered with the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) to offer an exclusive opportunity to a select group of SkillsUSA’s mechanically gifted students.

This opportunity, called the Aggreko SelecTech Accelerated Career Program, is a two year rotational program that allows program members to earn valuable experience working on state of the art industrialized equipment while earning an Associate in Applied Science degree in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics from OSUIT. The two-year, trimester-based program consists of equal parts coursework at OSUIT in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and paid internships at Aggreko facilities and events throughout the U.S., including near their hometown. If you have students who would be interested or if you would like more information, please contact Devin Murphy at devin.murphy@aggreko.com or call him at 281-985-8241 (office) or 832-627-4352 (cell).

Alumni Pin Design Contest Reminder

February 14th, 2013

Alumni PinThe SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association is sponsoring an alumni pin design contest. The winning design will become the official alumni pin for the 2013 National Leadership and Skills Conference. The deadline for pin designs to be received by the national office is February 28. Designs must be received, not postmarked by February 28, and those submitting designs must be registered alumni members.

If you have any questions, please contact Heidi Walsh at hwalsh@skillsusa.org or call 703-737-0615. For more information and contest guidelines, go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumni.shtml.


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