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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.



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: 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 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 or call 703-737-0615. For more information and contest guidelines, go to:

Honorary Life and Outstanding Career and Technical Educator Nominees Reminder

February 14th, 2013

NominationsIf you would like to nominate someone for SkillsUSA’s national Honorary Life Membership or Outstanding Career and Technical Educator, please submit your nomination by going to the following assigned links and completing the online application.

The deadline for both applications is February 18.

To nominate someone for Outstanding Educator, visit: For Honorary Life, visit:


If you have any questions, please contact Marsha Daves via email – or by phone – 703-737-0605.

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