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Got Champions?

May 31st, 2013

SkillsUSA Champions magazineAt the national conference, the staff of SkillsUSA Champions magazine will be on the lookout for interview subjects and cover models.

If you know of a SkillsUSA student, advisor, industry representative or alumnus who will be at conference and whose story would be motivating and inspirational, please email Tom Hall at He’ll then set up a specific time to meet with the magazine staff.

In addition, if you have a student who is going to the national conference and he or she could be a potential cover model, there will be designated “photo studio” hours. Please let Tom know, and he will contact you with the available times. Four students’ photos will be chosen to appear on SkillsUSA Champions covers next year. The remaining photos will appear in various materials, from the membership poster to other promotions. Our magazine staff looks forward to meeting your Champions at conference!

Sample Press Release for NLSC Competitors and participants

May 31st, 2013

NLSC press releasesA sample press release has been added to SkillsUSA’s advocacy site. It’s a template to be used by state association directors, instructors, parents and others to help get the word out to the media about the students who competed or participated in some other way (e.g., as a delegate, Courtesy Corps member, etc.) during the National Leadership and Skills Conference. The press release can be sent to five media outlets at a time. The site can be reached by going to:

We hope you take advantage of this valuable tool and spread the word!

Timberland PRO and Harvester’s Community Food Network Food Drive

May 31st, 2013

HarvestersThis year, Timberland PRO is again sponsoring SkillsUSA and the NLSC in multiple ways: by managing the Community Service competition; providing footwear to over 150 competition winners, including 20 members of the WorldTeam; hosting the mobile marketing booth at conference; hosting the 12th annual community service day on Friday, June 28th; and, sponsoring a virtual food drive in support of Harvester’s Community Food Network.

This year’s food drive has begun, and we encourage you to go to the Timberland/Harvesters virtual food drive and make a donation. Harvester’s is recognized for excellence in the use of donated resources, as they use less than 3 percent of monies donated towards administration and fundraising, with the bulk being spent on food acquisition, distribution and education. Timberland PRO hopes to raise a total of $1,000 to help Harvester’s reach their goal of distributing 66,000 meals every week. A donation of $1 can feed five people and Timberland PRO will match donations up to $1,000. Every person who donates will be entered into a raffle to win a $250 American Express gift card. The link to the virtual food drive is: The drive is now open, and they will accept donations through Friday, June 28th. Please contact Christy Greco with questions at (603) 773-1720 or by email to

Thoughts on the Oklahoma Tornado

May 21st, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Oklahoma during this difficult time of tragedy.

The American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma says the following about how to help:

“The best way for everyone to help the Red Cross is to make a monetary donation. Please call 1-800-RedCross, go to or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation from your mobile device. If you want to volunteer please call our chapter at 405-228-9500. Thank you!”

Youth Development Foundation Committee Meeting

May 15th, 2013

On April 16-17, the SkillsUSA Youth Development Foundation (YDF) met at the National Leadership Center. The meeting was very well attended and was one of the most interactive on record. The meeting started with a review of the FY14 strategic plan. Chairman Dave Camden and our Business Partnerships and Development staff then led the Foundation through a series of exercises to help SkillsUSA with strategy to move our partnerships efforts forward. Specifically, the committee broke into three working groups to address the topics of events and point of entry for new partners; fundraising for the transition to Louisville; and, partner development. Each subcommittee will be chaired by a YDF Committee member with regular meetings and reports taking place throughout the year. Every YDF member was engaged, and I believe we have a great beginning with new ideas and strategies in place for the future. Dave Camden has now retired from Toyota and this was his final YDF meeting. We are pleased and excited that Laurie Hackett of Air Products will be assuming the position of YDF chair.


Middle School Task Force Meeting

May 15th, 2013

On April 17-19, SkillsUSA hosted a Middle School Task Force meeting in Leesburg. Five state association directors who currently serve the middle school market attended and provided great input into what a middle school division of SkillsUSA might look like. Directors from Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska, South Carolina and Wisconsin participated. Our Marketing, Membership and Sales Office led the discussion, and Gayle Silvey did a superb job of facilitating the meeting. Staff and I participated during the entire meeting. As you probably know, SkillsUSA is exploring the development of a middle school membership component to serve this very important group of young people. Since many states already serve the middle school market, our vision is to provide a national pathway in SkillsUSA for these students and schools. The group focused on key priorities in developing a middle school plan, benefits and advantages, definition of membership, chapter model structure, chapter operations, dues structure and the creation a clear plan of action. There will be lots more to share with you in the coming months as we work to complete the plan of action.


NCCER Board Meeting

May 15th, 2013

On April 23-24, I attended the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Board of Trustees meeting in Indianapolis. SkillsUSA continues to become more involved with NCCER and their globally-recognized contractor members. NCCER CEO Don Whyte provided an update on the state of the association and announced a pre-pilot of a Skills-to-Industry Recruitment Alliance that will involve potential hiring of SkillsUSA students by these contractors. He also announced a $40,000 fundraising goal for support of our national Carpentry contest and new sponsorship of our national Masonry contest. NCCER Vice President Steve Greene announced new scholarships for SkillsUSA members and more connection to the NCCER Build Your Future initiative. Don Whyte and board member Boyd Worsham (also our national carpentry tech committee chair) will be traveling with us to Germany in July in support of our WorldTeam. In another piece of positive news, our BPD staff has been working with NCCER member Fluor Construction to gain support from the corporation. It’s always good to be a part of the governance of trade associations, but also a great opportunity to network with top executives from the industries represented.

WorldTeam in Leesburg

May 15th, 2013

On April 27-29, SkillsUSA had 19 of our 20 competitors in Leesburg (our Welding competitor was in Australia competing) for team training and coaching as we continue to prepare for the WorldSkills Competition to be held in Leipzig, Germany, July 2-7, 2013. The training was designed to help them get to know their fellow team members, team leaders and staff and feel confident about the entire WorldSkills event.

During our time together, we provided them with information and training about traveling abroad, representing the United States, being a leader and managing time and stress. We also conducted scenario training based on actual events/issues competitors have experienced at prior WorldSkills Competitions. Competitors were able to talk about any issues, technical training, etc., that they may have. In addition, we visited the German Embassy to get a feel for German culture and learn about the country and then had lunch at a German restaurant. During lunch, Sam Morgante, representing Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-02), joined us and addressed the team. (Representative Langevin is one of the co-chairs of the CTE Caucus.)

SkillsUSA is grateful for the WorldTeam training that is being conducted by the experts and for the tremendous support from our industry sponsors: Lowe’s, Snap-on, 3M, Festo, AWS, AWI, ASE, Carhartt, John Deere, Toyota, Lincoln, Miller, Pivot Point, Unilver Foods, WOW Web Professionals and the state associations from Fla., Mass., Mich., Wis., N.C., S.C., Ohio and Pa.

SLSC Highlights

May 15th, 2013

I continue to hear from state association directors regarding excellent state leadership and skills conferences and most are experiencing record participation. Here are a few highlights: state director Janet Conner in Texas reported over 6,000 registered for the Texas high school SLSC and Board President James King reported the largest Tennessee SLSC in history.

State Director Mike Cowles provided these statistics about the Ohio SLSC: 93 competitive events; 90+ schools both high school and college/postsecondary; 2,600 competitors; 400 instructors and administrators; 338,000 sq. ft. wall-to-wall under one roof; $8 million of industry, education and government in-kind and financial support; 400+ volunteers representing education, business and industry, state and federal government and military; and, 51 state officer candidates and six national officer candidates. To see a video from the Ohio competition, go to:

In addition to the great conferences happening across the nation, it’s important to note that our state association directors sometime face great challenges. North Dakota’s SLSC was hit by a massive snow storm and had to be cancelled and the Michigan SLSC was hit with flooding that forced several changes in facilities and interruption of several chapters’ lodging plans. A big thank you to SkillsUSA North Dakota director Clark Molter and SkillsUSA Michigan director Tammy Brown for their dedication and perseverance during these difficult challenges. They are an inspiration to us all as they held their heads high in the face of change and created alternatives for our students and teachers.

And finally, state director Karen Ward in Massachusetts held her SLSC at the end of April. This association has faced a lot during the Boston Marathon tragedy and instituted new security procedures for the conference. In speaking with her, I was impressed with the SLSC theme set by the state association back in March: “SkillsUSA Strong.” Incredibly, this theme directly aligns with the theme that the City of Boston embraced: “Boston Strong.” The SkillsUSA Strong theme appeared on the SLSC conference literature and on the opening and awards ceremonies stage.


May 15th, 2013
  • The final membership report for the 2012-13 school year is complete and is located at:
  • Staff attended the Texas high school SLSC, held in Corpus Christi April 4-6, and helped to interview state and national officer candidates and run the alumni booth.
  • Staff traveled to Louisville, April 10-12, for 2015 NLSC planning and met with service providers interested in bidding on transportation and security services; met with management at the Kentucky Exposition Center to identify additional meeting space and determine a location for awards photos; and, they met with the exclusive caterer and electrical service provider. They wrapped up the visit by visiting a potential entertainment venue and some hotels interested in providing room blocks.

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