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Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2014

Happy 2014! On behalf of our national staff, Board of Directors and our wonderful team of national officers, I wish you happiness, good health and a prosperous New Year.

ACTE Convention
I traveled to Las Vegas to attend the annual Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Convention, December 4-7. There were 3,497 in attendance and staff members Marsha Daves, Niki Clausen, Heidi Walsh and I were extremely busy there. National high school vice president Laura Gouillon, a pre-engineering student from California and college/postsecondary president, Leah Rife, a graphic arts student from Colorado, also attended and spoke at various meetings on behalf of SkillsUSA and worked very hard in the SkillsUSA booth at the Career Tech Expo. Both students made us extremely proud.

I participated in two Trade and Industrial Education Division meetings, and Laura Gouillon, Leah Rife and I presented SkillsUSA updates at both sessions. I was involved in a great ASE/NATEF meeting with instructors and administrators, a reception, and a panel discussion with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). SkillsUSA was recognized and commended at both meetings. I also had a very positive lunch meeting with the new CEO and the new Chairman of intelitek. This company provides over a million dollars in robotics and automated manufacturing equipment annually at the SkillsUSA Championships and also hosts both our high school and college employability curricula on their Learning Management System.

On Wednesday evening, I was privileged to attend the ACTE Awards Banquet where board member and SkillsUSA Minnesota Director, Jen Polz, was honored with the ACTE Region 3 Outstanding Educator Award. We are very proud of Jen and this great accomplishment. The keynote speaker at the banquet was U.S. Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan. Jen received her award from Assistant Secretary of Education Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier.

Both staff and national officers met with a number of business partners and prospects at the Career Tech Expo. I had good meetings with Goodheart-Wilcox, Lincoln Electric, Snap-on, Channellock, Autodesk and the U.S. Army, just to name a few. We also met with several companies who expressed serious interest in getting involved. It was also great to spend time with board members Dave Milliken, Peggy Torrens and Jeff Johnson and several state CTE directors.

On Thursday evening, I hosted 28 of our state leaders at a nice dinner at Maggiano’s Restaurant. This dinner was a thank you for state association directors, corporate members and state education department officials. It was great to have Greg Rintala of Snap-on and his wife join us as well as Amelia Mitchell Powers, former national officer, and now a corporate trainer for CAT. Our two national officers also participated and thanked the group for all their support.

On Friday and Saturday, Niki Clausen and Marsha Daves made three SkillsUSA presentations for the ACTE participants. Marsha presented “The Easy Button – Teaching and Assessing Work-Ready Skills and Career-Ready Practices in the CCCS” and Niki Clausen presented great sessions on “Why SkillsUSA.”

WorldSkills Update
We will be sending a small delegation to the WorldSkills Americas competition to be held in Bogota, Columbia, April 1-6, 2014. At this time, we have sponsorship and endorsement to send, at minimum, a cabinetmaker and automotive tech student, their experts and our technical delegate and team leader. We are also working with Canada in an attempt to house both our delegation students and adults in the same hotel for safety and security purposes.

Speaking of Canada, we are in discussion with Skills Canada, and, our two countries are interested in jointly hosting the 2016 WorldSkills General Assembly. We plan to submit a letter of interest in early 2014. The major costs of this meeting are covered by registration fees paid by each member country. Our proposed venue is on the USA/Canada border at Niagara Falls. It’s a world-class destination, and we believe it would be an incredible spot for the WSI General Assembly. We believe this activity would help us continue to ramp up our WorldSkills involvement and international credibility as called for in Vision 2020.

A big thank you goes to SkillsUSA Kentucky, CTE Director Dale Winkler, the State Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE). Thanks also to Joe Morgan and Fran Dundon for their support. The support from the Kentucky OCTE is invaluable and will help us tremendously as we transition to Louisville.

Planning for the “Circle of Champions” Breakfast in Louisville
December 1-2 were busy with several meetings centered around planning our first business/community outreach in Louisville, Kentucky. Much time was spent developing the agenda, logistical planning and guest list with leaders from Greater Louisville, Inc., the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Kentucky Exposition Center. Afterward, Louisville leadership arranged for me to meet with Mayor Greg Fischer and present how SkillsUSA members will impact the Louisville community with workforce opportunities as we plan toward the 2015 National Leadership & Skills Conference and beyond.

Mayor Fischer agreed to reach out to the Louisville business community on behalf of SkillsUSA. His support is vital to us as we work to develop a business advisory foundation that will support national conference efforts over the next six years.

SkillsUSA created a press release, came up with a short video to share with the Louisville business community and sent out invitations to 1,500 businesses covering the Louisville, Kentucky-Clarksville, Indiana area asking for attendance at the “Circle of Champions” breakfast on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at the Kentucky Exposition Center. The event will begin with a “circle” of select SkillsUSA students who will demonstrate their skill and leadership areas as our invited guests enter the facility at 8 a.m. A brief presentation will begin at 8:30 a.m. that will include a message from Mayor Greg Fischer and other speakers currently being identified. We are confident this event is the beginning of a strong and fruitful relationship with the Louisville, Kentucky community.

Highlights

  • Kelly Horton attended the SkillsUSA Massachusetts FLC and reported the conference had over 600 members in attendance and was the largest fall conference for the state to date. She facilitated a workshop about engaging students through SkillsUSA’s educational resources, and SkillsUSA Massachusetts purchased enough educational materials so that each participating school would receive a complete set of resources to assist students in their employability skills development.
  • Kelly also reports that her presentation to the state presidents of the New England region of the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) went well. She spoke to them, at the request of Universal Technical Institute, about SkillsUSA and how it helps the student to prepare for the world of work.
  • Gayle Silvey attended the Georgia college/postsecondary FLC and facilitated a membership growth and retention workshop for about 50 instructors. Strategies discussed included ways to reach, recruit and engage college/postsecondary members in SkillsUSA to help them advance their employability skills and careers. Gayle also attended the Tennessee college/postsecondary TLTI where she facilitated three workshops for approximately 60 instructors. These workshops focused on infusing educational resources into classroom instruction, curriculum and chapter meetings.
  • Together, Gayle and Kelly hosted a Strategic Membership Advisory Committee meeting near Dulles Airport, December 10-12. The committee is comprised of senior executive business leaders and educational leaders from the CTE community, and they met to focus on scalable membership growth and development to ensure we reach our Vision 2020 goal of impacting 1 million learners. Board member, Chris Arvin from Caterpillar, and Foundation members Alicia Smales from Snap-on and Larry Teverbaugh from K2Share were among the attendees.
  • The winter 2014 issue of SkillsUSA Champions has been mailed. The electronic version (sponsored by Interstate Batteries Fundraising) is active at: www.skillsusa.org/champions/winter14.shtml.
  • Finally, Karen Beatty reports that the Skills Build America campaign has received $170,000 in corporate and personal donations since it was launched a year ago.

That’s all for now. Happy New Year! Thanks for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

 

ACTIVE ADVISOR NEWS: January 2014

January 1st, 2014

Update from Tim Lawrence
Happy 2014! I hope your holiday break was an enjoyable and happy time with family and friends. As the New Year gets into full swing, I wanted to write and say how much I appreciate all you do and provide you with a few pieces of information that I hope will be helpful to you and your students.

As we look back at 2013, I am reminded of all the work you do that continues to inspire me, our board of directors and national staff. And, looking even further back to our founding in 1965, I am reminded that more than 11 million members have been impacted by our program. This summer, we will kick off our 50th anniversary celebration at the 50th National Leadership and Skills Conference, and the celebration will continue leading us to our 50th birthday on May 8, 2015. If you or your students have ideas for our celebration, please let me know by emailing me at tlawrence@skillsusa.org.

And, as a way to help SkillsUSA continue to impact lives, the SkillsUSA “Skills Build America” Campaign is in full swing. For more information, please go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/supportnew.shtml. I hope you will take time to review the material and consider participating in this very important initiative leading up to our 50th anniversary.

Thank you for all you do for the great students we serve.

Work Force Ready System/Skill Connect Assessments
Work Force Ready SystemAvailable assessments
SkillsUSA assessments offers 42 technical and employability assessments in 10 cluster areas including four co-branded assessments with ASE/AYES and five co-branded assessments with PrintED/GAERF. This year an optional pretest and end-of-program assessment is offered with a pre- and post-comparison report. For a complete list of assessments and the blueprints that describe the standards, competencies, and academic skills tied to each assessment, go to: www.workforcereadysystem.org/technical_areas.shtml.  To order Skill Connect Assessments, go to: www.workforcereadysystem.org.

Historical Reports
Historical data from previous years is now available to access in the new Preceptor platform. Find the data by specifying the date range in any of the following reports: grade book, detailed and summary (aggregated) competency reports, and standard grade and summary (aggregated) reports.

Training Webinars
Training webinars on our assessments are scheduled for this January and March. Join us for one or more on the following topics; “Teacher Tips for Student Success,” “Meeting Industry Demands,” and “Assessment Ordering and Management Tools.” For a complete schedule with descriptions, and to register for a webinar, go to: www.workforcereadysystem.org/webinars.shtml. You will also find an archived webinar – “Assessment Ordering and Management Tools” – offered this past November.

Resources to prepare students for testing
SkillsUSA offers free resources to prepare students for testing. See what’s available at: www.workforcereadysystem.org/resources.shtml. Teacher Preparation Guides are an excellent resource and can be found at: www.workforcereadysystem.org/guides.shtml.  Currently, we have six guides available and plan to have 11 more available by end of January.

If you have used one of our guides, please take a short survey to help us determine content for future guides and periodical updates. Provide feedback at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/TeacherPrepGuides.

Assessment Support
Please note our new phone number, email address and hours of operation.
Direct: 1-866-444-7779
Email: support@skillconnect.org
Help Desk Support Hours: Mon.- Fri. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST

Regional PDP, CMI AND CSEP Training Seminars Update
State Farm Insurance is, once again, generously sponsoring regional Professional Development Program (PDP), Chapter Management Institute (CMI) seminars and Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) seminars. There will be one training session (CMI, PDP or CSEP) per region. All materials and training will be free to participants. The only cost is $30 for lunch and breaks. PDP participants will receive a complete set of PDP materials and free licenses for each level. CMI participants will receive an ASK CD, a SkillsUSA Leadership Handbook and the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards CD package. CSEP participants will receive one free CSEP license.

If you would like to sign-up for or host a regional PDP, CMI or CSEP training seminar, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or sbland@skillsusa.org. A minimum of 25 participants is needed to conduct the training. For the latest seminar information, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/training.shtml.

Help Your Students Expand Their World By Expanding Someone Else’s
January is National Mentoring Month. Get your students involved in SkillsUSA’s Student2Student Mentoring Program now! 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: www.skillsusa.org/educators/mentoring.shtml.

National Conference Pin and T-shirt Contests
February 1, 2014 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: www.skillsusa.org/compete/pindesign.shtml. Questions may be directed to Heidi Walsh at 703-737-0615 or by email to hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

National Youth Safety Video Contest
CareerSafe, Safety Education for America’s Future, is sponsoring the 2013-14 National Youth Safety Video Contest. Students across the country are challenged to create a two-minute video demonstrating safety in the workplace. The contest kicked off on October 15, and all submissions should be sent into CareerSafe by March 1, 2014. The winning students will receive a SkillsUSA Prize Pack as well as a scholarship up to $2,500, and the winning school will receive a prize up to $5,000. For more information on the contest, please visit the CareerSafe website at: www.careersafeonline.com.

Call for SkillsUSA Talent Reminder
Do you have a talented singer in your state who would enjoy a special performance opportunity? SkillsUSA seeks talented singers for the Opening Ceremony or Awards Ceremony during the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. We are looking for a SkillsUSA student or professional 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. Audition tapes must be the singing of the national anthem.

Send in all audition videotapes of the national anthem only on CD or DVD, postmarked by February 1, 2014 to: Heidi Walsh, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176.  Questions may be directed to Heidi at 703-737-0615 or hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

Alumni Coordinating Committee Seeks Nominees for Regions 2, 4 and the Executive Chair
SkillsUSA is accepting nominations of qualified alumni for service on the Alumni Coordinating Committee. Nominations are being accepted for Regions 2 and 4, as well as the executive chair (who can be from any state).

All nominees must be active annual, lifetime or honorary life members in good standing of the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association. In addition, a nominee must have been an active member for at least 12 months preceding the date of nomination. Nominations must be submitted to the national headquarters by April 15, 2014. You may nominate yourself or any alumni member in good standing. If you have questions, please email Heidi Walsh, hwalsh@skillsusa.org, 703-737-0615. For nomination guidelines, visit: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumni.shtml.

Seeking STEM Alumni
Success with an Associate Degree Workforce experts, Carleen MacKay and Cari Lyn Vinci, are collaborating on a ‘Playbook’ to incorporate into a career and life planning program to help teenage girls. They want to interview successful young women (under 30) with an associate degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) industries. They will then incorporate their stories and their advice to inform and motivate teenage girls.

If you were in a STEM program and were a member of SkillsUSA, or if you know of someone who was, contact Heidi Walsh no later than January 10, 2014, at hwalsh@skillsusa.org.


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