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Executive Directors Report: January 15, 2014

January 15th, 2014

FY 15-16 Strategic Planning
Every year in January, SkillsUSA staff spends a week in strategic planning for the next fiscal year. Staff worked diligently last week developing the goals, objectives and tactics for the FY 15-16 strategic plan. During this process, we always take a look back as we move forward. Fiscal Year 2013 ended August 31 and there were so many superlatives that we can all be proud of.  Thank you all for making it such an amazing year for SkillsUSA and the great students and teachers we serve.  Here is a short video clip showing a few special moments from 2013:

Membership News
I’d also like to recognize the state associations who are growing participation and opportunity for students and teachers through outstanding membership recruitment efforts.  Our focus this year is centered around 2RE: Reach, Recruit and Engage. Most importantly, once we reach and recruit students with the positive message of SkillsUSA, we want them to become engaged in activities that will make a positive difference in their career pathways and their personal and professional development.  The new tools and resources that were introduced for 2013-14 are hopefully helping make this a little easier and more effective for state associations this year.

The following states are listed in order of their reaching membership above last year’s grand total:

  • California, Clay Mitchell, State Association Director
  • Rhode Island, Josh Klemp, State Association Director
  • Arizona, Carrie Wolf, State Association Director
  • Indiana, Kelley Baker, State Association Director
  • Connecticut, Heidi Balch, State Association Director
  • District of Columbia, Ed Roebuck, State Association Director
  • Mississippi, Andy Sims, State Association Director

As of today, we have just over 215,750 members on the books. We are trending well and are optimistic the push forward will continue through the new year.


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

ACTE National Policy Seminar: March 3-5, 2014

January 15th, 2014

Registration is open for the 2014 ACTE National Policy Seminar (NPS). This year, NPS will feature the latest information from Capitol Hill staff and Members of Congress on the reauthorization of Perkins (See this link), as well as ongoing reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (See this link), Higher Education Act (See this link) and Workforce Investment Act (See this link).

Attendees will also receive timely updates on federal funding for Perkins and other key programs, with important details on how you can best influence the funding process; opportunities to weigh in on the critical policy issues affecting their programs; and advocacy tips and tools to promote their your program at the local, state and federal levels.

For more information, go to:

2014 SkillsUSA University

January 15th, 2014

We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topics to present at the 2014 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 25, 26 and 27.

We ask state directors or instructors who would like to present to send emails with proposed topics to Niki 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:

State Certified Training

January 15th, 2014

The State Certified Training Program trains SkillsUSA Advisors to be advisor trainers at the state level.  Each State Certified Trainer receives a Trainer Manual including PowerPoint presentations and additional training materials.  State Certified Trainers also receive SkillsUSA materials.

The next new State Certified Trainer Training will be held February 19-21, 2014 in Little Rock, Ark. The schedule follows:

  • February 19 – travel day (those who arrive in Little Rock by 7 p.m. are invited to meet in the hotel lobby to go to dinner)
  • February 20 – full day of training
  • February 21 – half day of training ending with lunch so participants can catch afternoon/evening flights home

Training will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Little Rock, AR. (Address: 424 West Markham, Little Rock, AR, 72201, 501-372-4371)

SkillsUSA will cover hotel expenses (room and tax), meal expenses during the training and all training materials for the first two trainers per state. Participants/states will be responsible for all travel expenses (airline and ground transportation) and incidental expenses. If your state already has two active trainers, and state directors would like to add additional trainers, we ask that the state cover the cost of travel and hotel and SkillsUSA will cover the cost of meals and training material.

Participant registration must come from the state association director. Participants should possess teaching or training experience at the high school or college/postsecondary level; have used the PDP and/or CSEP curriculum in the classroom; be active in SkillsUSA activities at local and state levels; and, maintain a flexible schedule to assist state director with advisor training.

Alumni Pin Design Competition

January 15th, 2014

SkillsUSA sponsors an alumni pin design competition that is open to all SkillsUSA registered alumni. This year, the winning design will become the official 50th Conference Commemorative pin for the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. The pin will be produced by the SkillsUSA Store and sold at the alumni booth.

If you have questions, please contact Heidi Walsh at For contest details and rules, go to: All entries must be received (not postmarked) in the SkillsUSA national headquarters by the close of business on February 28, 2014.

National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Contest

January 15th, 2014

SkillsUSA and Lowe’s sponsor a national conference pin and T-shirt design competition that is open to all dues-paying student members of the organization. The winning designs will become the official pin or T-shirt for the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. The pin and T-shirt will be produced by the SkillsUSA Store.

There will be one national winner for the pin design and one national winner for the T-shirt design. Each winner will receive the following, provided by SkillsUSA and Lowe’s:

  • Plaque with his or her design
  • A travel stipend to attend the SkillsUSA national conference
  • A $5,000 Lowe’s program improvement grant to each winner’s school
  • Complimentary samples of the pin or T-shirt that is produced
  • Recognition of the winner on the SkillsUSA website
  • Recognition for student and advisor at the national conference

February 1, 2014, is the deadline for entries. Rules are in the membership kit and are also posted on the SkillsUSA website at: Questions may be directed to Heidi Walsh at 703-737-0615 or by email to

Call for SkillsUSA Talent Reminder

January 15th, 2014

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

Discount Travel for the 50th National Leadership and Skills Conference

January 15th, 2014

SkillsUSA has partnered with American Airlines for five percent off published fares, even sale prices, to attend the 2014 National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Kansas City, Missouri (travel to/from Kansas City International Airport – MCI). This offer includes the travel dates between June 10-June 28, 2014. The authorization code is A7864DD.

There are several ways to book the discounted tickets.

  • To book online, go to: This is for AA/AE flights only and there will be no ticketing charge. Please allow for at least one business hour for loading. Use the authorization code without the preceding A (7864DD) as the promotion code.
  • Tickets may also be purchased through the agency of record, or by calling American Airlines Meeting Services at 1-800-433-1790. For American Airlines ticketing, the form of payment must be made by money order, certified/cashier check or with a valid credit card. A separate $25.00 service charge will apply per ticket (this is subject to change). If booking through a travel agency, please let them know they need to provide the following statement in the general facts field of the PNR: AA Contract Booking A7864DD. Failure to provide this information will result in auto-cancellation of the space.

This offer is valid for percentage discount travel where American Airlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, codeshare and all oneworld Alliance Partners (collectively “American Airlines”) provide service. Travel is not valid on codeshare flights operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, WestJet, Cape Air, JetStar Airways or Qatar Airways. This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other discount.

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