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Million Women Mentors Partnership with SkillsUSA

May 1st, 2014

SkillsUSA has a strategic partnership with Million Women Mentors, an initiative to identify mentors of young women who are interested in or are actively pursuing education and careers in STEM-related fields. Any SkillsUSA teacher/advisor, male or female, delivering a STEM-related curriculum who has a female student(s) in his or her class can be recognized as a mentor. Enlisting and retaining more women in STEM occupations benefits both the U.S. economy and the young women themselves.  You can find some compelling statistics about women in the STEM workforce at: www.millionwomenmentors.org/#awareness.

Individuals or schools can sign a “Pledge to Mentor” at MWM’s home page: www.millionwomenmentors.org/#home. Click on the button by that name, then click on “Individual” or “Educational Institution” under the “Type” pull-down menu. In the space for “Company/Organization,” type in your school’s name and append “—SkillsUSA” after your school’s name. There are no obligations involved in signing up beyond your continuing efforts to encourage and mentor young women in their STEM interests and education.  Million Women Mentors is an awareness and engagement campaign of STEMconnector that seeks to enlist one million mentors of young women interested in STEM-related careers.

Blood drive at national conference

May 1st, 2014

There will again be a blood drive as part of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. The drive will be sponsored by the Kansas City Community Blood Center and will be held on Friday, June 27, Bartle Hall, Room 2105 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Blood collected will be used in the Kansas City community, and it is very much in need of donations. Please try to take the time to stop by and participate in this worthy cause and help save a life. You may also register for an appointment ahead of time at: www.esavealifenow.org. Enter the sponsor code “SkillsUSA.” Note: Donors must weigh no less than 115 lbs and must be at least 17 years of age (or a donor can be 16 years of age with written parental permission).

Major Appliance Scholarship Reminder

May 1st, 2014

The Professional Service Association, in partnership with SkillsUSA, is proud to offer a scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA members who have competed and placed first in their state association Major Appliance and Refrigeration Technology competition. The scholarship is to provide support for SkillsUSA state contest winners who have insufficient personal, chapter, school or community resources to participate at the 2014 National SkillsUSA Championships.

Two $500 scholarships will be awarded to help offset the costs of travel and to participate in the National SkillsUSA Championships. The award is based on a student-written, one-page narrative describing the student’s financial need for the scholarship including the lack of school or community resources. The student may be nominated with a letter of recommendation written by their advisor, or state director. Applications should be sent to the national office of SkillsUSA for review and determination. They must be received by Monday, June 2, 2014. The national office will notify the winners the following week.

For more information and to apply online, go to https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/major-app-refrigeration-technology-scholarship

 

National Week of Service Reminder

May 1st, 2014

We invite all our chapters to participate in the SkillsUSA National Week of Service on May 4-10. Chapters may participate in two ways:

  1. conduct a community service project during that week; or
  2. promote a service project the chapter did earlier in the school year during that week

Either will help commemorate the founding of SkillsUSA on May 8, 1965.

The SkillsUSA National Week of Service not only shines a spotlight on SkillsUSA’s dedication to serving others, but it also showcases the skills and expertise of career and technical education students who are learning to become tomorrow’s leaders. We encourage chapter advisors to send a brief report on their community service activities to Gayle Silvey at the national headquarters: gsilvey@skillsusa.org. Please let us know in a paragraph or two what the chapter does to help the community and we’ll post these reports and photos online.  The first 50 chapters that report Week of Service plans to the national headquarters will receive a free item. For planning materials, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events/service.shtml.

Executive Director’s Report: April 15, 2014

April 15th, 2014

Recent Board of Directors’ Meeting
The Board of Directors’ meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, March 12-13, went very well. A big thank you goes to Board President James King and Tennessee State Association Director Chelle Travis for their wonderful hospitality, great meals, transportation and meeting space at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology-Nashville (TCAT).

We were very pleased that so many dignitaries from Tennessee state government and education attended the board kick-off dinner. Nissan sponsored the dinner and attendees included Nissan Technical Training Manager Kevin Smith; Chris Tesmer, IRWIN Industrial Tools; Chancellor John Morgan, Vice Chancellor James King, Carol Puryear and Lynn Goodman from the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR); TBR Board Members Danni Varlan and Emily Reynolds; SkillsUSA National Officers (past and present) Tony Hamblin, Jeremy Ballentine and Gildor Simplice; Representative Harry Brooks (House Education Committee Chair) and Senator Jim Tracy (Senate Education Committee Chair); Tennessee State Association Directors Brandon Hudson (high school division) and Chelle Travis (college/postsecondary division); TCAT Nashville Director Mark Lenz; and, Dr. Chip Harris from Tennessee State University’s Center for Career and Technical Education.

Modex Show
On March 18-19, I attended the Modex Show at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. I was asked by the Materials Handling Institute (MHI) to speak during the career and technical education track of the Modex Show. I provided a keynote presentation on the future skilled workforce and how SkillsUSA is a partial solution to the skills gap being experienced by this industry and many others. The show focused on transportation, distribution and logistics occupations. Other speakers were from both the companies that distribute goods (Target, Walmart, Staples, etc.) and those that build the automated equipment to move goods from manufacturing to warehousing to distribution. The entire show floor was an array of automated warehousing and distribution systems, and it demonstrated how high tech this industry has become. My track included several hundred students and teachers who were involved in the transportation, distribution and logistics education cluster.

SkillsUSA Foundation, Inc. Meeting
The SkillsUSA Foundation met in Louisville, March 25-26, and Dave Worden, Carol Lowery, Kelly Persons and I attended. The meeting was hosted by Snap-on Incorporated and Challenger Lifts. Special thanks to long-time Snap-on friends, Alicia Smales and Greg Rintala who filled in for Alicia during this meeting.

After a full-day meeting on Tuesday, March 25th, Foundation members reconvened on Tuesday, March 26th to walk the exhibit floor at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) and help our Business Partnerships and Development (BPD) team kick off the new, volunteer-led, SkillsUSA-Louisville Advisory Council. The Council is made up of a core group of local business, industry and education leaders from Kentucky and Indiana who will help steward the growing partnership between Louisville and SkillsUSA. The purpose of the Council is to help raise local funding, build awareness and secure in-kind materials and volunteers for the 51st – 56th annual National Leadership and Skills Conferences (NLSC) to be held in Louisville.

In addition, Tim, Dave and Kelly toured the Sullivan College of Technology and Design and met with Michael Covington, HVACR Technology Department chair. Three representatives from Sullivan College joined us during the Circle of Champions Breakfast in January and were excited to talk further about how Sullivan instructors, alumni and students might support NLSC as volunteer judges and technical committee members.

More Travel
From Louisville, I flew to Rhode Island to participate and speak at the SkillsUSA Rhode Island State Leadership and Skills Conference Awards Ceremony. Josh Klemp reported a record number of more than 1,800 students, educators and parents attending. And, there were some very special guests in attendance. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, State Education Board Chair Eva Mancuso and Deputy Education Commissioner David Talbott all spoke to the group and all were very supportive of the SkillsUSA program in Rhode Island. I was privileged to spend time with all three of them and with State CTE Director Vanessa Cooley. It was also great to see several alumni assisting with the event. Gianna Velino (Region I vice president, 2009-10) had a key role in producing the event and Sheila Vasquez (Region I vice president, 2005-06) delivered the keynote. As a national officer and a culinary student, Sheila had received a full tuition scholarship to Johnson & Wales University where she earned her BS degree. She just completed law school at Florida A&M University and will begin work within the next few weeks as prosecuting attorney in Miami-Dade County. She attributes her success to the love of service she acquired through SkillsUSA. With more than 6,000 members, SkillsUSA is the largest student organization in Rhode Island. Congratulations to State Association Director Josh Klemp and his team for an outstanding celebration for our students in Rhode Island.

We have also received word of top-level government officials attending other state conferences. The Governor will be attending the Illinois conference and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction will be attending the California conference.

On Thursday, March 27, I drove to Boston to meet with the SkillsUSA Massachusetts Board of Directors to assist them with strategic planning and financial strategy.

And, on Friday, March 28, Massachusetts State Association Director Karen Ward arranged visits for me and two executives from Dassault Systems to see two of her local SkillsUSA chapters using best practice examples of employability skills integration into STEM education classrooms. The experience provided a good snapshot into how our CTE schools teach STEM and integrate life skills training into the school day through SkillsUSA curriculum and chapter activities. More on these visits next time.

WorldSkills Americas Competition
The WorldSkills Americas Competition concluded on April 5 and the U.S. team has returned from Bogotá, Colombia with two silver medals and a “Best in Nation.” Jake Wozniak (N.Y.) won a silver medal in cabinetmaking and Mike Mullen (Calif.) won a Silver medal in automobile technology and also earned a “Best in Nation” award. There are some great photos on our website at: www.skillsusa.org/compete/worldskillsamerica.shtml.

Highlights

  • On March 15, Kelly Horton and Carol Lowery attended a STEM conference hosted by Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in California. The objectives of the conference were to showcase STEM in automotive and diesel curriculums and to illustrate to teachers how to become intentional about marketing their CTE program as an integrated STEM classroom. Teachers from California, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming attended.
  • UTI will be hosting an “invitation only” event for teachers from across the country at NLSC with the same objectives as above. Plus, SkillsUSA facilitators will illustrate how to integrate SkillsUSA into their CTE classroom using the STEM model showcased in the workshop.
  • Christen Battaglia was in Washington, D.C. on March 18, meeting with HP LIFE (Hewlett Packard) and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). HP LIFE gives entrepreneurs the skills and IT knowledge they need to manage, build and grow successful small businesses.
  • The 2014-15 school year will feature two distinctly separate Membership Kits. One kit will be specific to high school needs and will include resources that a teacher working in a traditional 9th -12th grade environment or a career center will find useful. And, a college/postsecondary kit is being created in direct response to the action plans that were developed by the College/Postsecondary Task Force this past fall. This kit will contain resources and materials that are unique to the nature of a technical or community college. We anticipate that by working to better meet the needs of these two customer markets, they in turn will be able to reach, recruit and engage more members in their chapters.
  • During the recent board of directors meeting in Nashville, Tenn. the board voted to approve the SkillsUSA Middle School Constitution. This move allows the national staff to begin to structure and organize the middle school chapters that are already in existence throughout the nation. Currently, 10 states are serving the middle school market, and this latest advancement will allow the formalization of chapters and the ability for national staff to quantify and serve this membership. Resources and materials for this market will be developed as funding allows.

That’s it for now. Thanks for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

International Degree Applications Due

April 12th, 2014
All applications and portfolios for the International Degree (Level 6 of the Professional Development Program) are now due in state SkillsUSA association offices. The state association PDP review committee must review materials, determine the candidates’ eligibility and forward the application and portfolio to the national office by May 1. For International Degree guidelines, contact Marsha Daves – mdaves@skillsusa.org or call 703-737-0605.

Alumni Night Out During NLSC

April 12th, 2014

The national Alumni Coordinating Committee cordially invites college/postsecondary NLSC participants to enjoy a casual night out with alumni members. Join us and see that being an alumni member has fun benefits! Come to PowerPlay Entertainment Center on Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m. in Shawnee, Kan. This is an 80,000 square foot state-of-the-art fun center with something for everyone. Purchase any dollar amount on your “PowerCard” depending upon your choice of activities. The PowerCard is sold on site. Transportation will not be provided. The address is PowerPlay South, 13110 W. 62nd Terr., Shawnee, KS 66216.

SkillsUSA National Week of Service: May 4-10

April 11th, 2014
We invite all our chapters to participate in the SkillsUSA National Week of Service on May 4-10. Chapters may participate in two ways: 1) conduct a community service project during that week; or 2) promote a service project the chapter did earlier in the school year during that week. This will help commemorate the founding of SkillsUSA on May 8, 1965. The SkillsUSA National Week of Service not only shines a spotlight on SkillsUSA’s dedication to serving others, but it also showcases the skills and expertise of career and technical education students who are learning to become tomorrow’s leaders.
We encourage chapter advisors to send a brief report on their community service activities to Gayle Silvey at the national headquarters – gsilvey@skillsusa.org. Please let us know in a paragraph or two what the chapter does to help the community, and we’ll post these reports and photos online.  The first 50 chapters that report Week of Service plans to the national headquarters will receive a free item.
For planning materials, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events/service.shtml.

Activate, Engage and Leverage Training

April 11th, 2014
Activate – for Chapter Student Leaders
Activate will be held June 21–23, 2014, in Bartle Hall of the Kansas City Convention Center, Kansas City, Mo. The cost is $135 per participant.
Activate is a ground-breaking, two-and-a-half-day leadership conference that will help SkillsUSA members find their “start button” through action-oriented, high-energy and motivational programming. Activate is open to all SkillsUSA members.
During the course of the conference, chapter leaders will discover how to ignite the leader in them and how to maximize their potential. Participants will spend time learning what motivates them and how to motivate others. They will take a look at what it means to present a positive image — and the effects that image can have not only on themselves, but also on their school, SkillsUSA and career and technical education. Students will complete the course feeling empowered with the necessary tools for success. Visit: skillsusa-register.org to register for Activate.
Engage – for Chapter Advisors
Engage will be held June 21–23, 2014, in Bartle Hall of the Kansas City Convention Center, Kansas City, Mo. The cost is $135 per participant.
Engage is the teacher training program from SkillsUSA that empowers teachers to grow their chapters. This two-and-one-half-day professional development training conference is designed to help teachers better understand and use the many leadership development materials and interactive resources available through SkillsUSA.
Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate, will present a high-energy, interactive and entertaining experience that will leave attendees inspired, motivated and with the practical skills to dramatically increase student engagement.
Engage will focus on new educational resources being launched by SkillsUSA at its national conference. Participants will unpack the new resources and share best practices on how to implement these tools for the greatest impact in their chapters. Teachers participating in Engage will receive a set of all the new resources as a part of the training. Visit: skillsusa-register.org  to register for Engage.
Leverage – for State Officers
Leverage is an intensive, two-and-a-half-day leadership experience open to high school and college/postsecondary state officers. It provides state officers with high-energy, motivational training that focuses on servant leadership. Officers will learn in a way that’s fun and unique to the SkillsUSA experience.
SkillsUSA’s state officers are the front-line leaders and managers within the organization. They are responsible for state association activities, recruitment, student development and peer-to-peer communication. Within this role, officers support both individual growth and the growth of the organization. An effective officer embraces personal accountability, accepts a higher level of responsibility, and seeks to create valuable experiences for members at the local level.
All three trainings will take place June 21-23, 2014 in Bartle Hall of the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo. and the cost is $135 per participant.  For complete details visit:  www.skillsusa.org/events/training.shtml.

Sample Press Release for State Competitions Available Now

April 11th, 2014

A sample template release is on the SkillsUSA advocacy site. It’s a template to be used by state association directors, instructors and others to get the word out to the media and Congress about the students who qualified to compete or won in the state SkillsUSA Championships. The news release can be sent to local news media through the advocacy site, five outlets at a time. It is also possible to send the release to your U.S. Senators and Representatives. The site can be reached by going to http://capwiz.com/skillsusa/home/. We encourage all teachers to use this valuable tool to promote their students and instructional programs.


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