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Membership Deadline: Monday, March 3

February 27th, 2014

The 2013-2014 SkillsUSA membership deadline is quickly approaching. All membership should be submitted by March 3, 2014 to be included as an official SkillsUSA member for this school year as well as be considered eligible to participate as a contestant in district and state competition and at the National Leadership and Skills Conference. Students must also be official members to run for district, state or national office or to serve as a voting delegate at all levels. Advisors should also ensure that they are registered as professional members. If you have any challenges in registering members or questions concerning membership, please do not hesitate to contact Susan Trent or Judy Garrison.

Membership Update

February 27th, 2014

Membership is looking like it will be up again this year and as of today (February 27th) we are now standing at almost 299,000 paid members and, so far, 26 state associations have surpassed their last year’s total membership. Special congratulations go to the following:

  • Arizona, Carrie Wolf, State Association Director
  • California, Clay Mitchell, State Association Director
  • Connecticut,  Heidi Balch, State Association Director
  • District of Columbia, Ed Roebuck, State Association Director
  • Florida, Tyler Kercher, State Association Director
  • Indiana, Kelley Baker, State Association Director
  • Kansas, Becky Warren, State Association Director
  • Kentucky, Larry Johnson, State Association Director
  • Maine, Hal Casey and Rick Thomas, State Association Directors
  • Maryland, Charles Wallace, State Association Director
  • Massachusetts, Karen Ward, State Association Director
  • Mississippi, Andy Sims, State Association Director
  • Nebraska, Greg Stahr, State Association Director
  • New Hampshire, Kate Krumm, State Association Director
  • New Mexico, Bobbi Eichorst, State Association Director
  • North Dakota, Clarke Molter, State Association Director
  • Oklahoma, Darren Gibson, State Association Director
  • Pennsylvania, Jeri Widdowson, State Association Director
  • Rhode Island, Josh Klemp, State Association Director
  • South Carolina, Jackie Clarkson, State Association Director
  • Texas, Janet Conner, State Association Director, High School Division
  • Washington, Bruce McBurney, State Association Director, High School Division
  • West Virginia, Kathy Gillman, State Association Director
  • Wisconsin, Brent Kindred, State Association Director, Lauri Domer, Assistant Director, High School Division
  • Wisconsin, Dale Drees, State Association Director, College/Postsecondary Division
  • Wyoming, Toni Decklever, State Association Director

Executive Director’s Report: February 15, 2014

February 15th, 2014

Happy CTE Month and SkillsUSA Week!  As we celebrate the outstanding work of CTE educators and programs nationwide this month, it’s great to recognize our SkillsUSA state associations that are growing participation and opportunity for students and teachers through outstanding membership recruitment efforts.  As we all know, CTE and CTSOs change lives for the better, and we are very proud of all the great work that is being done to lift up our students.  Special congratulations to the following state association leaders:

  • Arizona, Carrie Wolf, State Association Director
  • California, Clay Mitchell, State Association Director
  • Connecticut,  Heidi Balch, State Association Director
  • District of Columbia, Ed Roebuck, State Association Director
  • Indiana, Kelley Baker, State Association Director
  • Kansas, Becky Warren, State Association Director
  • Maine, Hal Casey and Rick Thomas, State Association Directors
  • Maryland, Charles Wallace, State Association Director
  • Mississippi, Andy Sims, State Association Director
  • New Hampshire, Kate Krumm, State Association Director
  • Oklahoma, Darren Gibson, State Association Director
  • Pennsylvania, Jeri Widdowson, State Association Director
  • Rhode Island, Josh Klemp, State Association Director
  • Texas, Janet Conner, State Association Director, High School Division

As of today, February 12, we have 275,089 members on the books and that’s approximately 8,000 ahead of the same day last year. We are trending well and are optimistic the push forward will continue through the new year.

Lowe’s Meeting

On January 24, I traveled to Charlotte, N.C. and met with Lowe’s executives, Board Member Troy Dally, Mike Horn, Vice President, Commercial Sales and Tom Donoghue, Community Relations Manager. I shared some of the results of our FY13 Lowe’s Schools in Need Grant Program and an impressive video presentation put together by grant recipient schools, Carol Lowery and Tom Kercheval from staff. The video shows the impact of how Lowe’s grant dollars were spent in those schools and students and teachers thanking Lowe’s for the opportunity. I had some great meetings with Troy regarding both the altruistic connection Lowe’s has to SkillsUSA, as well as how we can enhance our visibility of SkillsUSA graduates who go on to be professionals in the construction industry. It was really great to spend quality time with Tom and review some of the history of our partnership as well as discuss the future. We’re hopeful Lowe’s support will continue for many years to come.

Louisville “Circle of Champions” Breakfast

On January 16th, SkillsUSA, in cooperation with Greater Louisville, Inc. (GLI) and the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, held a breakfast for members of the local business community at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. About 200 attended and all of the seats were taken. Students from local CTE schools demonstrated their skills as attendees entered the building, including robotics, culinary arts, cosmetology, automotive, diesel, masonry and others. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer gave a powerful presentation welcoming SkillsUSA to the city and national officer Crystal Sandoval was the master of ceremonies and did a great job. Other presenters included the vice president of GLI, Dr. Dale Winkler from the Kentucky Department of Education, and board member Laurie Hackett from Air Products. All did a great job, and the breakfast was a huge success. The business community showed a lot of great enthusiasm for SkillsUSA’s national conference coming to Louisville. We are confident this event is the beginning of a strong and fruitful relationship with the Louisville, Kentucky community.



Youth Voices with CTSO National Officers

Daria Ferdine, national high school treasurer from New Jersey, has been selected to represent SkillsUSA at the U.S. Department of Education meeting with Secretary Arne Duncan on February 18. Students from each career and technical student organization (CTSO) will share activities with Secretary Duncan. The event will be held in the Secretary’s conference room, and the conversation will focus on how the CTSO’s are helping to advance some of the Department of Education’s key priorities (e.g., college and career readiness, STEM, technology, higher education access, great teachers and leaders, etc.). The students will also have an opportunity to share recommendations with the Secretary about how to improve CTE and the education system, in general. We are confident that Daria will do a great job representing SkillsUSA.

Partnership with Million Women Mentors (MWM)

SkillsUSA has formed a strategic partnership with Million Women Mentors, an initiative of STEMconnector, the national organization that works closely with corporations and thousands of entities to assist in STEM best practices and smart STEM investments.

This is an engagement campaign and national call to action that mobilizes corporations, government entities, nonprofit and higher education groups, around the imperative of mentoring girls and young women in STEM fields. MWM will support the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors (male and female) to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers.

Women comprise nearly half of the U.S. workforce, yet just 24 percent of the STEM workforce. However, the good news is that women in STEM careers earn 92 cents for every dollar male STEM counterparts earn versus 75 cents in other fields. What’s more, 80 percent of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend on mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills. 

SkillsUSA invites its business and industry partners and its member educators to sign on as a mentor of a girl or young woman aspiring to a future in the skilled/technical workforce. Any SkillsUSA instructor mentoring a female student(s) qualifies as a mentor. Virtually all SkillsUSA occupational programs possess important elements of STEM. In fact, 68 of our national competitions are directly related to STEM. You can sign up as an individual or you can sign up as a company or as an educational institution and enumerate your colleagues who are serving or will serve as mentors. Simply go to MWM’s website, and click on the “Pledge to Mentor” button on the lower right. 

SkillsUSA believes the Million Women Mentors initiative can be an important national asset in helping to close the “skills gap” that has become a focus of concern for nearly all of our partners.

Highlights

  • Work continues on the www.SkillsUSA.org redesign. We’ve seen initial designs for the new look of our home page and have made revisions to the design concept. The next design compositions will include the revised home page as well as three interior pages. Programming and coding for the new site begins on February 24.
  • Niki Clausen just returned from running a successful “Enhance Your Chapter” training in Sarasota where 36 educators participated.
  • Kelly Horton and Gayle Silvey ran a very successful state director webinar on January 27 to show them the enhancements to the membership system. Twenty-eight state association directors participated and follow-up comments have been very positive.
  • Heidi Walsh just returned from traveling to the American Association of Community College’s Workforce Development Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida with national officer, Dustin Cagle. It was a good visit, and she reports they received a lot of interest in SkillsUSA’s programs.
  • Patty Duncan and Lana Ford have been running a series of webinars to inform our customers about the Work Force Ready System, and they have been well attended.
  • And, last week Kelly Persons joined a morning News Talk Radio program serving listeners from Indiana and Kentucky who live and work in and around the greater Louisville metro area. She did a great job educating the listeners about SkillsUSA and the NLSC. I’ll send you a link to the archived broadcast when it becomes available.

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

Alumni Membership Incentive

February 14th, 2014

The Alumni Coordinating Committee is offering an incentive for SkillsUSA advisors who sign up alumni from their chapters. For every five members an advisor registers with the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association, he or she will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Lowe’s gift card.

To be officially entered into the drawing, the advisor must have students register online here. Paper forms will not be accepted. The advisor must then send an email to Byekwaso Gilbert at bgilbert@skillsusa.org. The email must contain all of the following:

  • the advisor’s name, school, address, phone and email (make sure what you provide will be accessible to you after June 1)
  • a list (for verification) of the students (first and last names) who registered as alumni

Remember that graduating seniors qualify to register during their senior year. Former SkillsUSA students are also eligible, provided they are not members already. These students must register through their former advisor to be counted as part of that advisor’s entry. Students may only register once. Deadline for entry into the drawing is June 1.

CTE Month Events and Activities

February 14th, 2014

Is your state, school or organization doing something special to celebrate CTE month? 

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) is hoping you’ll share any activities, initiatives, events, fun facts, photos, etc. NASDCTEc is making a big social media push to get the word out about CTE, as well as working with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) on a school tour and potentially a Congressional briefing.  They would like to be able to share what the CTE community is doing in their schools or organizations on a national platform. Please feel free to share any CTE month features with Evan Williamson, NASDCTEc’s Communications Associate, at ewilliamson@careertech.org.

Youth Scholarship for Building a GradNation Summit

February 13th, 2014

Do you know a young leader in your community who is working hard with his or her peers to end the dropout crisis? Do you know a young person who has struggled on the road to graduation and can speak his or her mind? Encourage them to apply for a scholarship to attend the 2014 Building a GradNation Summit in Washington, DC (includes meals, transportation and lodging)!

Please share this opportunity with your networks. Go to this link  for more information. Applications are due by March 1.

Student2Student Mentoring Program

February 13th, 2014

SkillsUSA 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: www.skillsusa.org/educators/mentrecog.shtml. All entries must be submitted online to the national office by April 4. Winners will be announced in May.

2014 SkillsUSA University Reminder

February 13th, 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 3M Company. 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 nclausen@skillsusa.org.

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: www.skillsusa.org/events/skillsuniv.shtml.

Happy SkillsUSA Week!

February 10th, 2014

Happy SkillsUSA Week! I hope you have a great week showcasing your programs, SkillsUSA and career and technical education.

There are a lot of helpful resources on our website to help you make the most of the week. Download a sample news release, a SkillsUSA fact sheet, a sample proclamation and sample school announcement to help you get the word out. You can find it all here: www.skillsusa.org/educators/skillsusaweek.shtml

Another great way to promote SkillsUSA is with public service announcements. NASCAR correspondent and SkillsUSA alumna Wendy Venturini recorded these PSAs to help us spread the word about SkillsUSA. We have both audio and video versions for you to use with local media (radio, television, cable or school networks). You can download the audio or video files here:  www.skillsusa.org/educators/psa.shtml

Finally, we have some great advocacy tools to help you tell lawmakers about the importance of career and technical education and SkillsUSA. You can also find local media for your press releases. You can find that information here: http://capwiz.com/skillsusa/home/

There has never been a better time to be skilled. SkillsUSA Week is a great way to spread that message and promote all the good work you are doing.

Have a great week!

Educated and Skilled to Lead America Video Contest

February 6th, 2014

Congratulations to the winners of the Educated and Skilled to Lead America Video Contest, Sydney Martin and Krystal Smoger of St. Clair TEC in Marysville, Mich. Their advisor is Ms. Keely Baribeau. Honorable Mention goes to Alexia Tignor of Franklin Technology Center in Joplin, Mo. Deonna Anderson is her advisor. You can watch both videos below:

“Educated and Skilled to Lead America” is SkillsUSA’s theme this year and the students’ challenge was  to create a video that showcases how members are becoming educated.

Congratulations!


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