National Young Worker Safety Day (NYWSD) kicks off Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 9 a.m. at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City. As part of the larger campaign, “A Million Safer,” led by CareerSafe, NYWSD is targeted at making a significant and critical impact on decreasing the number of young worker injuries and fatalities in the United States. At the CareerSafe booth at SkillsUSA TECHSPO (booth C), students and teachers will sign the pledge to “StartSafe. StaySafe.” just like more than 5,000 others who made the same pledge on NWYSD in 2013. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in interactive safety games and win great prizes that will further teach the importance of young worker safety training. In addition, students and teachers will have the opportunity to gather valuable safety materials and ask experienced CareerSafe staff about safety-related questions and concerns.
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.
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).
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
We invite all our chapters to participate in the SkillsUSA National Week of Service on May 4-10. Chapters may participate in two ways:
- conduct a community service project during that week; or
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.