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Executive Director’s Report: March 15, 2014

March 15th, 2014

Connection to the Walmart Foundation
Mike Rowe and his staff continue to be great advocates for SkillsUSA. This past fall, we were invited to participate in the USA Science and Engineering Festival in April in Washington, D.C. The Festival is billed as the largest STEM show in the nation and expected attendance is around 350,000 over a three-day period. Mike Rowe will sponsor a “Trades Pavilion” at the Festival, and he really wanted SkillsUSA students to be a part of the action. With our new focus on the skilled worker shortage and making the connection from our CTE programs to STEM education, our vision was to have SkillsUSA students perform live, hands-on skill demonstrations as part of the Festival.  However, we needed a sponsor to support student travel, housing, meals and equipment. Mike Rowe’s team stepped in and connected me directly to the Walmart Foundation and I was asked for a proposal and budget. We spent most of a weekend putting it together and SkillsUSA was approved for a grant for $11,050 to take care of student, advisor and staff expenses to showcase our students at the Festival. Walmart also joined the Festival as a major sponsor, and we will have our own space, adjacent to the Walmart booth. Most of our skill demonstrations will focus on manufacturing and we have also asked for other skills to be demonstrated. This is a great opportunity to open the door to the Walmart Foundation for future support. I know they will fall in love with our students and our program once they experience it.

The connection to the Walmart Foundation comes due to Mike Rowe’s partnership with them. Perhaps you saw it aired during the recent Winter Olympics, but you may not have seen the full version – the following link will take you to a 60-second commercial narrated by Mike Rowe entitled “I am a Factory.” It’s aired by Walmart, and they have pledged $250 billion (with a B) to American manufacturing jobs in the next 10 years! Once you view this video, I think you will see the great connection that SkillsUSA has with Walmart’s manufacturing/American jobs initiative. And Mike Rowe’s voice is not too bad on the commercial either. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OQcoDQq3-o&list=PLs6zAwIMDe3PixJhPPTT3Ks55ZoS-uxhN&index=2.

Skills Shortage Support Information
As we look forward to the FY15 strategic plan, we have developed a new focus on the skilled worker shortage and STEM education. But, we’re not waiting as work in these areas has already begun. At the 2013 NLSC, we had a top executive from The Manpower Group attend as a Special Guest. Manpower has just published the research report from the 2103 Global Talent Shortage Survey. For the seventh year in a row, skilled trades workers represent the number one category of jobs that employers worldwide are finding difficulty filling. And, technicians are, once again, in the top five, coming in at number four.

As we look at the work of SkillsUSA in helping with these pipeline issues, we also look at the reasons employers are having difficulty finding the necessary talent:  48 percent  of employers cited the lack of technical competencies (hard skills) and 33 percent cited the lack of workplace competencies (soft skills). This data comes from 40,000 employers across 42 countries and territories. Therefore, we believe it’s not much of a stretch to say that SkillsUSA is certainly a part of the solution, particularly, when we look at the hard and soft skill needs of these employers. You can see a short video summary of the report data at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu0ADHgFeKI and the full report with other interesting facts about the global shortages at this link: http://www.manpowergroup.us/campaigns/talent-shortage-2013/pdf/2013_Talent_Shortage_Survey_Results_US_lo_0510.pdf.

Visit to Cleveland and from DC on to Baltimore
The week of February 17th, I visited the corporate headquarters of Lincoln Electric in Cleveland, Ohio. The trip was partially to assist a student member who is interested in pursuing a welding career (and I have some experience in that field from several years ago) and to also visit with Carl Peters and other Lincoln executives regarding our national partnership as well as our work with Lincoln and WorldSkills. We toured their manufacturing plant and had a great tour of the new Automation Division, a new initiative that involves custom robotic welding work cells for manufacturing and the welding simulators that Lincoln is now producing for welding training. I provided an overview of SkillsUSA for Lincoln’s newest young recruits who will lead the state and regional offices for the company.  Lincoln will also be working with the American Welding Society and participating in the USA Science and Engineering Festival in April in Washington DC.

Last week, I participated in a CTSO meeting and the ACTE National Policy Seminar in D.C. – see: https://www.acteonline.org/nps. From there, I traveled to Baltimore on Tuesday and Wednesday to work the SkillsUSA exhibit and to deliver the closing keynote address at to the HVACR and Mechanical Conference for Education Professionals at the Maritime Training Institute. There were nearly 200 of our high school and college HVACR instructors participating from across the nation. I recruited a few new instructors into SkillsUSA and continued our great partnership with all the HVACR, Plumbing and Mechanical trade associations that sponsored the event. To learn more about the event, go to http://www.instructorworkshop.org/conference+sponsors.aspx.

Highlights

  • On February 22, Kelly Persons had the opportunity to discuss how and why STEM-related education is an integral part of CTE during the Fairfax County, Va. Public Schools’ STEM H Expo at Chantilly High School.
  • Niki Clausen and Heidi Walsh recently returned from a successful visit to Kansas City, Mo. where they met with the national officers to plan for the SkillsUSA 2014 National Leadership and Skills Conference.

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

Membership Report: March 2014

March 14th, 2014

We are pleased to recognize the state associations who have exceeded previous year membership by involving more students in their state programs this academic year. Involving more students and teachers in our student leadership organization provides endless opportunities for professional and personal growth. Congratulations to the following state associations and directors for exceeding last year’s overall membership.

  • Alabama, Myron Laurent, State Association Director
  • Alaska, Ray Jensen, State Association Director
  • 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
  • Georgia, Ashley Brown, State Association Director, High School Division
  • 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 York, Bruce Potter, State Association Director, High School Division
  • New Mexico, Bobbi Eichorst, State Association Director
  • North Dakota, Clarke Molter, State Association Director
  • Oklahoma, Darren Gibson, State Association Director
  • Oregon, Teresa Mankin, State Association Director
  • Pennsylvania, Jeri Widdowson, State Association Director
  • Rhode Island, Josh Klemp, State Association Director
  • South Carolina, Jackie Clarkson, State Association Director
  • Tennessee, Brandon Hudson, State Association Director, High School Division
  • Texas, Janet Conner, State Association Director, High School Division
  • Washington, Dennis Wallace, State Association Director, Bruce McBurney, Executive 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

As of today, March 14, national high school and college/postsecondary membership has reached an all time high at 308,917 and we are still counting.

Professional memberships and alumni memberships count, so, if you have staff, board members, corporate members or others (including you), be sure and submit them as soon as possible. Individuals who are industry partners and other friends not affiliated with a local chapter can join online at the following link: http://www.skillsusa-register.org/rpts/JoinAsProfessional.aspx.

I want to extend a big thank you to our state association directors, corporate members, state CTE directors, board and foundation members and staff who have worked tirelessly this year to promote the value of CTE and the connections and life changing experiences that students and teachers gain through student organization involvement.

Sharon Melton Myers Scholarship Opportunity

March 14th, 2014

Through a donation from the Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Fund, SkillsUSA and the McMinn County Vocational Center SkillsUSA Alumni Association are offering a $500 scholarship to a high school SkillsUSA student in memory of Sharon Melton Myers. The Sharon Melton Myers Memorial SkillsUSA Scholarship fund will provide graduating high school SkillsUSA members of this year’s graduating class the opportunity to continue their education in college or technical school.

Sharon Ruth Melton Myers was an active member of the McMinn County Vocational Center SkillsUSA Chapter from 1985 through 1988. During this time, Sharon participated in local, state and national SkillsUSA activities. She served as a local officer in 1986 and 1987, Tennessee State Secretary in 1986-87 and National President in 1987-88. Sharon also participated in the Chapter’s Opening and Closing Team in 1986, 87 and 88. Following graduation from McMinn High in 1988, Sharon continued as an active supporter of SkillsUSA, serving as a National Officer Trainer for several years. Sharon was active in establishing a Tennessee SkillsUSA Alumni Charter and Constitution while attending David Lipscomb College in Nashville. Sharon was totally committed and dedicated to the ideals of SkillsUSA and actively worked for the advancement of this Youth Leadership Organization.

A judging committee comprised of Catherine Melton and National SkillsUSA staff will review the nominations and select the national winner.

Candidates can nominate themselves. All nominations must include two letters of recommendation from any of the following individuals: a) instructors; b) SkillsUSA advisors; c) State Association Director; d) Community leader.  A nomination form can be downloaded from SkillsUSA’s web site at: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/r7x1q3/.  Please note that incomplete applications, those missing requested information and appropriate signatures, will be disqualified and not be evaluated. Only high school seniors are eligible for this scholarship.

Nominations must be postmarked by April 30. If you have questions, please contact Karen Beatty (703) 737-0624, kbeatty@skillsusa.org.

Bring $25,000 to Your Community – State Farm Neighborhood Assist

March 14th, 2014

Have you ever wanted to help your community with a problem but didn’t know where to start? Maybe you wanted to help fix up a run-down park or to help the impoverished in your community.  Now, YOU have the power to fix it. State Farm Neighborhood Assist wants to help identify and address key issues faced by consumers throughout the United States and parts of Canada.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist, a crowd-sourced philanthropic initiative, lets communities determine where grant funding is awarded, exclusively through Facebook. The application is short and simple, and I encourage you to learn more by visiting: https://apps.facebook.com/sf_neighbor_assist/ or by watching this short at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=easesPoLrVg. You, or someone you know, could be the catalyst for positive change for your community cause!

The submission phase is open until March 23, and each Facebook user who downloads the free application can submit up to three causes. Anyone living in Canada or the United States with a Facebook account is eligible to submit a cause. It’s better to submit early – a maximum of 4,000 submissions will be accepted. All you have to do is submit the cause; you don’t have to “run the program.” The cause must fit into the categories of safety, community development or education.

After the submission stage ends, the State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB), a group of college and high school students from across the country, will read and narrow down all the submissions to the top 200 finalists. What the YAB is looking for:

  • How much does your “Cause” focus on an unmet need in this community?
  • Why do you feel the $25,000 would address the unmet need?
  • How much of a lasting impact on this community would the proposal have?

Once the top 200 causes are identified, they will appear on the Facebook application to be voted on by you and your community. The voting stage will last from April 28 – May 16 and each Facebook user gets 10 votes every day. Winners will be announced on May 27.

Please share this amazing opportunity with your colleagues, friends and family and help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. Together, you and State Farm can help create safer, better educated and more engaged communities!

Here is a sample Tweet: Help our community become an even better place to live by submitting an idea for a #SFNeighborhoodAssist! http://st8.fm/bqr

SkillsUSA Graduation Regalia Available

March 14th, 2014

Be sure to recognize the hard work and achievements of your graduates with the gift of official SkillsUSA graduation regalia. SkillsUSA stoles, tassels and honor cords can be purchased now before the rush of graduation season sets in. Just go to: www.skillsusastore.org to order.

Discount Travel for National Conference Reminder

March 13th, 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, Mo. (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: www.aa.com/group. This is for AA/AE flights only and there will be no ticketing charge. Please allow for at least one business hour for AA.com loading. Use the authorization code without the preceding A (7864DD) as the AA.com 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.

Executive Director’s Report: March 1, 2014

March 1st, 2014

SkillsUSA Week and CTE Month
During SkillsUSA Week 2014 and National CTE Month, we received several uplifting stories from our chapters about activities they were conducting as a part of the celebration. The following link shows a great tweet from our Cypress Bay Chapter in Florida and how they decorated their school for SkillsUSA Week: http://bit.ly/1cwcz9U. This link shows the state association’s visit with Florida Governor Rick Scott for a proclamation signing: http://on.fb.me/1eQcsMg. And, Ohio’s students met with the Governor and the Superintendent of Education to highlight SkillsUSA week. Our chapters do a great job of spreading the good word about SkillsUSA in their states and local communities, and we are very proud to see the great student-driven activities nationwide.

New CTSO Website
As we celebrate the final week of CTE Month across the nation, we are pleased to announce the rollout of an exciting new website.  This site was created in cooperation with all the national Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) through the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) and our affiliate organizations: The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education.

The website links to all CTSOs and affiliate organizations, provides the latest CTE news feed, links to our social networks and provides several data points that support the case for CTSOs as a key component of high quality Career and Technical Education.  One of the most dynamic features of the website appears under the “Advocate” header. This link provides CTSO profiles for every state and shows the number of CTSO members in each legislative district for every state.  This is a great tool for state legislative visits and for making the case for CTE at the local, state and federal levels.

We hope you will find this site useful not only an advocacy tool, but also as a marketing and branding tool. The process to develop this website was done with an incredible cooperative spirit amongst all the CTSOs and affiliate organizations.  It offers another way to celebrate the goodness of CTE!  Visit the site at: www.ctsos.org.

U.S. Department of Education Discussions

Daria Ferdine, national high school treasurer from New Jersey, participated in a CTSO Student Voices discussion with the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (formerly the Office of Vocational and Adult Education) and Brenda Dann-Messier on Tuesday afternoon, February 18th. And, she was also one of four students who made a presentation during a U.S. Department of Education internal briefing entitled “Reflect, Transform, Lead: Preparing Students for College, Career and Citizenship.” Here is a photo taken with Secretary Duncan:

Sec. of Ed. Arne Duncan and Daria Ferdine
Sec. of Ed. Arne Duncan and Daria Ferdine.


U.S. News and World Report

A great Op-Ed article was picked up by U.S. News and World Report, written by our great friend and former board member from Caterpillar, Mary Bell. Mary also was just named as one of the top women in manufacturing, receiving a STEP award (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) from NAM/The Manufacturing Institute. The article entitled, “To Close the Skills Gap in Manufacturing, Close the Gender Gap,” can be seen here.

Educated and Skilled to Lead America Video Competition Winner Announcement
This past fall, chapters from around the country submitted their entries for the Educated and Skilled to Lead America Video Competition (based on this year’s SkillsUSA theme). Chapters were challenged to create a video that showcased how they are becoming educated (what does their classroom or lab look like/what are they learning?) and skilled (what are their skills and how do they apply them). More than 25 entries were received and congratulations go to the winners — Sydney Martin and Krystal Smoger of St. Clair TEC in Marysville, Mich. where Ms. Keely Baribeau serves as the advisor. The honorable mention was submitted by Alexia Tignor of Franklin Technology Center in Joplin, Mo. where Ms. Deonna Anderson serves as the advisor.

You can watch both in the playlist below:

WorldSkills Americas Competition

SkillsUSA is sending two students to compete in the WorldSkills Americas Competition in Bogota Columbia, April 1-6, 2014. The students are Jacob Wozniak, Cabinetmaking, from Springville, N.Y. and Michael Mullen, Auto Service Technology, from San Luis Obispo, Calif. The WorldSkills Americas competition serves as a good benchmark for the next WorldSkills Competition to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil in August, 2015.



2014 Regional Advisors of the Year
The regional Advisors of the Year have been chosen. Congratulations go to:

  • Ellen Coughlin, DCMO BOCES — Chenango Area Campus, New York, Region 1;
  • James Dinsmoor, Rockdale Career Academy, Georgia, Region 2;
  • Tobin Prinsen, Apollo Career Center, Ohio, Region 3;
  • Mark Sponaugle, Carthage Technical Center, Missouri, Region 4;
  • James Adamson, Central Kitsap High School, Washington, Region 5.

Highlights

  • Niki Clausen conducted a Chapter Management Institute (CMI) for 30 teacher advisors in New York City on February 3. The CMI was held in conjunction with their Career and Technical Education Summit. In addition to the CMI training, they also participated in a CTE Policy Panel discussion which included Brenda Dann-Messier, the assistant secretary of education for career, technical and adult education.
  • The national officer planning meeting in Kansas City will be held the last weekend of March.
  • Work is moving forward on the FY15 membership kit to contain a separate resource tailored specifically for college/postsecondary membership.
  • Kelly Horton is working with Ohio state association director, Mike Cowles, on a contract to serve youth in alternative education pathways who are required to be in a CTSO.
  • I’m very happy to announce that our great long-time friend, Snap-on Incorporated, has committed to a $100,000 grant for SkillsUSA in 2014. Alicia Smales, member of the SkillsUSA Foundation, contacted us on Monday with the great news. A BIG thank you to Alicia and the entire Snap-on team for their continued support. Snap-on Incorporated has been a national partner for nearly three decades. We are also very appreciative of the support they provide to our regional and state winners in a variety of competitions. Snap-on provides nearly $300,000 in donations of tools and equipment to our students and teachers annually.
  • I’m also happy to announce that another great friend, Air Products, recently contributed $52,500, giving them a total of $102,500 contributed to SkillsUSA so far this year!
  • SkillsUSA will be raffling off a Dyna Street Bob Motorcycle at the 2014 National Conference Awards Ceremony, Friday, June 27, in Kansas City. This motorcycle is made possible thanks to a generous donation by Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc.
  • We’re seeing some exciting new designs for the SkillsUSA website. The home page looks great, and work continues on interior pages. Web manager, Craig Moore, says technical implementation of www.skillsusa.org begins February 25.
  • Tom Kercheval, our audiovisual technology manager, just put the finishing touches on an updated “What is SkillsUSA?” video, reflecting input from the recent meeting of state association director officers.
  • The Spring issue of SkillsUSA Champions has been mailed, and the digital publication is online at: www.skillsusa.org/champions/spring14.shtml. Focus is on our student leaders, new training events, and successful alumni and SkillsUSA student competitors involved in STEM education.
  • Stratton Publishing & Marketing Inc./Stratton Research in Alexandria, Va., will be sending a questionnaire to a random sampling of approximately 1,500 advisors and students as part of a SkillsUSA’s strategic communications audit. The end goal: timely, high-quality and valuable content that better aligns with student and advisor needs. Those who participate will have the opportunity to win an iPad mini.
  • The following video was produced by Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools showing highlights of the January 16th Breakfast of Champions kick-off event in Louisville:

 

  • And, as you know, SkillsUSA turns 50 in 2015. The upcoming 50th conference in Kansas City marks the beginning of a year-long celebration, culminating with the 51st National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky. Plans are underway for the celebration to include the development of 50th anniversary logos; a 50th anniversary pin and T-shirt; a special celebration at the National Leadership Center and more. 

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

GAERF Student Design Competition

February 28th, 2014

The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) has launched their GAERF Student Design Competition, themed “PACK-tastic.” This sixth annual contest challenges participants to combine their critical thinking and creativity with cutting-edge technology to design a unique striking package. Entries will be judged on design, functionality, appropriate labeling and marketability. One high school winner and one college/postsecondary school winner will be identified for each of the first, second and third place awards.

The deadline for entries is June 13, 2014. For complete information about the GAERF 2014 Student Design Competition, visit: www.graphicCOMMcentral.org.

2014 Major Appliance and Refrigeration Competitor Scholarship

February 28th, 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 to this page.

 

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.


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