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National Youth Safety Video Contest Reminder

January 30th, 2014

CareerSafe, Safety Education for America’s Future, is sponsoring the 2013-2014 National Youth Safety Video Contest. Students across the country are challenged to create a two-minute video demonstrating safety in the workplace. The contest kicked off on October 15, and all submissions should be sent into CareerSafe by March 1, 2014.

The winning students will receive a SkillsUSA Prize Pack as well as a scholarship up to $2,500, and the winning school will receive a prize up to $5,000. For more information on the contest, please visit the CareerSafe website at: www.careersafeonline.com.

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: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFfghXnDu7I&feature=youtu.be

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.

Highlights

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: www.acteonline.org.

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 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.

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 hwalsh@skillsusa.org. For contest details and rules, go to: www.skillsusa.org/downloads/PDF/AlumniPinDesign.pdf. 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: www.skillsusa.org/compete/pindesign.shtml. Questions may be directed to Heidi Walsh at 703-737-0615 or by email to hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

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 hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

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: 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.

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2014

Happy 2014! On behalf of our national staff, Board of Directors and our wonderful team of national officers, I wish you happiness, good health and a prosperous New Year.

ACTE Convention
I traveled to Las Vegas to attend the annual Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Convention, December 4-7. There were 3,497 in attendance and staff members Marsha Daves, Niki Clausen, Heidi Walsh and I were extremely busy there. National high school vice president Laura Gouillon, a pre-engineering student from California and college/postsecondary president, Leah Rife, a graphic arts student from Colorado, also attended and spoke at various meetings on behalf of SkillsUSA and worked very hard in the SkillsUSA booth at the Career Tech Expo. Both students made us extremely proud.

I participated in two Trade and Industrial Education Division meetings, and Laura Gouillon, Leah Rife and I presented SkillsUSA updates at both sessions. I was involved in a great ASE/NATEF meeting with instructors and administrators, a reception, and a panel discussion with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). SkillsUSA was recognized and commended at both meetings. I also had a very positive lunch meeting with the new CEO and the new Chairman of intelitek. This company provides over a million dollars in robotics and automated manufacturing equipment annually at the SkillsUSA Championships and also hosts both our high school and college employability curricula on their Learning Management System.

On Wednesday evening, I was privileged to attend the ACTE Awards Banquet where board member and SkillsUSA Minnesota Director, Jen Polz, was honored with the ACTE Region 3 Outstanding Educator Award. We are very proud of Jen and this great accomplishment. The keynote speaker at the banquet was U.S. Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan. Jen received her award from Assistant Secretary of Education Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier.

Both staff and national officers met with a number of business partners and prospects at the Career Tech Expo. I had good meetings with Goodheart-Wilcox, Lincoln Electric, Snap-on, Channellock, Autodesk and the U.S. Army, just to name a few. We also met with several companies who expressed serious interest in getting involved. It was also great to spend time with board members Dave Milliken, Peggy Torrens and Jeff Johnson and several state CTE directors.

On Thursday evening, I hosted 28 of our state leaders at a nice dinner at Maggiano’s Restaurant. This dinner was a thank you for state association directors, corporate members and state education department officials. It was great to have Greg Rintala of Snap-on and his wife join us as well as Amelia Mitchell Powers, former national officer, and now a corporate trainer for CAT. Our two national officers also participated and thanked the group for all their support.

On Friday and Saturday, Niki Clausen and Marsha Daves made three SkillsUSA presentations for the ACTE participants. Marsha presented “The Easy Button – Teaching and Assessing Work-Ready Skills and Career-Ready Practices in the CCCS” and Niki Clausen presented great sessions on “Why SkillsUSA.”

WorldSkills Update
We will be sending a small delegation to the WorldSkills Americas competition to be held in Bogota, Columbia, April 1-6, 2014. At this time, we have sponsorship and endorsement to send, at minimum, a cabinetmaker and automotive tech student, their experts and our technical delegate and team leader. We are also working with Canada in an attempt to house both our delegation students and adults in the same hotel for safety and security purposes.

Speaking of Canada, we are in discussion with Skills Canada, and, our two countries are interested in jointly hosting the 2016 WorldSkills General Assembly. We plan to submit a letter of interest in early 2014. The major costs of this meeting are covered by registration fees paid by each member country. Our proposed venue is on the USA/Canada border at Niagara Falls. It’s a world-class destination, and we believe it would be an incredible spot for the WSI General Assembly. We believe this activity would help us continue to ramp up our WorldSkills involvement and international credibility as called for in Vision 2020.

A big thank you goes to SkillsUSA Kentucky, CTE Director Dale Winkler, the State Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE). Thanks also to Joe Morgan and Fran Dundon for their support. The support from the Kentucky OCTE is invaluable and will help us tremendously as we transition to Louisville.

Planning for the “Circle of Champions” Breakfast in Louisville
December 1-2 were busy with several meetings centered around planning our first business/community outreach in Louisville, Kentucky. Much time was spent developing the agenda, logistical planning and guest list with leaders from Greater Louisville, Inc., the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Kentucky Exposition Center. Afterward, Louisville leadership arranged for me to meet with Mayor Greg Fischer and present how SkillsUSA members will impact the Louisville community with workforce opportunities as we plan toward the 2015 National Leadership & Skills Conference and beyond.

Mayor Fischer agreed to reach out to the Louisville business community on behalf of SkillsUSA. His support is vital to us as we work to develop a business advisory foundation that will support national conference efforts over the next six years.

SkillsUSA created a press release, came up with a short video to share with the Louisville business community and sent out invitations to 1,500 businesses covering the Louisville, Kentucky-Clarksville, Indiana area asking for attendance at the “Circle of Champions” breakfast on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at the Kentucky Exposition Center. The event will begin with a “circle” of select SkillsUSA students who will demonstrate their skill and leadership areas as our invited guests enter the facility at 8 a.m. A brief presentation will begin at 8:30 a.m. that will include a message from Mayor Greg Fischer and other speakers currently being identified. We are confident this event is the beginning of a strong and fruitful relationship with the Louisville, Kentucky community.

Highlights

  • Kelly Horton attended the SkillsUSA Massachusetts FLC and reported the conference had over 600 members in attendance and was the largest fall conference for the state to date. She facilitated a workshop about engaging students through SkillsUSA’s educational resources, and SkillsUSA Massachusetts purchased enough educational materials so that each participating school would receive a complete set of resources to assist students in their employability skills development.
  • Kelly also reports that her presentation to the state presidents of the New England region of the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) went well. She spoke to them, at the request of Universal Technical Institute, about SkillsUSA and how it helps the student to prepare for the world of work.
  • Gayle Silvey attended the Georgia college/postsecondary FLC and facilitated a membership growth and retention workshop for about 50 instructors. Strategies discussed included ways to reach, recruit and engage college/postsecondary members in SkillsUSA to help them advance their employability skills and careers. Gayle also attended the Tennessee college/postsecondary TLTI where she facilitated three workshops for approximately 60 instructors. These workshops focused on infusing educational resources into classroom instruction, curriculum and chapter meetings.
  • Together, Gayle and Kelly hosted a Strategic Membership Advisory Committee meeting near Dulles Airport, December 10-12. The committee is comprised of senior executive business leaders and educational leaders from the CTE community, and they met to focus on scalable membership growth and development to ensure we reach our Vision 2020 goal of impacting 1 million learners. Board member, Chris Arvin from Caterpillar, and Foundation members Alicia Smales from Snap-on and Larry Teverbaugh from K2Share were among the attendees.
  • The winter 2014 issue of SkillsUSA Champions has been mailed. The electronic version (sponsored by Interstate Batteries Fundraising) is active at: www.skillsusa.org/champions/winter14.shtml.
  • Finally, Karen Beatty reports that the Skills Build America campaign has received $170,000 in corporate and personal donations since it was launched a year ago.

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

 


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