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Annual Cliff Weiss Essay Contest

February 15th, 2011

The Association for Career and Technical Education announced the topic for the Cliff Weiss Essay contest (held in the memory of former ACTE Senior Director of Communications Cliff Weiss (1951-2004). This year’s essay topic for secondary and postsecondary students is “What does this year’s theme, Learning Today, Earning Tomorrow, mean to you?”

In the essay, students should describe how learning career and technical education (CTE) today provides them with the skills and knowledge to be successful in their future career. ACTE will use the winning essays to inform policymakers, parents and educators about CTE’s role in preparing students to compete in the global economy.

The contest is open to high school and college/postsecondary students taking at least one course in CTE. The essays should be between 400-600 words, in Microsoft Word format, and e-mailed by Wednesday, February 16 to Only one entry is allowed per person. A secondary and postsecondary student winner will each receive an award of $250 in addition to having their essay published on ACTE’s Web site.

For complete rules on the contest, please visit ACTE’s Cliff Weiss Essay Contest or contact Sabrina Kidwai at Winners will be announced at the end of February.

ACTE to Host Social Media Day on February 17

January 31st, 2011

ACTE is launching its first Social Media Advocacy day on February 17. ACTE is encouraging members and CTE students to write blogs about the importance of CTE in their community and send a copy of the blog to your policymakers at both the state and federal level as well as ACTE. ACTE will develop messages for members to post on Members of Congress Facebook pages as well as status messages for Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. For ACTE Social Media Day, please use the hashtag #careerteched. Additional information will be posted on the ACTE website at Please save the date and encourage CTE educators and students to participate. For more information, contact Sabrina Kidwai at or 703-683-9312.

Meeting of the Student Organizations

January 15th, 2011

On December 13, the National Coordinating Council of Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) met in Washington to catch up on progress thus far this school year. All but one of the organizations reported that membership and conference attendance are holding their own or are on the rise.

We talked about the generational transfer among teachers. The Baby Boomers are leaving and we now have Gen-X and Millennials to serve. That’s a much different population. There was also a lot of discussion of the CEO Champion of the Year dinner by the other associations. The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced that attendance at the ACTE conference in Las Vegas was up over the previous year.

Message from ACTE

January 14th, 2011

There is no better example of career and technical education (CTE) success than career and technical student organization students (CTSO). ACTE invites CTSO leaders and students to attend the National Policy Seminar, March 7-9, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. A special student rate is available. Join other CTE advocates to hear from national leaders, learn about education and work force development policies and join other CTE advocates on Capitol Hill.

As of January, the face of Congress has changed dramatically, and your voice is needed more than ever to help ensure your legislator understands the importance of CTE and CTSOs. New federal leaders need to hear from you to make the connections between their decisions and student experiences. For instance, House leaders are proposing a 20 percent reduction in education funding! Attend ACTE’s National Policy Seminar to let them know firsthand how this would affect you and your programs.

For more information and to register go to:

ACTE Conference

January 1st, 2011

SkillsUSA had a good ACTE conference overall. There was a lot of traffic at our booth and a great deal of interest in the Skill Connect Assessments. SkillsUSA staff did five presentations during the conference – including two on the assessments – and national officers Loree Hayden and Vanessa Mendez took greetings to many of the meetings.

We continued a SkillsUSA annual holiday tradition on December 1. The first stakeholder appreciation dinner was held at the ACTE convention in 2001, and it has become an event to look forward to. We had 29 individuals attend this year’s dinner. As always, we had a diverse group of stakeholders around the table including student officers, teachers, school administrators, state association directors, corporate members, business partners and staff. A decade later, I’m still honored to be surrounded by this group of work force and education champions.

I had a great meeting with the Chicago Public Schools CTE Director Aarti Dhuypelia regarding the establishment of SkillsUSA chapters in the newly restructured CTE system in Chicago. She is also interested in advisor training for chapter management and in the Skill Connect assessments. Sarah Morton will schedule a demonstration of assessments and teacher training in the spring.

The Association for Skilled and Technical Sciences (ASTS) had a successful pre-convention training series that included a “mini Chapter Management Institute” for SkillsUSA instructors taught by Dr. Chip Harris. Two technical training seminars were also held, and ASTS rolled out the “Certified Career and Technical Educator” recognition program and announced the first two honorees. Board member Dr. John Gaal was one of the two inaugural recipients.

I participated in the well-attended Trade and Industrial Policy and Planning meetings. Here, John Gaal started to transition next year’s responsibilities to incoming VP Jeff Johnson. Jeff also participated in the board of directors meeting.

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