- On September 11, Don Hermanek and Rita Figi of IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) came by the national office to discuss the launch of a partnership to reach out to support SkillsUSA state associations and chapters and to offer training and employment opportunities to SkillsUSA students from many training program areas. They expressed particular interest in students competing in the leadership contests. They started the meeting with the presentation of a $25,000 check. We are to get back together in early October to further develop our strategy.
- Along similar lines, staff and I met on September 13 with NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research). They’re predicting an uptick in construction hiring and so they’re looking for ways to hire our construction graduates.
- Thanks to Bill Maddox and Wanzel Jessie of YDF member N.E.W., we were able to take the Mega Prize winner John Lee and his wife, Samantha, to the owner’s box at a Washington Nationals baseball game September 7th and then I took them on a Segue tour of the Washington monuments on the 8th. Both John and Samantha are big baseball fans so they were just over the moon about the prize. John teaches diesel equipment technology at Tennessee Technology Center in Elizabethton. He’s also a state certified trainer, he’s had national contestants, has a national officer this year and he was a Virginia state officer many years ago.
- And, finally, the WorldTeam had its first webinar on August 3. Most of the contestants, experts, management team and a few state association directors participated. It was an orientation for the team and to check on how we’re doing on communications and training. We met with state association directors Karen Ward and Mike Cowles on September 10 to discuss several topics including state director certification, new training structures and registration procedures and the hotel lottery at national conference among others. The staff values their input. Past national officer, national staff member and all-around good friend to SkillsUSA, Bill Prince and his wife Patty came by to visit with the national staff on September 12. Bill addressed the staff meeting on the early history of SkillsUSA and exciting moments he recalled such as the appearance of President Reagan at our national conference.
When advisors register at least 15 student members plus one or more professionals by November 15, 2012, they will receive a free copy of Accelerate – Effective Strategies to Enrich Student Learning (value: $10). This brand new resource from the SkillsUSA Educational Resources Catalog discusses adding relevance and retention to student learning. The book is designed to do just that with a philosophy centered on “learning by doing.” With more than 40 teaching strategies that enhance classroom instruction, Accelerate is a compilation of interactive and student-centered activities that apply content in a practical yet effective manner. Activities are organized so you can quickly locate what you need with descriptions, instructions, closure and integration suggestions, and variations to strategy.
Also, instructors who submit a roster with 100-percent membership plus one or more professionals also will receive a SkillsUSA Program of Work calendar (value: $5.95).
Remember, the membership roster must be submitted online by November 15th to receive these free items.
- On August 1, Phil and Vickie Cronin from Iowa were here to claim their SkillsUSA membership mega prize: a trip to a Washington National’s baseball game. And, it was more than just the game. We were in the N.E.W. Customer Service Companies suite overlooking home plate. We began with a tour of the National Leadership Center and a reception before boarding the bus for Washington accompanied by 12 staff members. Phil has been a construction technology teacher for 34 years and has taken his SkillsUSA membership from 15 when he started to 100 percent of the students in the school. YDF member Bill Maddox from N.E.W. was our generous host.
- Toward the end of July, I received a short report on the 10th annual Timberland PRO community service day held during this year’s conference. There are some impressive numbers here. A total of 385 volunteers planted 125 fruit trees and 40 blueberry bushes in an urban orchard. In addition, 1,500 backpack kits were stuffed to feed community children. And, 300 students won free footwear. That’s pretty neat too.
- Wel have surveyed the National Education Team and the Championships technical committees. There were approximately 10 questions on each survey. The final results will be released later, but the answers to two of the questions from the technical committee survey jumped out at me. When asked if the membership of the 2011 national technical committee reflects a variety of leading companies in their industry, 71 percent strongly agreed and 24 percent agreed. When asked if the 2011 contests reflect current industry expectations for the skills and competencies of an entry-level worker in their occupational specialty, 73 percent strongly agreed and 24 percent agreed.
- Letters accompanying the state press releases on Championships medalists and Skill Connect recipients have been faxed to all the members of Congress who had constituent winners. They’ve also gone to the governors and state CTE directors. We’ve been getting good responses from both Congress and governors requesting home addresses so they can send letters of congratulations. It makes a difference sending the letters before the congressional recess.
- And, we’re getting ready for the State Association Directors Annual Professional Development & Training Conference and site visit in Louisville, Ky., August 15-20. I’m pleased to say that as of today, we have 46 state directors attending. That would be our largest turnout in quite some time. The officers have put together a great program. The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau has been very supportive and has planned some great activities for the directors.
- Membership as of January 13th stands at more than 202,944 or more than 13,268 over our membership on this date last year.
- Speaking of membership, the Membership Mega Prize program is gaining sponsorships including the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, N.E.W. Customer Service, Klein Tools, Kobalt Tools and IRWIN tools. For information on the drive to increase our membership through incentives, please go to www.skillsusa.org/join/megaprize.shtml.
- The report on the State Farm grant is complete, and staff did an extensive job recently reviewing Lowe’s applications for campus improvement and community service grants. To view it online, go to www.skillsusa.org/educators/statefarm.shtml.
- This year’s national staff charitable donation was to benefit the 27-year old son of a cosmetology teacher at C.S. Monroe Technology Center in Leesburg. The young man has a family, lost his job and his health benefits and is being treated for cancer. The national staff was extremely generous and the donation was genuinely appreciated. A lot of students at the school are also working to raise money for the same cause.
- Bruce Potter’s official last day with the national staff was Tuesday, December 28 and he has moved on to begin his new job as high school state association director for New York state. We wish him all the best.
- National staff worked through strategic planning this week. It was our 11th Week of Excitement. We took some different approaches this year, beginning with Vision 2020 and the big picture, and then wrote some macro objectives to which we wrote department strategies, tactics and business plans. It was very exciting. We’ll be making our first report on new objectives to the state association director association officers at the end
We are pleased to announce state and national mega prizes for advisors. Check out www.skillsusa.org/join/megaprize.shtml to review the current list of awesome prizes. They include over $30,000 worth of Lowe’s gift cards for state awards; a trip to Washington DC including hotel, travel stipend, suite tickets for two to a Washington Nationals baseball game; tour of Washington D.C. and the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center hosted by Tim Lawrence; five – $2,000 tool shopping sprees from Klein Tools; a trip for two including hotel and travel stipend to Louisville Kentucky in April 2012, and, much more. State association directors will receive more information in early January about distribution of the state prizes, as well as mega prizes for each state association director.
How do SkillsUSA chapters qualify? Submit their membership by January 18 (since January 15 falls on a Saturday and January 17 is a holiday) and be a 100% chapter. That is all it takes. Also, chapters with a minimum of 10 members and a 10% growth in membership will be eligible for the state awards. Be one of the numerous advisors honored for providing opportunities to all students in his/her classroom through membership in SkillsUSA.
National staff is working to secure additional mega prizes designed for varied interests and trade areas. Please continue to check the website for additional mega prizes added as soon as they are secured from sponsors!