June 1st, 2012
Following three days in the office, I was back on a plane to Jacksonville, Fla. for the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) Board of Trustees meeting, May 8-11. On the evening of May 8, NCCER CEO Don Whyte, Board President Bob Parker, the board and over 100 special guests attended the dedication of NCCER’s new national headquarters building outside of Gainesville. It is an impressive facility and it was dedicated “to the men and women who build the world.” The main entrance to the building is accented with brick pavers that honor the companies and individuals who contributed to the building campaign. The SkillsUSA logo appears on two of the bricks. One is for the donation from and me and another staff member. The second is for the donation from Boyd Warsham, chairman of our National Carpentry Contest Technical Committee, former state carpentry competitor and SkillsUSA alumnus. Boyd is also the senior vice president of the Haskell Company, a major industrial construction company and the builder of the NCCER headquarters.
William Symonds from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and project director at the influential Pathways to Prosperity Project was one of the keynote speakers at the dedication. I had a long conversation with Symonds and he knows SkillsUSA very well. He told me his son’s life had been changed when he enrolled in a culinary program in Massachusetts and when he competed in the Massachusetts SkillsUSA Championships. During his speech, he spoke passionately about the need for CTE as a major element of education reform in the USA. He also announced that Harvard will convene a National Pathways to Prosperity Conference following the presidential election. He extended a personal invitation to me to participate. This is a discussion that SkillsUSA needs to be part of and I’m thrilled that we will be there.
I was appointed to another three-year term on the board of trustees during the board meeting the following day. Other board action included discussion of a new international outreach initiative in training, curriculum and assessments and a new marketing campaign, “Build Your Future,” to get youth excited about careers in construction.
May 30th, 2012
All registered alumni members are eligible to participate in the 2012 Alumni Coordinating Committee elections and voting on the proposed constitutional amendments. Representatives for Region 2, Region 4 and Executive Chair, and on the proposed amendments, will be on this ballot.
Alumni members may vote only once online at: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumniballot.shtml. Voting will be open June 1-15, 2012. Ballots will be counted at the 2012 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, and results will be announced on Wednesday, June 27, at the Annual Alumni Appreciation Luncheon at 2 p.m. Please contact Niki Clausen at 703-737-0639 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
May 13th, 2012
The Alumni Coordinating Committee is offering two incentives this year. One is for SkillsUSA advisors who sign up alumni from their chapters and the second for students who join alumni. For every five members an advisor gets to join the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association, he or she will be entered into a drawing for a VISA gift card. For each student who joins the Alumni & Friends Association, he or she will be entered into a drawing for a VISA gift card.
To be officially entered into the drawing, the advisor must have students register and join online at: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumni.shtml. The advisor must then send an email to Niki Clausen at email@example.com. The email must contain the advisor’s name, school and state, and a list (for verification) of the students (first and last names) who joined as alumni. Remember that graduating seniors qualify to join during their senior year. Former SkillsUSA students are also eligible, provided they are not members already. These students must register through their former advisor to be counted as part of that advisor’s entry. Students who join are automatically entered into the drawing. Students may only join once.
Deadline for entry into the drawing is June 1. Contact Niki Clausen at 703-737-0639 or via email, if you have questions.
May 12th, 2012
The Alumni & Friends Association will be offering alumni training on June 22-23, 2012 at the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Kansas City, Mo. The training will cover how to start a state alumni association, how to plan alumni activities, volunteer training, inclusion and diversity training and professional development. The training will cost $30 and includes two lunches, a training T-shirt and resource materials. The registration deadline for the training is June 1.
We are also seeking dedicated individuals to assist with the NLSC. Alumni who volunteer daily at the conference can have their conference registration fee waived. Alumni help is needed on the booth team, leadership team, Championships team and special services team. While at conference, alumni volunteers will also have the opportunity to network with partners, members, staff and other alumni, will have some meals provided and will get to participate in conference events. This is a great way for alumni members to stay involved and continue the SkillsUSA journey. The registration deadline to be an alumni volunteer is also June 1.
For more information about the alumni training and being an alumni volunteer, please contact Niki Clausen at 703-737-0639 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumninlsc.shtml.
April 30th, 2012
The SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association is offering the American Heart Association – Heart Saver course during SkillsUSA University at NLSC 2012. This session is open to all NLSC participants, educators and students and will be offered Sunday, June 24, 1 – 4 p.m.
Every three seconds in the United States someone suffers from a cardiac arrest or other cardiac-related emergency. The American Heart Association now offers a hands-on approach to ensure victims receive immediate care by non-medical personnel. This short SkillsUSA University session will provide the basic knowledge to save a life in the event of such emergencies.
The pre-registration fee is $20 for this certification, $30 registration fee at the door (space permitting). The presenters are: Brice Harader-Pate, RN, BSN and alumna, and Emily Hughes, EMT-B and alumna. Pre-register for this course at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/936H8BM
Contact Niki Clausen at email@example.com or 703-737-0639 with questions or for further information.
March 29th, 2012
SkillsUSA will be conducting a drawing for a Dyna Super Glide Motorcycle at the 2012 National Conference Awards Ceremony, Wednesday, June 27, in Kansas City, Mo. This event is made possible thanks to a generous donation by Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc. All proceeds benefit the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends organization.
Get the details and see photos of this year’s bike and a photo of last year’s painted motorcycle here: www.skillsusa.org/events/harley.shtml.
March 29th, 2012
SkillsUSA is accepting nominations of qualified alumni for service on the Alumni Coordinating Committee. Nominations are being accepted for the following positions:
Executive Chair: Open to any registered member of the SkillsUSA Alumni Association
Region II Representative: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Puerto Rico or the U. S. Virgin Islands
Region IV Representative: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Iowa or Minnesota.
All nominees must be active annual, lifetime or honorary life members in good standing of the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association. Additionally, a nominee must have been an active member for at least 12 months preceding the date of nomination. You are encouraged to nominate candidates as soon as possible. You may nominate yourself or any Alumni member in good standing. Nominations are due by close of business on April 15, 2012. If you have questions, please contact Niki Clausen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-737-0639.
For an application, go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumni.shtml.
February 15th, 2012
The SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association will be offering a one-hour webinar on “Understanding Auto Insurance: What coverage is for me?” with partner Elephant Auto Insurance. It’s free and no registration is required, just call and log in at: Telephone: 888-222-0475, URL: http://web.ganconference.com/?meeting=2259544, Attendee code: 6837807 Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012 3 p.m. EST.
February 15th, 2012
The SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association is sponsoring a pin design contest again this year. The winning design will become the official alumni pin for the 2012 National Leadership and Skills Conference. The deadline for pin designs to be received by the national office is March 1. If you have any questions, please contact Niki Clausen at email@example.com or call 703-737-0639. For more information and contest guidelines, go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumni.shtml.
January 1st, 2012
The reminders of how SkillsUSA changes lives are all around us this time of the year. They show up in the news stories of community service events conducted by SkillsUSA chapters such as nearly 2,000 food items donated to a food bank in Utica, N.Y., rocking horses and building blocks built and donated to Toys for Tots in Lewiston, Idaho and – after months of work by 50 students – the restoration and remodeling of the Salvation Army emergency disaster canteen truck in Painesville, Ohio so the Salvation Army can help others in need.
Sometimes the news comes in more directly. On December 21, I received an email from Mary Bell of Caterpillar and a former SkillsUSA board member to tell me about her meeting a new hire at CAT who is a SkillsUSA alumna “and totally poised just as you’d expect.” I received word on December 22 from Dan Young, a long-time supporter of SkillsUSA and formerly with the FBI, that the contractor who is building his retirement home is a SkillsUSA alumnus and state medalist in brick masonry. And, board member Marlys Bucher wrote on December 22 that the person who will be hosting the Minnesota welding contest at the state pipe fitters apprenticeship training center was a gold medal winner in 1987 in the VICA Skill Olympics. He told her that as an older, nontraditional student “it was a life-changing event . . . and I’m thrilled to be giving back to SkillsUSA.”
Of course, this tradition continues. I recently sent Jim Lentz, COO of Toyota and 2011 Champion of the Year a testimonial from Victoria Holbert, national high school president, and from other Massachusetts state officers who participated in the Champion of the Year dinner ceremonies. All of the students remarked on the positive impact they’d experienced meeting person-to-person with business leaders and how important that is for them. Victoria wrote: “This opportunity along with every other that has been offered to me through this organization has humbled me and helped me grow.” Here’s the link to see the report: www.skillsusa.org/downloads/PDF/CEODinnerReport.pdf.