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.
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.
We took the SkillsUSA Goodwill Tour to Cleveland on December 6 to visit two of our long-time corporate partners and with two new ones. The SkillsUSA national officers who handled much of the presentations were Diego Carvallo of Georgia, high school Region II vice president and Wade Persson of South Dakota, college/postsecondary parliamentarian. Each did a tremendous job of representing the organization. We were joined on all four visits by Mike Cowles, state association director of SkillsUSA Ohio.
First stop was at Thomas & Betts Corporation, a manufacturer of electrical equipment. The introduction to Thomas & Betts was made by Lincoln Electric. We met with seven executives including the director of HR and five regional HR managers. Our presentation for all four visits – prepared by Eric Gearhart – centered on how SkillsUSA addresses skilled workforce issues. By the end of the meeting, the director expressed interest in opening internships and hiring alumni. We’ve scheduled a presentation in January to meet with the corporation’s executive team at their headquarters in Tennessee.
Next stop was at Sherwin-Williams, a SkillsUSA partner for 15 years with four people on our automotive refinishing technology contest. This was a thank you visit for Sherwin-Williams’ continuing support. We met with managers in refinish and in marketing to discuss expansion of the partnership and support for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam in 2013.
The third visit was another big thank you for Lincoln Electric, a corporate partner for 31 years. Lincoln Electric not only supports our national welding contest, but 43 state association welding contests as well. Lincoln Electric is also a platinum sponsor of the WorldSkills Competition. We met with 50 executives in sales and marketing and with Chris Mapes, COO. Chris told the group: “Lincoln Electric has certain strategic partnerships. SkillsUSA is one of our most important.” Both Diego and Wade made masterful presentations and both were presented with brand new MIG welding machines to take back to their schools.
And, fourth, we met with Kenneth Henderson, principal at Dealer Tire and 12 of his senior executives. The introduction here came through Youth Development Foundation member Dave Camden of Toyota. The introduction was facilitated by the Champion of the Year dinner.
And, we did visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The students were thrilled. Cleveland Rocks!
- Twenty-five states have registered for the Washington Leadership Training Institute. We’re working to secure speakers for the advisors’ track. I believe this will be another substantive series of sessions.
- Alumni membership is now at 26,112 and the alumni now have a new page on the SkillsUSA website for archiving their series of professional development webinars.
- At the Louisville conference, a new training tool kit for state student officers was introduced that was very well received. This kit comes in a large duffle bag packed full of tools to help officers conduct state and local workshops on the roles of SkillsUSA leaders and implementation of our Program of Work. The kit also includes props that will be purchased by state officer teams at their local Lowe’s Store. Lowe’s sponsored the development of this exciting new training tool.
- The SkillsUSA, Inc. board of directors will be meeting on September 19 at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center during the Washington Leadership Training Institute. On September 20, the board will be going to Capitol Hill with our student leaders for Congressional visits. This will be an excellent opportunity for our students, in tandem with our governing body, to tell the SkillsUSA story to policymakers.
- We are finalizing plans for the fall meeting of the Youth Development Foundation hosted by Air Products in Bethlehem, Pa. September 14-15. Special thanks to Laurie Gostley-Hackett who will be our host. We have 17 attendees registered and look forward to the meeting.
SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a partnership with Proven.com to assist SkillsUSA alumni and graduating students with job networking opportunities and to help our partner companies hire qualified skilled workers.
Proven.com is an innovative company offering skilled workers free tools to showcase their skills. Companies can hire exactly who they need and can access education and work history and information such as background checks, DMV records and drug tests for those who choose to share it on their profile. The basic product is free of charge, with more advanced premium recruiting tools coming soon. Companies who sign up on Proven.com can hire SkillsUSA alumni or one of the thousands of other skilled workers currently on the site.
Proven.com is directly donating to SkillsUSA’s Youth Development Foundation a percentage of the fees generated from SkillsUSA partner companies that hire through Proven.com.
You are welcome to explore Proven.com’s website at: http://www.proven.com.
A new grant program was established this year to assist states in starting state Alumni & Friends Associations. The grant program was funded from proceeds from the inaugural Champion of the Year Dinner.
Ten state associations submitted quality applications for review and one grant was awarded per region. Congratulations go to: Region 1-New Jersey, Region 2-Virginia, Region 3-Ohio, Region 4-Oklahoma, and Region 5-California. Contact Niki Clausen for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-737-0639.
Following the recent election, the 2011-12 Alumni Coordinating Committee has been announced:
Executive Chair: George Laubmeier, Wis.
Executive Secretary: Alicia Brown, Ark.
Region 1 Representative: Emily Hughes, Maine
Region 2 Representative: Steven Hawes, Ga.
Region 3 Representative: Anne Dew, Ohio
Region 4 Representative: Brice Harader-Pate, Okla.
Region 5 Representative: Colleen Read, Nev.
State Association Director Liaison: Hal Casey, Maine
The committee members look forward to working with their respective state association directors during the coming year. The group is working to coordinate their first conference call. To contact your regional representative, go to:
SkillsUSA has nearly 11 million former SkillsUSA members, and we are currently seeking new ways for those with a passion for the program to stay involved in future activities at the local, state and national levels. Many states have effective alumni programs tied to their fall leadership or spring state conference activities. Some local chapters have found useful ways to involve alumni in their programs.
If you have success stories, suggestions, or know of effective alumni engagement activities at local schools within your state, please share this information with us. We are conducting informal research and gathering ideas as we plan for FY12. You may send ideas to Niki Clausen at email@example.com.
This morning, more than 500 students are heading out into the greater Kansas City area to perform community service. This year, participating students and advisors will have the opportunity to work two different service projects, both of which will have a positive impact on the environment in the Kansas City community by planting trees and serving at a Kansas City food bank, which distributes as many as 66,000 meals a week. This community service event is sponsored by Timberland PRO, which has partnered with us at the national conference since 2002.
SkillsUSA University will be wrapping up today, and the delegates will have their last meetings and cast the final ballots for the students who will represent them as national officers for the upcoming school year.
Tonight, we head back to Kemper Arena for the Awards Ceremony, sponsored by Lowe’s. We will be honored to hear from Robert Wagner, Senior Vice President of Store Operations, Lowe’s. The winner of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle raffle will be announced, and the new national officers will be sworn in. And of course, SkillsUSA Champions will receive their gold, silver and bronze medals.
Awards Ceremony tickets are available at the booth outside of 2103A in Bartle Hall. The cost is $10. They will also be available for purchase at Kemper Arena.
Can’t make it? You can always watch the live stream courtesy of Lowe’s. Details are available here: www.skillsusa.org/events/nlscvideo.shtml.
- At the recommendation of Frank Carroll, former SkillsUSA board member, president, Bosch Power Tools North America and full-time SkillsUSA champion, we held a meeting here in Leesburg on May 26 with Larry Teverbaugh, CEO of K2Share and Robert Wagner, senior VP, Lowe’s and SkillsUSA board member. The agenda revolved around Vision 2020 and how we can employ the talent and influence of top corporate executives to reach those goals by tapping into their business acumen for strategic guidance – such as developing appropriate and responsive business models for SkillsUSA – and using their leverage appropriately for financial development. It was an excellent half-day meeting and gave the invited staff plenty to think about.
- Here’s the latest national conference by the numbers. Conference registration – even in these tough financial times – is up over last year to 9,647. A good sign is that state associations are asking for more hotel rooms. And, we have 5,745 contestants registered That’s more than last year even though we have two fewer contests. We have 79 SkillsUSA University seminars scheduled (74 last year) and there are 144 TECHSPO exhibitors, 30 of them are new. The 101 and 201 State Officer and Advisor Training registration is way up (over 70 more participants) this year to 269 participants from 25 states. SkillsUSA’s partners are giving away $100,000 in travel scholarships related to students attending conference.
- Stephen Gold, CEO of the Manufacturing Alliance, came by for a visit on the morning of May 16. Staff and I provided an overview of SkillsUSA and Gold oriented us to the Alliance. Several of our partners serve on the Manufacturing Alliance board of directors, including CAT, Air Products and Snap-on. Emily DeRocco and I presented to the Manufacturing Alliance board in Washington, D.C. on June 9. Gold sees SkillsUSA as part of the solution for the manufacturing pipeline issue facing the nation’s manufacturers. The Alliance has over 300 manufacturing companies as members. He will also be attending the NLSC.
- On May 18, I participated in the inaugural meeting of the National Youth Safety Advisory Council. Led by CareerSafe and supported by federal OSHA, the council is comprised of leaders from industry and education. Friends of SkillsUSA on the Council include CAT, FFA, Chad Maclin of Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools, Dr. Chip Harris from Tennessee State University and Mike Raponi, former SkillsUSA board member and CTE director from Nevada. The Council will be sponsoring the first National Young Worker Safety Day in conjunction with our NLSC on Tuesday, June 21. The goal of NYSAC is to review current and future safety regulations and policies set forth by OSHA and to help determine the best ways to train and educate young workers including methods and data collection processes.
- Membership in the Alumni & Friends Association is close to 20,000.
- Lowe’s will have 13 vendor companies attending conference this year.
- There were 49 signatures on the “Dear Colleague” letter to support Perkins funding when it was sent to the chairman and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Service and Education in mid-May. It will probably be one of many letters in the months ahead.