- Within the last month, I’ve met or talked to representatives from National Fluid Power, Family-to-Family, the Special Olympics and coordinators from the National Hardware Show. They all see involvement with SkillsUSA as a way to enhance their organizations.
- We’re excited about a new concept for CSEP (Career Skills Education Program) to the colleges bundled in such a way that schools can load it on their servers for a single license. We hope that will boost CSEP’s reach.
- The Vision 2020 subcommittee met via Web conference on May 7. Cameron Ferguson, president, SkillsUSA board of directors, chaired the conference and board members Russ Hoffbauaer and Tony Glenn joined us. The committee did a lot of refining to the vision statements, and the plan is to share the revised Vision 2020 with the board via e-mail in the upcoming weeks and then take it to the corporation meeting in Kansas City for reaction from the corporate body. One thing is certain: The SkillsUSA of 2020 is looking bigger, more effective and more influential with every draft. I know the committee is looking forward to sharing its work.
- Speaking of Web conferences, we held a condensed board training session on May 14 for Russ Hoffbauer of State Farm and Nick Morrisroe of Benzomatic. We appreciate their service and taking the time during the week to go through the Webinar.
- Thanks to staff, we’re finally back in business with the voice mail system. As the song goes, “You don’t miss your water ‘til the well runs dry.” Even in this day of e-mail, it’s amazing how much we missed the voice mail system.
- Please note our new mailing address for SkillsUSA. We’re no longer a post office box or James Monroe Highway. We’re now 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. We will, however, still receive mail sent to the old address for the next several months.
The board held a productive two-and-one-half hour Webinar meeting on March 19 chaired by board President Cameron Ferguson. Nearly all of the board members were present for the meeting, and they plowed through a fairly heavy agenda. Among the significant outcomes:
The board approved a revised FY2009 budget reflecting some moves to be cautious with SkillsUSA budgets during these challenging economic times. SkillsUSA appears to be well positioned to handle the current recession, but staff and board want to be sure none of SkillsUSA’s essential services to its members are interrupted. That is the reason for the budget course correction.
The board approved the FY2010 strategic plan and budget with some amendments to the objectives that will address the need to build alumni membership and to prepare for budget adjustments in FY2010 if warranted by the economy.
The board also reviewed and commended the work of the Vision 2020 committee. Vision 2020 is a board initiative to assure that SkillsUSA is working strategically to create the place where it needs to be for its members 12 years from now. Subsequent meetings are scheduled for the committee to craft the organization’s vision and to be prepared to share it with SkillsUSA members and leaders during the national conference in June.
Much of the committee work was done in online meetings held March 10-12. The board reviewed the committee work during its full meeting on the 19th. Thanks go out to the three committees.
This was Kelly Bever’s last official board meeting. Kelly assured the board she would still “be around” and ensured State Farm’s continuity on the board by asking Russ Hoffbauer, director, Property and Casualty Claims at State Farm, to fill her position. Thanks go to Kelly for her work on behalf of SkillsUSA. She has particularly looked out after our students. We look forward to working with Russ.
- On March 4, I was back in Washington at the National Press Club for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) event announcing the Manufacturing Skills Certification System. Board member Emily DeRocco moderated. That only seemed fair. After all, the whole initiative came out of her shop at NAM. It was great to meet with old friends and leaders of sponsoring organizations including Steve Mendes of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, Leo Reddy of the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing and Ray Shook of the American Welding Society. For the NAM news release, please click on http://www.nam.org/NewsFromtheNAM/SkillsCertificationSystem.aspx.
- Our long-time friend Rocco Marano, now retired from the National Association of Secondary School Principals, stopped by on February 26 to talk about a new project he’s taken on with the Energy Education Foundation. The foundation is working to get students involved in local and online initiatives for energy and Rocco believes SkillsUSA is a natural fit.
- In current travel news, board member and YDF Chairman Greg Rintala visited the national center recently to review some things for the finance committee and to work on the agenda for the YDF meeting in California.
- And, I just returned from Atlanta where Lowe’s and Kobalt Tools, in partnership with SkillsUSA staff, kicked off the new Tough Tools for Cool Schools program on March 6. Lowe’s is donating more than $300,000 worth of Kobalt tools to 500 SkillsUSA building and construction trades programs across the country. The first set of tools was delivered by three-time NASCAR champion, Jimmie Johnson to Lovejoy High School just prior to the March 8 Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Spring Cup Series race. Johnson’s No. 48 Impala SS will also showcase a SkillsUSA logo and a special Tough Tools for Cool Schools paint scheme when he races on April 5 at the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Special thanks to SkillsUSA Georgia director Gayle Silvey for her work on this event.
We had an interesting and productive board meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on December 3. Some of the board members were present and several others were beamed in via Webinar technology. Looking ahead toward our January 12-15 staff strategic planning, the board reviewed some of the research we’ve done for the Vision 2020 initiative (how we would like to see the SkillsUSA organization by the year 2020). The complete research results from SkillsUSA members and stakeholders are still in the process of being compiled and analyzed, but it is clear in the early results that students feel strongly about having more opportunities through SkillsUSA to do service and to work on sustainability and “green” projects.
As a consequence, the board recommended that staff, during its planning for 2010 and 2011, maintain the same five goal areas of marketing, membership service, training, fiscal integrity and advocacy, but that there will be focus on objectives to provide community service and environmental programs opportunities.
A big thank you goes to board member Sue Smith of Newell-Rubbermaid and the IRWIN team for hosting the meeting, for meals and providing us with the technology for the Web cast. It was also great to see former board member Neil Eibeler during the meeting.