- With all of our activity during the past month or so, including the Washington Leadership Training Institute and WorldTeam, over 30 days we had an 87 percent increase of “likes” on the SkillsUSA Facebook page. What’s more, our active users are up 111 percent, the number of people looking at posts is up 383 percent and feedback is up 453 percent. Every time we posted new photos or videos, the site would get 4,500 impressions. During the first week of October, 67,246 people viewed posts on our news feed. A good comparison here is to the first week of September when we had only 12,680 people viewing the news feed. Good news and activity gets great attention.
- On September 29, I had a conference call with Larry Teverbaugh, CEO of K2Share. We will be signing a new memorandum of understanding to continue our CareerSafe agreement with K2Share, and Larry is projecting continuing growth of CareerSafe.
- While in London, I had meetings with three of our industry partners. Russ Hoffbauer, the four national officers attending WorldSkills and I met with FLUKE. Russ did a super job of talking about the business advantages of partnering with SkillsUSA and taking it to a higher level. I’m scheduled to meet with FLUKE in Seattle in early December. The four officers, Karen Ward, SkillsUSA Massachusetts state association director, and I met with Autodesk representatives in hopes Autodesk will become involved in the Youth Development Foundation. And, I met with Lincoln Electric CEO, John Stropki, Jr. Lincoln has been a SkillsUSA partner for over 30 years, and I’m looking forward to meeting with John in early December.
- The Alumni Coordinating Committee was in Leesburg for their fall meeting October 14-16, and they had good discussions.
- The SkillsUSA Champion of the Year event is coming ever closer. Here’s a nice development: Toyota has asked its government affairs staff to get letters of congratulations for Jim Lentz from governors all across the country. That’s another way of leveraging this event. We hope many of you will encourage your business partners to participate in the event on November 4. Broadening our partner network will allow for greater awareness of the need for a skilled American workforce and help show that SkillsUSA and CTE are part of the answer. If you would like additional information about this year’s event, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Chris Powell of our staff.
On August 25, I was back doing teacher training at the school level again. It brought back great memories of my days as a state association director. The Education, Training and Assessments Department was already totally committed and on the road doing other training, so staff and I conducted training sessions for a group of 14 high school and middle school teachers, including two administrators at Caroline High School in Va. We covered topics from the Chapter Management Institute including the program of work and officer elections. But there were new things too, such as CareerSafe, Lowe’s grants and all the new items we have online and available for members this year, such as “Five Simple Steps to Start a SkillsUSA Chapter.” SkillsUSA never stands still.
On March 14 and 15, several staff members and I traveled to Mooresville, N.C., to meet with various Lowe’s representatives and executives. One key topic was the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) review and approval of the 2011 grant allocations, which will carry forward programs including state Championships TeamWorks events, support for the WorldTeam, Championships support, and CareerSafe, among others.
While we were reviewing the Community Service and Campus Improvement Grant applications, SkillsUSA and Lowe’s decided future grants will be evaluated in part on how the grant-funded projects address essential and basic needs and whether they will be long-lasting and self-sustaining.
In an exciting new development, Lowe’s executives agreed to help SkillsUSA grow its partnership base by soliciting their own vendor partners on our behalf. The goal is to acquire at least 10 new vendor sponsors for SkillsUSA by this summer building upon “The Power of 10” theme established during last year’s conference.
Also, the team spent a great deal of time helping to coordinate and organize Lowe’s presence during national conference, their giveaway pavilion and their sponsorship of the awards ceremony.
Other discussions centered on using social media to promote our partnership, public relations and special projects to come. More exciting news came from the Kobalt team. Not only will they continue their tool giveaway program, but they are expanding the program to include 1,000 schools. And, they are also creating an opportunity for a very special event that we’ll announce soon for a lucky and talented SkillsUSA student.
SkillsUSA is partnering with CareerSafe for a National Safety Video Competition. Teens across the country are challenged to create a video demonstrating safety in the workplace. For entry information and more details, visit: www.skillsusa.org/compete/safetyvideo.shtml. Entry submission deadline is March 1.