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Highlights

December 15th, 2011
  • On November 11, I attended the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) board of trustees meeting in Phoenix. We have some great partners in the group, and they’re still talking about how much they enjoyed their board meeting during our national conference last June.
  • After NCCER, I was off to Chicago for the FABTECH show, November 14 and 15, sponsored by the American Welding Society, Precision Metalforming Association, Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (AWS, PMA, SME and FMA). SkillsUSA WorldTeam medalists from 2009 Calgary and 2011 London, Joe Young and Brad Clink, were formally recognized during the conference with scholarships and awards. And, I was given the Plummer Memorial Education Lecture Award which was quite an honor. The annual award has been presented since 1986 and is in the name of the AWS president from ’52-’54 and later AWS executive director. The title of my presentation was “Welding Education: Changing Lives and Building the 21st Century Workforce.”
  • Staff reported during our recent staff meeting that Toyota was pleased with the Champion of the Year dinner. The event raised close to $300,000. Radiator Specialty Company has awarded $25,000 in scholarships to students from five SkillsUSA postsecondary chapters. During the same meeting that donations have come in from 45 companies since September, of which 19 are new or are doing more than in the past as a result of the dinner.
  • TECHSPO already has booked 58 indoor booths and 11 outdoor booths for next year’s conference.

 

Toyota’s Jim Lentz Becomes Champion of the Year

December 1st, 2011

We had an incredible evening in New York City in the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom on Friday, November 4, for the SkillsUSA 2011 Champion of the Year dinner and awards ceremony. More than 260 people attended – including many students and teachers in their red blazers – and 36 corporations and organizations were represented.

The ceremony began with a procession leading Jim Lentz and his wife, Barbara, to the head table preceded by the New York City Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums. Jim told me later it was probably the most dramatic entrance he’s ever made, and he might consider doing it again for a Toyota dealers’ meeting. National officers Victoria Holbert and Emad Madha did a beautiful job during the student section of the program introducing SkillsUSA to the guests, and there was a special video presentation from John McGlade, the 2010 Champion of the Year, quickly reprising some of his achievements and commending Jim Lentz.

Jim’s own remarks were nicely done with thoughtful stories about what makes people successful. He clearly put a lot of thought into what to say to the students in the audience. “My hope for all SkillsUSA students is that you find that higher purpose in your work and that all of you in this room tonight be proud of the fact that you’re part of a great organization that improves lives and is indeed creating a better world,” Lentz said. He also joked as he put on the SkillsUSA blazer, “I love playing golf, and I’ve always dreamed of winning the Master’s and getting that green jacket. This one’s much better and much more important.”

Jim received congratulatory letters from: Senator Tom Harkin, chairman, U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee; Senator Mike Enzi, ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee; and Representative Jim Langevin, co-chair of the House of Representatives CTE Caucus in addition to letters from governors and other organizations. Photos from the event and a news release are available online here. A six minute wrap-up video is also available at that link.

I owe a big thank you to the state association directors from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York and to their students and teachers for attending. It makes such a difference when people being introduced to SkillsUSA get to talk to the students. And, thanks, too, to all of the Youth Development Foundation members who attended and supported the evening. As I said, it was incredible.

Highlights

December 1st, 2011
  • Staff recently attended the annual meeting of the CEWD (Center for Energy Workforce Development), a nonprofit consortium formed in 2006 of electric, natural gas and nuclear utilities and their associations. SkillsUSA has engaged in a partnership with the CEWD which was formed to help utilities work together to develop solutions of the coming workforce shortage in the utility industry. It is the first partnership between utilities, their associations, contractors and unions to team with secondary and postsecondary educational institutions and the workforce system to create workable solutions to address the need for a qualified, diverse workforce. CEWD contracted SkillsUSA to create a Skill Connect Assessment in Energy Industry Employability Skills, and it is now available. SkillsUSA’s Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) is being used by CEWD as the companion curriculum for that assessment. With help from a Gates Foundation grant, CEWD has launched the Get Into Energy Career Pathway (GIECP) featuring eight pilot sites whose goal is to attract a total of 5,000 low-income students into training and jobs for the energy workforce sector. Additional information about CEWD is at www.cewd.org.
  • Some closing media notes . . . The Champion of the Year releases – both before and after the event – were sent to 1,148 automotive trades, business and education reporters nationwide, both print and online each time, and posted in several places online including Google, Yahoo and AOL. We also produced a report of WorldTeam coverage to share with WorldSkills International and discovered we had at least 118 stories or repostings of press releases on the WorldTeam including WCBS-TV, WAGC-TV, several other TV stations, and several newspapers including the St. Petersburg Times, BodyShop Business as well as several other trade publications and, of course, Parade Magazine.

Champion of the Year Report

November 15th, 2011

SkillsUSA’s second Champion of the Year dinner went very well. The Champion of the Year award is given by SkillsUSA to honor the leadership of a corporate chief executive doing exemplary work in the creation and promotion of America’s highly skilled workforce. The award also recognizes the honoree for the corporation’s involvement in promoting and supporting career and technical education (CTE).

Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. Inc. received the 2011 SkillsUSA Champion of the Year award on November 4, during a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Representatives from 36 corporations and organizations attended the event. A big thank you to the following state association directors for attending and bringing students to participate – Bruce Potter (New York), Heidi Balch (Connecticut), Pete Carey (New Jersey) and Karen Ward (Massachusetts). For photos and additional information, go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/champion.shtml.

Highlights

October 31st, 2011
  • 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.

CTE and Air Products on CBS Evening News

September 28th, 2011

NOTE: We were notified just before this was supposed to air that the piece was pulled at the last minute. CBS is planning to run it at some future date, but at this point we don’t know when that will be. When we know, we’ll post it here.

I’ve received word from Air Products that last Friday a correspondent and camera crew from CBS Evening News arrived at Air Products to talk  with John McGlade our SkillsUSA CEO Champion of the Year.

The topic was the role of career and technical education in preparing students to enter the world of work. Air Products believes John was selected for the interview because of the company’s commitment to SkillsUSA. Air Products said: “John was glad to participate because it was another chance for him to share his passion and support for CTE and SkillsUSA.”

Following the interview in John’s office, the crew went to one of Air Products’ facilities and then to Lehigh Career and Technical Institute for an interview with director Clyde Hornberger.

Air Products was told a two- to four-minute segment will likely run on Wednesday, September 28. That could change depending on the news of the day, but I wanted to alert you to the possibility that SkillsUSA will be referenced on the evening news.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for a good story on career and technical education.

Highlights

September 15th, 2011
  • The SkillsUSA WorldTeam received coverage in the Labor Day weekend edition of PARADE magazine. And, there was much more extensive coverage online, including the team members’ biographies. Here is the link: www.parade.com/what-people-earn/americas-skilled-workers/featured/110904-at-last-good-news-on-jobs.html. PARADE appears in more than 600 Sunday edition newspapers. PARADE is the largest circulation magazine in the country with 70 million readers of the print edition and 40 million online. More coverage in PARADE online has been promised this month.
  • Board member Joe Pietrantonio stopped by the National Leadership Center on Wednesday, August 31. Joe met informally with all of the staff members who were in the office and then sat down with staff to discuss Air Products’ support for the furtherance of the Champion of the Year Dinner. Additionally, SkillsUSA is fortunate to have the very personal support of John McGlade in helping us build this program.
  • While attending the state association director conference in Louisville, I drafted a letter to President Obama asking him to meet with SkillsUSA WorldTeam when it is in DC on September 30. That letter was sent to The White House scheduling office on September 1. We also sent them a notice with the PARADE magazine article link. If all goes according to plan, the team will begin its day in Washington at the offices of The Manufacturing Institute hosted by YDF member Emily DeRocco, meet with members of the CTE Caucus, visit with the President and visit members of Congress.

A Call to Action

June 22nd, 2011

Today’s a big day. The Call to Action Session begins this morning at 8:30 and is the only place during NLSC where all instructors/advisors gather in a meeting specifically for teachers and administrators. There will be a thank-you gift for every person attending, and it’s a great time to hear about the latest SkillsUSA happenings and from our partners in Washington, D.C.

SkillsUSA University begins today at 10 a.m. See: www.skillsusa.org/events/skillsuniv.shtml for details. Also, be sure and check out SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race. It’s part of SkillsUSA TECHSPO and begins today at 10:30 a.m. You can find all the details on Page 18 of the conference program: http://www.skillsusa.org/downloads/PDF/NLSC/program.pdf.

The SkillsUSA Delegates continue their important work today with a Meet the Candidates session at 1 p.m.

This evening at 7 p.m., the conference officially begins with our Opening Ceremony at Kemper Arena, sponsored by Bosch and Georgia-Pacific. Our keynote speaker is John McGlade, CEO, Air Products and SkillsUSA’s Champion of the Year for 2010. The ceremony closes with the ribbon cutting for the SkillsUSA Championships. Everything will be broadcast live via Internet.

Log on at www.skillsusa.org/events/nlscvideo.shtml.


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