- We can hit the membership gong! We have surpassed last year’s membership total. As of yesterday, membership is 302,720. That’s 1,337 ahead of last year and some memberships are still coming into the office. Twenty-six state associations have now exceeded last year’s totals. The most recent is Wisconsin Postsecondary Division, Dale Drees, state association director.
- The Louisiana Community and Technical College System (CTCS) has appointed a state association director, Jawan Ross, and is moving forward to reinstitute the SkillsUSA Louisiana College/Postsecondary Association. The association has been dormant for a year. Jawan was here in the national office on March 16 for some condensed and intense state director training. SkillsUSA welcomes Louisiana postsecondary back, and we’re pleased to hear the LCTCS director is talking about growing the association next year.
- State conferences are underway. The SkillsUSA Georgia conference was a webcast over two days. Representative Jim Langevin, co-chair of the CTE Caucus spoke during the Rhode Island conference. Among his remarks to the students: “SkillsUSA students are the future innovators and job creators for our country.” That’s a nice message to carry. Staff will be visiting 20 state spring conferences.
- On March 5, Bob Daly, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. stopped by the national office for a visit and to discuss opportunities to grow our partnership. Bob is also looking into ways Toyota and Toyota dealers can help support the CTSOs in California.
- On March 6, I was part of a panel discussion during the ACTE Policy and Planning Seminar in Washington. The topic was Measuring Career Readiness Skills: Existing Practice, New Developments and the Challenges That Remain. The concern is finding or developing assessments that are more “career ready” inclusive. Of course, I was able to say during my remarks that SkillsUSA has been teaching and assessing employability skills since 1965 and I spoke about the Skill Connect Assessments and the Professional Development Program. My presentation was well received. Johan Uvin, deputy assistant secretary of OVAE gave a presentation entitled “Perkins Act Preview: Obama Administration.” Uvin said the administration wants to “further improve CTE.” The focus seems to still be on improving postsecondary degree attainment with “at least one year of postsecondary education.” He went on to say OVAE has developed a blueprint for reform, but hasn’t released it yet and that the administration has chosen 2013 for Perkins reauthorization. There will be three major statutory reforms: strengthen alignment of high schools, postsecondary and employers; better accountability systems; and, competitive funding to promote innovation and state reform. Questions from the audience were direct and tough on all three areas, particularly on the competitive funding and Uvin’s assertion that CTE didn’t have data to back up its claims of success.
- I was the keynote speaker at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College/Caper Educator Institute’s “Education Challenge: Career and College Readiness” forum in Henrico, Virginia on March 14. My topic was “Schools Excel Through Student Leadership: Encourage, Promote and Prepare Student Leaders.” There were 210 administrators in attendance, and there was discussion about what it means to be career and college ready. I guess the speech went over well. I gave away all of my business cards.
- We secured a Google Grant for advertising on the Google website. When certain keywords are searched, our ads will appear at the top and in the column on the right of the page. The ads started running on a March 13, and by March 14, SkillsUSA had already received 40,000 impressions.
- And, I attended two outstanding state conferences in the past two weeks – Texas high school and Arizona. More details on these and others next time.
Many high school seniors want to continue their experiences with SkillsUSA at the college level, but the school they will be attending does not have a SkillsUSA chapter. To help these students, SkillsUSA has created a College Start-up Kit. This kit is ideal for local or district officers, state officers, or recent graduates who now attend college. It is also a great resource for any college that requests information about starting a new SkillsUSA program. For a sample of the college kit or to request more information on college programs, contact: Heidi Ambrose at 703-737-0615 or email@example.com.
SkillsUSA is promoting Service Learning to our college/postsecondary chapters. In fact, we’ve made it a part of the College/Postsecondary Program of Work. We think it can help campus chapters more easily integrate SkillsUSA into their programs. As you prepare for your state events this spring, we’d love the chance to present this model to college/postsecondary advisors and students, along with the Career Skills Education Program (CSEP). If you want to offer a short workshop in either or simply an overview presentation at your event, please contact Heidi Ambrose: firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-737-0615.
Many high school seniors want to continue their experiences with SkillsUSA at the college level, but find the school they will be attending does not have a SkillsUSA chapter. To help these students, SkillsUSA has created a College Start Up Kit. This kit is ideal for local or district officers, state officers, or recent graduates who now attend college. It is also a great resource for any college that requests information about starting a new SkillsUSA program. For a sample of the college kit or to request a quantity for your office, please contact: Heidi Ambrose at 703-737-0615 or email@example.com.
Special training seminars in service learning are coming up for college/postsecondary instructors. The first of the State Farm funded seminars will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on January 23 and includes both CSEP and service learning training. The deadline for registration is January 9. A second seminar on just service learning will be held in Marietta, Georgia on February 6 and will be held regardless of the number of registrants. For more information, go to our service learning page.
There is also a new Quick Reference Guide to the College/Postsecondary Program of Workavailable online. The guide includes a section on service learning and is available as a PDF download at this link. If you would like to sign-up for the CSEP/service learning seminar in New Mexico or the service learning seminar in Georgia, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.