- Air Products’ John McGlade, CEO Champion of the Year, will be a featured speaker at the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education consortium (NASDCTEc) spring meeting in Washington, D.C. SkillsUSA is delighted John will take the time to talk to the state leaders of CTE about their new vision for CTE, the value of CTE and maybe just a little about the value of SkillsUSA. Thanks to Laurie Gostley-Hackett, Youth Development Foundation Committee member from Air Products, for her coordination of John’s participation.
- In answer to proposed cuts to Perkins funding this year, and in support of both NASDCTEc and the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) urgent requests to contact Congress, SkillsUSA sent out more than 16,000 e-mails asking our professional members and technical committee members to call Congress. We’re getting reports back from the field. One said: “Our congressman said his office has been flooded with faxes and e-mails so he’s shut them down. Calling is the only thing that works.” It appears this will be a busy year for advocacy given the pressure of the federal budget.
- In an effort to encourage more U.S. participation in the WorldSkills Competitions this October, we have been working with the London organizing committee to offer special hotel/conference packages to our members. These packages would be available for five-night stays either at the beginning or end of the conference (from October 5-8) and would include breakfasts, admission to the competitions and to the opening or closing ceremonies, transportation to and from the airport and an excursion. The costs are approximately $500 (U.S. dollars) per person based on SkillsUSA registering at least 50 people. The organizing committee has put together various other hotel packages, and their travel agency will work directly with individuals who prefer to plan their own trips. Contact them by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All information regarding the competitors, the 2011 WSC schedule and the housing packages can be viewed on our Web page at www.skillsusa.org/compete/worldteam.shtml. Please direct any questions to email@example.com.
- Here’s a list of additional reports. The executive directors of the Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) held a meeting with Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Education, on February 15 to discuss CTSO policy. We started the energy audit of the National Leadership Center on February 25 and hope to have a preliminary report ready by the next board meeting. The second half of the staff has now gone through (and passed) Red Cross CPR and First Aid training. Cindy Sutton, former YDF member and now executive VP of Earth Alive dropped by the office on February 7 with the two co-founders of Purple Heart Homes seeking advice for the start up of a nonprofit. And, finalists for the Lowe’s national conference pin and T-shirt designs have been selected. Lowe’s will be announcing the winners soon.
On December 13, the National Coordinating Council of Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) met in Washington to catch up on progress thus far this school year. All but one of the organizations reported that membership and conference attendance are holding their own or are on the rise.
We talked about the generational transfer among teachers. The Baby Boomers are leaving and we now have Gen-X and Millennials to serve. That’s a much different population. There was also a lot of discussion of the CEO Champion of the Year dinner by the other associations. The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced that attendance at the ACTE conference in Las Vegas was up over the previous year.
There is no better example of career and technical education (CTE) success than career and technical student organization students (CTSO). ACTE invites CTSO leaders and students to attend the National Policy Seminar, March 7-9, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. A special student rate is available. Join other CTE advocates to hear from national leaders, learn about education and work force development policies and join other CTE advocates on Capitol Hill.
As of January, the face of Congress has changed dramatically, and your voice is needed more than ever to help ensure your legislator understands the importance of CTE and CTSOs. New federal leaders need to hear from you to make the connections between their decisions and student experiences. For instance, House leaders are proposing a 20 percent reduction in education funding! Attend ACTE’s National Policy Seminar to let them know firsthand how this would affect you and your programs.
For more information and to register go to: www.acteonline.org.
- On September 7, three representatives of organized labor met with us here at the national center. The thrust of the meeting was to explore ways the AFL-CIO and SkillsUSA could be working together more closely, particularly, in image building for the skilled trades and recruitment of our students into apprenticeships. As they said: “These are the people we want to hire.” Leading the meeting was Robert J. Pleasure, special assistant to the president of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. He was joined by Eric L. Packard, training specialist with the UA (United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters) and our old friend, Rick Sullivan, from the Ironworkers. The meeting began with a presentation by two of our national student officers, Robin Cronbaugh, Region V vice president, and Sam Soto, college/postsecondary president.
- The National Coordinating Council for the Career and Technical Student Organizations met in Reston, Va. on September 15. Included with the regular business meeting was a special presentation on social networking called “socialnomics.” We know that as student organizations, we have a lot to consider with social networking as a way to reach students, but also to protect our brand. It was a great presentation by ACTE (Association for Career and Technical Education) and FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America). Other SkillsUSA staff attended the session as well.
- We’re working on our Vision 2020 goal of reaching one million people per year. I spoke recently with Richard Grimsley of Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and Rosanne White of the Technology Student Organization about marketing for Engineering Alliance (EA). PLTW has a goal of reaching into 15,000 middle and high schools by 2015. If EA takes off, SkillsUSA will be connected to those schools too.
- On September 10, YDF member Bill Maddox of N.E.W. took a group of our staff members to a Washington Nationals baseball game, and we got to watch from the N.E.W. suite at the ballpark. Bill is looking to secure the box for next season to offer it as a SkillsUSA membership mega prize.
- The SkillsUSA CEO Champion of the Year dinner is shaping up nicely and the pledges are coming in. The award is going to be special too. The design is based on the SkillsUSA Championships gold medallion. I’m looking forward to the presentation.
- SkillsUSA WorldTeam is coming together as well. Our goal is to compete in 20 contests, so that means 22 students will fill out the team for 2011. We have 16 selected thus far. News releases should be going out by early October.
- Staff reports alumni membership has now reached 17,000 and four states – New York, Texas, Maine and Ohio – have held meetings to establish state alumni associations.
- Staff reports that the Work Force Ready System Web site had been updated and made more customer-friendly. He says several states have inquired about state purchases of assessments for both pre- and post-testing and that we’re now offering more extensive state reporting.
- And, we just finished the Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI), and it was a huge success. We had about 240 people registered including 151 student leaders, 73 instructors and 12 SkillsUSA state association directors. Board President Russ Hoffbauer joined the national officers and me on visits in Washington. I’ll be reporting more extensively about WLTI next time.
On September 2, I drove into Washington D.C. for a 9 a.m. meeting with Glenn Cummings, deputy assistant secretary at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). For the first half of the one-hour meeting, we were joined by Larry Teverbaugh and Andrea Foster-Mack of K2Share to talk about CareerSafe, its current value and use in public career and technical education programs, and then we raised some ideas as to how to expand its use to help students earn their 10-hour OSHA card. The second 30 minutes was on funding of CTSOs and support in the states. While at the department, we also met with Margaret Romer, deputy director, Division of Academic and Technical Education (and one of our speakers from the department during the Washington Leadership Training Institute this month). We also met with our old friend Larry Case of National FFA, and FFA specialist Steve Brown to discuss some current FFA initiatives to recruit Ag instructors and how we might do something similar across the CTE community. I’m sure teacher recruitment will be a topic during our upcoming meeting with the student organization executive directors.
The National Coordinating Council of Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSOs) met at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education in Washington, D.C. on the 21st. The early part of the meeting was a proposal by the National Research Center for CTE to conduct additional research on the CTSOs. Specifically, the research would be modeled on the math study done by the center a few years ago to demonstrate the value of CTE in teaching mathematics. This would focus on CTSOs as an intervention model and would include professional development for advisors as the math study did.
In our round table discussion, we heard that ACTE and the National Association of State Directors of CTE consortium (NASDCTEc) believe that Congress will go ahead with level funding for CTE next year. NASDCTEc is pushing to have CTE written into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act particularly in light of career clusters. And, speaking of career clusters, SkillsUSA also received congratulations for the great job SkillsUSA Kansas State Association Director Ann Wick did showing how CTSOs fit into the career cluster model during the NASDCTEc Career Clusters Institute in Denver last June. Representatives of ACTE and NASDCTEc were pleased with the opportunity to present during the Call to Action session at conference.
On May 19, I met with the National Coordinating Council of the Career and Technical Student Organizations for our bimonthly meeting at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). Margaret Romer, deputy director at OVAE, hosted the meeting. She said the Office wants to do much more to use CTSO students in visibility for career and technical education within the department, with policymakers and with the public. Among her specific proposals are more meetings at the Department of Education when CTSO students are in Washington, more appearances by the Department of Education before CTSO audiences and conducting a joint Webinar with the student presidents and officials in Washington under the auspices of OVAE as we’ve done in the past.
On the policy front, Romer told us that Jim Stone, director of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education will be joining our July meeting to discuss a new research project on CTSOs supported by OVAE. She also confirmed that Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier is committed to having career and technical education included in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) known as “No Child Left Behind” in the previous administration. Romer also told me she is looking forward to reviewing the SkillsUSA Employability Skills Assessment. People in the field have been telling her to take a look.
Two of our fellow career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) are competing for awards in the Pepsi Refresh Program this month and both have asked for SkillsUSA member support. DECA is a finalist in this month’s Pepsi Refresh Program for a $250,000 award and FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) is a finalist for a $50,000 award. Grants are awarded by popular vote and you can vote up to once each day. Since no other CTSO is competing for an award this month, we encourage our members and friends to vote for both of these organizations.
To vote, click on the following links and once you are in, click “Vote for this idea.” DECA: www.refresheverything.com/decainspires and FCCLA: www.refresheverything.com/empowerfcclastudentleaders.
There is also a variety of state and local CTSO projects competing at different grant levels. You can vote for up to 10 projects each day, so we also encourage you to look at those projects and cast your vote in support. The last day you can vote this month will be April 30.
On February 24, the National Coordinating Council of the Career and Technical Student Organizations met at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education. There was a great deal to discuss. OVAE staff has requested key dates for conferences and events from all the CTSOs. They plan to get staff out to the major events like conference and WLTI. FFA national officers have met with Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan, and OVAE would like to see more students coming to the Department of Education to engage staff and offer their opinions and CTE success stories.
OVAE is also developing a CTE marketing strategy, and they want student input. They plan to invite SkillsUSA and the other CTSO student leaders to serve on a focus group for the initiative.
We had a good discussion on alumni initiatives by the various organizations. Going forward, we will be holding NCC-CTSO “themed meetings.” Alumni will be the focus of the first one. A second theme is communications strategies. It’s great to see the cooperation among the CTSO executives and the plans to share best practices.
We had a visit by Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier. She discussed the importance of CTSOs in CTE and the fact that our students are the face of career and technical education. She said she has plans to begin reauthorization of Perkins immediately, even though it’s authorized through 2012 already. And, she also believes that, for the first time, we have the opportunity to have CTE named specifically in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
I was back in D.C. later in the week for a meeting of the NCC-CTSO (National Coordinating Council for the Career and Technical Student Organizations) at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). The group discussed the future vision of the CTE project being conducted by NASDCTEc (National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education consortium).
We were told that Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter (who met with the WorldTeam earlier in September) says she wants her legacy to be a much higher graduation rate and “she knows she can’t do that without CTE.” It was also reported that she wants CTE to “have parity with the academic side of the house.”