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Executive Director’s Report: May 15, 2014

May 15th, 2014

STEM Demonstrations by SkillsUSA in Washington, D.C.
SkillsUSA students demonstrated aspects of their occupational programs during the third annual USA Science & Engineering Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C., April 25-27, 2014. More than 325,000 people attended, including 180,000 students and teachers. Six students from C.S. Monroe Tech in Leesburg, two students from Thomas Edison High School (Md.) and two students from the Edison Academy in Fairfax (Va.) put on demonstrations illustrating STEM education in CTE. There were demonstrations of 3D Printing/Advanced Manufacturing, Culinary Arts, Dental Assisting, Robotics and Welding. Three national officers were also in the booth – Cole Fallis (Ohio); Brittany Velez (Mass.); and, Laura Goullion (Calif.). Our national officers were featured on the Mike Rowe stage Saturday morning of the Festival where they delivered the 9 a.m. keynote presentations. Headliners at the Festival included Bill Nye the Science Guy and Mike Rowe.

It was nice that the opportunity for SkillsUSA to participate came through Mike Rowe and mikeroweWORKS. His office started talking to us about participating shortly after the June national conference. They thought we should be there. Our 10×40 exhibit space was next to the Mike Rowe booth. Mike also helped us make a connection with Walmart Foundation which gave SkillsUSA an $11,050 grant to cover expenses for the Festival and floor space in its exhibit. In the same pavilion were other valued SkillsUSA partners including CAT, Lincoln Electric, the American Welding Society and Universal Technical Institute.

Dave Worden said that Walmart executives were pleased with the results of including SkillsUSA in the exhibit and many additional new business and industry contacts were made. Particular thanks to Niki Clausen, Dave Worden and Jim Kregiel for participating and pulling the team together for SkillsUSA. Here are some photos from the event.

Highlights

  • On Tuesday, April 22, Natalie Crede and Malinda Lindimore, two HR executives from Safelite, an auto glass replacement company, visited the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center for a reception with staff in the morning. A little later, we took them on a tour of the Frederick Career and Technology Center in Maryland. Martha Lowry, the SkillsUSA school advisor, had her leadership team meet us at the door. We met with the principal, the culinary students served hors d’oeuvres, we toured the school and then students spoke on how SkillsUSA participation had changed their lives. It was a moving experience for all concerned. Safelite presented SkillsUSA with a sponsorship-level $25,000 check in what they said they hoped would be the first of many donations. The company is particularly interested in customer-relations skills because a lot of its work is done in customers’ driveways. Natalie and Malinda were very complimentary of the SkillsUSA brand and our leadership curriculum. Thanks go to Don Hermanek of IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) and Russ Hoffbauer of State Farm for the introduction. Check out these photos from the visits.
  • On the evening of April 22, I addressed the GAERF (Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation) board of directors during its meeting in Washington, D.C. I spoke on our partnership with GAERF on the Skill Connect Assessments (which GAERF has now recognized as certifications for the printing industry), the skills gap and workforce shortages. Board members asked if there are ways we can work together on advocacy. They’re concerned because they’ve been seeing graphic communications programs closing. On a brighter side, I had a former CEO of a major printing company ask if there was anything he might do to support us in Ohio. Mike Cowles has already had his first meeting with the company in Dayton.
  • On April 10 and 11, I was in Jacksonville, Fla. to introduce Mike Horn of Pro Services at Lowe’s to Boyd Worsham, chair of our Carpentry contest technical committee and vice president of Haskell Company, a national contractor. We were joined by Don Whyte, president and Steve Green, vice president of NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research). The topic was how best to work with commercial contractors. This is one of those instances where SkillsUSA was happy to make the introductions.
  • While there’s no specific movement on Perkins reauthorization, we’re pleased to note that 94 members of the House of Representatives and 25 Senators have helped champion federal funding for CTE. In separate letters to House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees, the large bipartisan coalition urged a strong federal investment in Perkins in upcoming appropriations bills. Thanks go to ACTE and NASDCTEc for their leadership and to Representatives Thompson (Pa.) and Langevin (R.I.) and Senators Blumenthal (Ct.), Baldwin (Wis.) and Kaine (Va.) for leading in their respective chambers.
  • Sales of Skill Connect Assessments are up by over 3,600 tests at this point in the year. We understand our customers are very happy with the support desk at K2Share and with the new delivery system.
  • We’ve heard great things about state association spring conferences including those in Ohio and Maryland. I attended conferences in Florida and Massachusetts (more in the next issue). And, you might like to see how Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia used their medallions and winners to get lengthy TV news coverage and demonstrations. See it here – http://tinyurl.com/kvzl9la.
  • I just returned from the NCCER board of trustees meeting in San Francisco, and I’ve had it confirmed that one of our students will speak during their Construction Industry Institute meeting this summer. Present will be owners of major construction companies.

That’s it for now. Thanks for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

GAERF Student Design Competition

February 28th, 2014

The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) has launched their GAERF Student Design Competition, themed “PACK-tastic.” This sixth annual contest challenges participants to combine their critical thinking and creativity with cutting-edge technology to design a unique striking package. Entries will be judged on design, functionality, appropriate labeling and marketability. One high school winner and one college/postsecondary school winner will be identified for each of the first, second and third place awards.

The deadline for entries is June 13, 2014. For complete information about the GAERF 2014 Student Design Competition, visit: www.graphicCOMMcentral.org.

ACTIVE ADVISOR NEWS: March 2014

February 26th, 2014

Update from Tim Lawrence

Membership Deadline: Monday, March 3
The 2013-2014 SkillsUSA membership deadline is quickly approaching. All membership should be submitted by March 3, 2014 to be included as an official SkillsUSA member for this school year as well as be considered eligible to participate as a contestant in district and state competition and at the National Leadership and Skills Conference. Students must also be official members to run for district, state or national office or to serve as a voting delegate at all levels. Advisors should also ensure that they are registered as professional members. A few states have earlier deadlines; so, be sure and contact your state director if you have questions. If you have any challenges in registering members or questions concerning membership, please do not hesitate to contact Susan Trent or Judy Garrison.

SkillsUSA Week and CTE Month

A big thank you to all chapters that engaged students in special activities for SkillsUSA Week and CTE Month. We received several uplifting stories from our chapters about activities they were conducting as a part of the celebration. The following link shows a great tweet from our Cypress Bay Chapter in Florida and how they decorated their school for SkillsUSA Week: http://bit.ly/1cwcz9U. This link shows the state association’s visit with Florida Governor Rick Scott for a proclamation signing: http://on.fb.me/1eQcsMg. And, Ohio’s students met with the Governor and the Superintendent of Education to highlight SkillsUSA week. Our chapters do a great job of spreading the good word about SkillsUSA in their states and local communities, and we are very proud to see the great student – driven activities nationwide.

Did your school do something special to celebrate? If so, we’d love to learn about it. Please send your news to Jane Short by email to jshort@skillsusa.org.

New CTSO Website
And, as we celebrate the final week of CTE Month across the nation, we are pleased to announce the rollout of an exciting new website. This site was created in cooperation with all the national Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) through the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) and our affiliate organizations: The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education.

The website links to all CTSOs and affiliate organizations, provides the latest CTE news feed, links to our social networks and provides several data points that support the case for CTSOs as a key component of high quality Career and Technical Education. One of the most dynamic features of the website appears under the “Advocate” header. This link provides CTSO profiles for every state and shows the number of CTSO members in each legislative district for every state. This is a great tool for state legislative visits and for making the case for CTE at the local, state and federal levels.

We hope you will find this site useful not only an advocacy tool, but also as a marketing and branding tool. The process to develop this website was done with an incredible cooperative spirit amongst all the CTSOs and affiliate organizations. It offers another way to celebrate the goodness of CTE! Visit the site at: www.ctsos.org.

U.S. Department of Education Discussions

Daria Ferdine, national high school treasurer from New Jersey, participated in a CTSO Student Voices discussion with the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (formerly the Office of Vocational and Adult Education) and Brenda Dann-Messier on Tuesday afternoon, February 18th. And, she was also one of four students who made a presentation during a U.S. Department of Education internal briefing entitled “Reflect, Transform, Lead: Preparing Students for College, Career and Citizenship.” Here is a photo taken with Secretary Duncan:

Sec. of Ed. Arne Duncan and Daria Ferdine

Sec. of Ed. Arne Duncan and Daria Ferdine

Educated and Skilled to Lead America Video Competition Winner Announcement
This past fall, chapters from around the country submitted their entries for the Educated and Skilled to Lead America Video Competition (based on this year’s SkillsUSA theme). Chapters were challenged to create a video that showcased how they are becoming educated (what does their classroom or lab look like/what are they learning?) and skilled (what are their skills and how do they apply them). More than 25 entries were received and congratulations go to the winners — Sydney Martin and Krystal Smoger of St. Clair TEC in Marysville, Mich. where Ms. Keely Baribeau serves as the advisor. The honorable mention was submitted by Alexia Tignor of Franklin Technology Center in Joplin, Mo. where Ms. Deonna Anderson serves as the advisor.

You can watch both in the playlist below:

Communications Audit
Some of you may receive a questionnaire sent to a random sampling of approximately 1,500 advisors and students as part of a SkillsUSA strategic communications audit. The questionnaire will come from Stratton Publishing & Marketing Inc./Stratton Research in Alexandria, Va. Please fill it out and return it so we can learn more about what you need/want from our communications. The end goal is to provide timely, high-quality and valuable content that better aligns with student and advisor needs. Those who participate will have the opportunity to win an iPad mini.

Thank you for all you do for the great students we serve.

Work Force Ready System/Skill Connect Assessments
Available assessments
SkillsUSA assessments offers 42 technical and employability assessments in 10 cluster areas including four co-branded assessments with ASE/AYES and five co-branded assessments with PrintED/GAERF.  For a complete list of assessments and the blueprints that describe the standards, competencies, and academic skills tied to each assessment, go to this link.

To order Skill Connect Assessments, go to this link.  Log on to the test platform with your username from last year or click “Don’t have an Account” to create one. Click “Course Catalog,” type the assessment area in the search box and click on the assessment name. Select your quantity and click “add to cart.” Follow the prompts to complete your order.

Prepare the site for testing
Ensure the hardware and software of computers being used for testing meets the minimum requirements. Read the testing instructions before administering the assessments to students. See the step by step instructions, run a test on the computers and/or download the requirements at this link.

Enroll students and grade books
Detailed instructions on how to enroll students, distribute voucher tests and how to access the grade report can be found at this link.  Also see our training webinar “Assessment Ordering and Management Tools” to learn how to access the full line of reports available here.

New User ID field (Available end of March.)

An optional User ID field  inputted during the creation of the student username account can be used to further identify the student in the grade reports. Student ID’s, contestant numbers (if using for regional or state competitions) or other identification codes can be used in this field. A maximum of 12 alpha or numeric characters permitted.

Assessment Support
Please note our new phone number, email address and hours of operation. 
Direct: 1-866-444-7779/Email: support@skillconnect.org


Help Desk Support Hours: Mon.- Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. EST

2014 Regional Advisors of the Year
The regional Advisors of the Year have been chosen. Congratulations go to:

  • Ellen Coughlin, DCMO BOCES — Chenango Area Campus, New York, Region 1;
  • James Dinsmoor, Rockdale Career Academy, Georgia, Region 2;
  • Tobin Prinsen, Apollo Career Center, Ohio, Region 3;
  • Mark Sponaugle, Carthage Technical Center, Missouri, Region 4;
  • James Adamson, Central Kitsap High School, Washington, Region 5.

These great advisors will all come to NLSC in Kansas City and compete for the title of National Advisor of the Year.

Alumni Membership Incentive
The Alumni Coordinating Committee is offering an incentive for SkillsUSA advisors who sign up alumni from their chapters. For every five members an advisor registers with the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association, he or she will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Lowe’s gift card.

To be officially entered into the drawing, the advisor must have students register online at: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumni.shtml. Paper forms will not be accepted. The advisor must then send an email to Byekwaso Gilbert at bgilbert@skillsusa.org.

The email must contain all of the following:

  • The advisor’s name, school, address, phone and email (make sure what you provide will be accessible to you after June 1)
  • A list (for verification) of the students (first and last names) who registered as alumni

Remember that graduating seniors qualify to register during their senior year. Former SkillsUSA students are also eligible, provided they are not members already. These students must register through their former advisor to be counted as part of that advisor’s entry. Students may only register once. Deadline for entry into the drawing is June 1.

Student2Student Mentoring Program
SkillsUSA sponsors a national recognition program based on the Student2Student mentoring program. Any chapter involved in mentoring can submit its project plan, description and outcomes. The winning chapter will be given a cash prize, recognized at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, in the Awards and Recognition booklet and at an event during the conference. In addition, the overall winning chapter will be invited to present its winning mentoring program as a part of SkillsUSA University. For more information, go to this link. All entries must be submitted online to the national office by April 4. Winners will be announced in May.

February 2014 Alumni Newsletter
Here is a link to the latest alumni newsletter. Please read and share with all who are interested. Go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumninews.shtml.

GAERF Student Design Competition
The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) has launched their GAERF Student Design Competition, themed “PACK-tastic.” This sixth annual contest challenges participants to combine their critical thinking and creativity with cutting-edge technology to design a unique striking package. Entries will be judged on design, functionality, appropriate labeling and marketability. One high school winner and one college/postsecondary school winner will be identified for each of the first, second and third place awards.

The deadline for entries is June 13, 2014. For complete information about the GAERF 2014 Student Design Competition, visit: www.graphicCOMMcentral.org.

“Do it Yourself” Video Competition
SkillsUSA launched a video competition during SkillsUSA Week, February 9-15, for members to showcase their skills. Entries should be between 2-3 minutes in length and uploaded to YouTube at: www.youtube.com by May 1, 2014. A SkillsUSA panel will judge the entries. The top five entries will then be voted on by the public during the week of May 8-15. Winners will be announced on Facebook and on the SkillsUSA website. For more details, visit this page. Email Stephanie Bland at sbland@skillsusa.org with questions.

News Release Template
The SkillsUSA’s advocacy site gives email contacts for state and local media and federal officials. There is also a news release template for your state conference participants. Please use this site to publicize your regional, district or state competitors or delegates.

GAERF Student Design Competition

April 15th, 2013

Graphic DesignThe Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) has announced the launch of the GAERF 2013 Student Design Competition, themed “Forever Print.” This annual contest, in its fifth year, challenges students to demonstrate their creativity and skill by producing a printed product that in today’s world cannot be replaced by electronic media. All students who attend recognized high school or postsecondary institutions in the continental United States who are studying in a graphic communications/printing, advertising, graphic design or interactive media program can enter.

First-place winners and their instructors will receive a two-day trip, all expenses paid, to attend PRINT 13 in Chicago, Ill. The winning students will receive an award of $2,000 presented at PRINT 13 during Career Awareness Day on September 12, 2013. Second-place winners will be awarded $1,500, and the third-place winners will receive $1,000 and will receive their awards via USPS delivery by September 30, 2013. All student entries will be showcased online at: www.graphicCOMMcentral.org, and also in PRINT 13′s Education Main Street pavilion.

If you have questions, please contact Eileen Cassidy at 703/264-7200 or by email to ecassidy@npes.org. For more information, visit: www.graphicCOMMcentral.org. The entry deadline is June 14, 2013.

Work Force Ready System Update

December 22nd, 2012

SkillsUSA offers 47 technical and employability assessments in 11 cluster areas including four co-branded assessments with ASE/AYES and five co-branded assessments with PrintED/GAERF.

NEW! Teacher Preparation Guides:

Teacher Preparation Guides will be available to assist teachers in preparing students for the Skill Connect Assessments. The first six are scheduled to be released in January: Carpentry, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice/Crime Scene investigation, Television (Video) Production, Nurse Assisting and Welding. The guide will be included as part of the assessment purchase and will be accessible online to the instructor who provided the order.

For information on our assessments visit our Work Force Ready System website at: www.workforcereadysystem.org, contact us at 703-737-0633, ext. 1 or email us at skillconnect@skillsusa.org.

GAERF 2012 Student Design Competition

March 13th, 2012

The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) has announced the launch of the GAERF 2012 Student Design Competition, themed “Why Hire Me?” This annual contest, in its fourth year, challenges participants to demonstrate their creativity and skill by creating a marketing campaign that positions themselves as ideal candidates for a career they select in the graphic communications industry.

First-place winners and their instructors will receive a two-day, all-inclusive paid trip to attend GRAPH EXPO in Chicago, Ill. The winning students will receive an award of $2,000 presented during GRAPH EXPO 2012’s Career Awareness Day, October 10, 2012. Second-place winners will be awarded $1,500, and the third-place winners will receive $1,000.

For complete information about the GAERF 2012 Student Design Competition, visit www.graphicCOMMcentral.org. The entry deadline is June 15.


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