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March 15th, 2011

Membership stands at about 298,564 and 30 states have now exceeded their membership last year.

On February 22, we sent an e-mail to our industry partners asking them to sign on to a letter addressed to the Senate requesting restoration of funding to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The letter was from the Association of Career and Technical Education, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, the American Association of Community Colleges and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Several of SkillsUSA’s business partners signed on too. There were 168 business and organization signatories overall when the letter was sent recently. This is the start of what will likely be a very active advocacy season.

On March 1, the Lowe’s Campus Improvement and Community Service grant checks were sent to 34 schools and colleges. The total amount? $324,800. There had to be a lot of people smiling when the checks arrived. And, while on the subject, we heard last week from Lowe’s that Georgia-Pacific will once again co-sponsor the Opening Ceremony of the 2011 national conference.

We held a Chapter Management Institute here at headquarters on February 22, a wintry day when some of the area schools were closed, but 14 teachers came from three nearby states for training.

On February 23, staff and I attended the Destination and Travel Foundation dinner hosted by convention and visitors bureaus from across the country. We were invited by the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association and also met with the Louisville CVB while we were there.

By popular demand, I’m a video again. Staff has created a four-minute video for the national office to send greetings to the states during their spring conferences. It’s available online and on DVD. I’m in there and so is the Vision 2020 message. I believe the video is quite effective.

On February 24, I went to Baltimore for a meeting with the mid-Atlantic region U.S. Army Accessions Command. There was lots of interesting information on Army recruiting and I’ll be putting our state association directors in touch with the command regarding opportunities to support and promote SkillsUSA in the region.

On February 25, Second Eden Studios conducted an energy audit on the National Leadership Center. The preliminary report was delivered to the board of directors at their March meeting. The final report will be released in June.

And, finally, staff worked with the national officers in Kansas City, March 3-5, getting ready for their roles at the national conference.

Keep It Green Reminder

March 15th, 2011

Lowe’s and SkillsUSA want to know what you are doing to keep it green. A new contest has been established for SkillsUSA instructors to show methods/techniques/technologies used in their classrooms that provide the ability for that class to reduce in the carbon footprint left on the environment.

If you are a proactive “green” instructor implementing innovative methodologies to teach your program, go to and apply for one of six $2,500 Lowe’s awards and the chance to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City this June. In addition, the six winning instructors will be asked to present their program during a SkillsUSA University session on Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

To be eligible, you must be a registered SkillsUSA professional member with an active SkillsUSA chapter. Membership for the 2010-11 school year will be verified by the national headquarters. (The name must appear on a roster for this school year.) Only one entry per SkillsUSA professional member is permitted.

Deadline is April 1. For complete details and application instructions, go to:


February 1st, 2011
  • Membership as of January 31 stood at 243,342. That’s 9,927 over our membership on this date last year.
  • As a follow-up to our challenge to make our national headquarters campus energy neutral by 2020, we met by teleconference with DPZ Architects and Town Planners and with Second Eden Studio, a green consultant/design firm. Since that meeting, we have received a quote from Second Eden Studio to conduct an energy audit of our building/campus. The audit will help us determine the needs and budget for this initiative over the next nine years.
  • Recently, I was in Chicago, meeting with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and their affiliate staff members who manage “ProStart” and “ServSafe” certificate programs. I met with NRAEF program managers and the interim executive director. We agreed to crosswalk our technical standards with their national standards and to align them as fully as possible. NRAEF also agreed to appoint a representative to serve on our national technical committee for culinary arts.
  • While the Ohio group was here, Momentum, one of the U.S. Army’s agencies, and representatives of the Army met us to discuss our partnership and how to engage in more students at the local and state levels. They joined staff and the Ohio group for lunch and heard very passionate presentations by our students.
  • And, we’re still carrying the word on state association boards. Staff traveled to Massachusetts to assist its board with strategic planning, and I went to Arizona to conduct board training and strategic planning. As a result of our work together, the Arizona board and I developed a new strategic plan for the state association. The national office staff produced and published the plan, and it was e-mailed to all Arizona board members within one week of our meeting.

The Green Destination: Video Contest

January 14th, 2011

Are you looking for a creative way to help make our society a GREENER place? If so, we’ve got the contest for you. The Delmar, Cengage Learning Corporation wants to make the green destination for the building trades industry and they need your help.

Students will create and submit a video showing how they would promote this new green website to their potential customers. For complete details, visit:

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