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Executive Director’s Report: June 15, 2014

June 15th, 2014

Chiefs Career Readiness Initiative Launched
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states. The Council is unquestionably one of the most influential organizations in public education. It works to gain consensus among members on major educational issues and to express those views to Congress, federal agencies and the public. As an example, the CCSSO issued a report in 2010 on transforming educator preparation and entry into the profession. That report led to policy changes and reforms in 44 states to date. The Chiefs want to promote high-quality career and technical education, and they want all of public education to recognize the importance and role of CTE. The Chiefs have pulled together a small task force of 18 people who they call “the best people in the country” to draft recommendations for their report. On May 21, we had our first meeting of the Career Readiness Task Force. The group includes six state chiefs, three state CTE directors, two state leaders of postsecondary programs –including Board Member Scott Stump– two business leaders and five national experts. (That’s where I fit in. I am the only student organization representative on the task force.) Our agenda included a discussion on the economic imperative for our work and how to identify and support high-quality career readiness programs. I served on a subcommittee that discussed what kinds of things will spark student career interests and serve as student incentives. Not surprisingly, the work of student organizations came up in that meeting, and I wasn’t the only one talking about them. The task force members will be working offline during the coming months, and we have two formal meetings scheduled for July and September. The Chiefs want to deliver the report during their national conference in November. This is a great opportunity to work at the highest levels of education policy.

“A Common Framework for Employability Skills”
On May 22, Niki Clausen represented SkillsUSA during the U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) webinar entitled “A Common Framework for Employability Skills.” The webinar focused on why employability skills matter and featured the Employability Skills Framework and website (at http://cte.ed.gov/employabilityskills/) and implementation strategies including career and technical student organizations. In addition to Niki, other guest presenters included: Sharon Miller from OCTAE, Kim Green with NASDCTEc, Steve DeWitt at ACTE, Laura Rasmussen Foster at RTI International, Pamela Frugoli with the U.S. Department of Labor, and SkillsUSA Board Member Kathy Mannes with American Association of Community Colleges. There were 320 participants nationwide. This presentation, as well as the archived webinar, will be available online. I also received a call that week from the U.S. Department of State asking if I would be part of a U.S. Embassy speakers’ program later this year. The embassy wants to help policymakers, employers and practitioners in a faraway country understand the role of technical education in preparing youth for employment. I’m in discussion with the Department of State. It’s nice to be asked.

Highlights

  • We received some nice quotes from students who were in the USA Science & Engineering Festival booth in April including this one from Laura Gouillon, SkillsUSA national high school vice president: “I am honored to have been able to give a presentation on the MikeRoweWorks Pavilion stage about how Varsity STEM, CTE, and SkillsUSA are revolutionizing the way students enter the workforce and prepare for their future careers . . . And, it was such an amazing feeling to teach individuals how 3D printers work and how our SkillsUSA members in classrooms across the country are applying our technical STEM and CTE skills through the use of such modern equipment.”
  • On May 15, Tom Holdsworth and I had a conference call with Hillary Wells, an executive producer at WGBH, the PBS Boston affiliate that produces two-thirds of PBS programming. Hillary attended the Massachusetts Leadership and Skills Conference with me earlier this month. She’s interested in many aspects of SkillsUSA including corporate support, the Championships and how it helps connect students with jobs and our membership, particularly at the high school and middle school levels. Hillary and two of her colleagues will be attending the national conference in Kansas City. She says she sees many areas for cooperation on projects and promotion. More to come.
  • Thea Phalon, the new executive director of the Pennsylvania SkillsUSA Council for Lehigh Valley, came to the national center for a visit and orientation on May 19. She met with staff during a reception first thing in the morning and then individually with department directors through lunch. She called the visit both “exhilarating and productive.” We feel the same about her.
  • On May 23, Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus sent a letter to President Obama urging him to establish a Presidential CTE Scholars Award program to recognize and value the efforts of American students who have chosen a CTE pathway. The U.S. Presidential Scholars program is 50 years old and was created by President Johnson to honor graduating high school seniors for academic excellence, artistic accomplishments and civic contributions. In the letter, the senators state: “It is our national interest to not only provide all students access to rigorous CTE programs of study, but to also encourage high attainment by CTE students.” They go on to cite successes of CTE including graduation rates “And, CTE students are competing in world class competitions to test their knowledge in ways no standardized test could.” Their sole example was the SkillsUSA WorldTeam earning a silver medal in Leipzig, Germany. On June 3, I sent an email as a constituent to Sen. Kaine thanking him for proposing the award program and telling him I’d welcome the opportunity to talk about our WorldTeam and SkillsUSA.
  • On May 27, I attended a reception for the National Research Center for College and University Admissions in Washington D.C. It was a great networking opportunity with people attending from the National Science Foundation, STEM Connector and several nonprofit organizations. The reception was hosted by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. I persuaded several people attending the reception to join us in Kansas City for the conference.
  • Massachusetts State Association Director Karen Ward was with us here at the National Leadership Center early in June to meet with Kim Graham and Steve Lake in the Administration and Finance office. They reviewed the state association financial system and looked into ways the state could align its reporting with national reporting.
  • Kim Graham is pleased to announce that all of the national office computers have been replaced and files transferred. It’s been a lot of work and Kim’s done a fabulous job.
  • Congratulations to Business Partnerships and Development team members Christen Battaglia and Carol Lowery for securing $20,000 in ad sales for the 50th Anniversary NLSC Awards and Recognition Book. And thank you, TECHSPO partners and corporate sponsors, for your support!
  • The boxes are piling up, there are multiple meetings in offices among the staff and outside calls buzzing as we prepare for the SkillsUSA 50th National Leadership and Skills Conference. The first national staff members will set up the base of operations in Kansas City on June 14. I’ll be joining them on the 19th and activities really get underway with the national officers on the 20th. It’s going to be great!
  • National conference registration will set a new record again this year. We currently have 10,207 registrants. Last year’s registration — which was also record breaking — was 10,000. And, 6,084 contestants are registered to compete.
  • Gayle Silvey is looking for volunteers to assist with Leverage training on Monday, June 23, from 10:45 a.m – noon at the national conference. Leverage helps students learn how to make proper business introductions and engage in meaningful casual conversations. Volunteers from business and industry engage participating students in conversation to provide real-life experience and help student practice what they’ve learned. Gayle can be reached at gsilvey@skillsusa.org if you and a colleague or two can help.
  • Marsha Daves reports that we have 28 national officer candidates this year.
  • And, if you’d like a smile and a really quick look at how exciting SkillsUSA is to students, just read a few of these tweets at https://twitter.com/hashtag/skillsusa?src=hash.

That’s it for now. We look forward to seeing many of you in Kansas City. There will be

Activate, Engage and Leverage Training

April 11th, 2014
Activate – for Chapter Student Leaders
Activate will be held June 21–23, 2014, in Bartle Hall of the Kansas City Convention Center, Kansas City, Mo. The cost is $135 per participant.
Activate is a ground-breaking, two-and-a-half-day leadership conference that will help SkillsUSA members find their “start button” through action-oriented, high-energy and motivational programming. Activate is open to all SkillsUSA members.
During the course of the conference, chapter leaders will discover how to ignite the leader in them and how to maximize their potential. Participants will spend time learning what motivates them and how to motivate others. They will take a look at what it means to present a positive image — and the effects that image can have not only on themselves, but also on their school, SkillsUSA and career and technical education. Students will complete the course feeling empowered with the necessary tools for success. Visit: skillsusa-register.org to register for Activate.
Engage – for Chapter Advisors
Engage will be held June 21–23, 2014, in Bartle Hall of the Kansas City Convention Center, Kansas City, Mo. The cost is $135 per participant.
Engage is the teacher training program from SkillsUSA that empowers teachers to grow their chapters. This two-and-one-half-day professional development training conference is designed to help teachers better understand and use the many leadership development materials and interactive resources available through SkillsUSA.
Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate, will present a high-energy, interactive and entertaining experience that will leave attendees inspired, motivated and with the practical skills to dramatically increase student engagement.
Engage will focus on new educational resources being launched by SkillsUSA at its national conference. Participants will unpack the new resources and share best practices on how to implement these tools for the greatest impact in their chapters. Teachers participating in Engage will receive a set of all the new resources as a part of the training. Visit: skillsusa-register.org  to register for Engage.
Leverage – for State Officers
Leverage is an intensive, two-and-a-half-day leadership experience open to high school and college/postsecondary state officers. It provides state officers with high-energy, motivational training that focuses on servant leadership. Officers will learn in a way that’s fun and unique to the SkillsUSA experience.
SkillsUSA’s state officers are the front-line leaders and managers within the organization. They are responsible for state association activities, recruitment, student development and peer-to-peer communication. Within this role, officers support both individual growth and the growth of the organization. An effective officer embraces personal accountability, accepts a higher level of responsibility, and seeks to create valuable experiences for members at the local level.
All three trainings will take place June 21-23, 2014 in Bartle Hall of the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo. and the cost is $135 per participant.  For complete details visit:  www.skillsusa.org/events/training.shtml.

Applications Now Available for Activate and Leverage Facilitators

October 15th, 2013

Know someone who enjoys working with student leaders and would make a great facilitator for Activate or Leverage? Applications are now being accepted for 2014 Activate and Leverage facilitators. Application and full details can be found at https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/s7x1a3/. Deadline to apply has been extended to October 28.

To learn more about this fabulous opportunity, please email Kelly Horton at khorton@skillsusa.org.

Engage Training for Chapter Advisors, Activate Training for Chapter Leaders and Engage Training for State Officers

April 15th, 2013

Activate TrainingEngage for Teachers

Engage is the two-and-a-half-day teacher training program from SkillsUSA that empowers teachers to grow their SkillsUSA chapters by using the latest information and tools in employability, leadership development and teaching strategies. The program is taught by experts within youth leadership development such as Dr. Tim Elmore. Dr. Elmore will lead participants to discover their vision for Career and Technical Education as it relates to their classroom.

Advisors will dive deep into the world of chapter operations and discover how to use chapter activities as classroom teaching tools. Answers on how to successfully engage students in chapter meetings, committees, recruitment, fundraising, public relations and the entire program of work will be revealed. Teachers will gain the latest techniques involved in giving clear directions, questions, processing and accessing student achievement.

Engage will focus on new educational resources being launched by SkillsUSA at the National Leadership and Skills Conference. Teachers participating in Engage will receive a set of all the new resources as a part of the training.

Activate for Students

SkillsUSA is all about encouraging students to assume leadership roles and to take action, whether at school, at home, or in their communities. SkillsUSA students serve as role models and on teams that get things done.

This three-day leadership conference will help SkillsUSA members find their “start button” through action-oriented, high-energy and motivational programming. Activate is open to all SkillsUSA members.

Participants will be led through a series of self-discovery, hands-on training which will include the following topics: values and character; maximizing strengths and talents; goal-setting; time management; responsibility and self-discipline; image projection; leadership characteristics; leading without a title; teamwork; building trust; conflict resolution; respecting others; communication; serving others and planning a service project. Students will complete the course feeling empowered with the necessary tools for success.

Leverage for State Officers

Leverage will provide officers with high-energy and motivational training that focuses on servant leadership. State officers will be learning in a way that is fun and unique to the SkillsUSA experience. Participation in the training will not only develop and hone the state officers’ own leadership knowledge and skills, but they also will learn how to teach those leadership strategies to the state members that they serve.

State officer teams are important to the success of the organization. What the officers do and how they do it can have a significant impact – not only on the image and essence of SkillsUSA, but also on career and technical education (CTE) in general. While being elected to a leadership position is a worthy accomplishment, it comes with a set of responsibilities. And for the state officer’s own growth and development, it also presents many opportunities that will last a lifetime.

All three trainings will be held June 22-24 in Bartle Hall in Kansas City, Missouri and the cost is $135.00 per participant. Visit: www.skillsusa.org/events/engage.shtml and/or www.skillsusa.org/events/activate.shtml for full details.

Leverage, Activate and Engage Conference

May 12th, 2012

Don’t forget to register for Leverage, Activate and Engage conferences (formerly known as SkillsUSA Officer Training 101/201 and Advisor Training) by the June 1 deadline. Leverage is for state officers, Activate for chapter leaders and Engage is for advisors. Also, an exciting new element of the conferences is Dr. Tim Elmore, president of Growing Leaders, who will kick-off Leverage and Activate and facilitate a three-and-a-half-hour workshop with SkillsUSA advisors. Engage participants will attend the workshop as a part of their registration fee and others can attend for a $25 fee. Find out more about these conferences and register to attend: www.skillsusa.org/events/training.shtml.


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