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ACTIVE ADVISOR NEWS: February 2014

February 1st, 2014

Update from Tim Lawrence

FY 15-16 Strategic Planning
Every year in January, SkillsUSA staff spends a week in strategic planning for the next fiscal year. Staff worked diligently developing the goals, objectives and tactics for the FY 15-16 strategic plan. During this process, we always take a look back as we move forward. Fiscal Year 2013 ended August 31 and there were so many superlatives that we can all be proud of.  Thank you all for making it such an amazing year for SkillsUSA. Here is a short video clip showing a few special moments from 2013:

Meeting of National Coordinating Council
I recently attended the bi-monthly meeting of the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO). Several very important reports were given.

The U.S. Department of Education has released a new Employability Skills Framework and made a presentation to the career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) regarding the content and dissemination strategy. We are very pleased that our employability skills curricula and assessments are in direct alignment with the new framework. The framework is also cross-walked to the Common Core Standards and Common Core Career Technical Standards.You can view the employability skills framework at: http://CTE.ed.gov/employabilityskills/.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and state CTE directors also announced good news regarding federal funding for CTE. An omnibus bill was released recently and $53 million was reinstated to the Perkins legislation. This is only $5 million short of the funding level prior to sequestration. SkillsUSA and the other CTSOs were commended for the advocacy work to make this funding reinstatement possible.

ACTE announced efforts to position CTE as key to STEM education. Again, this aligns perfectly with our strategy to position SkillsUSA in the same manner. And, we look forward to working with ACTE and other CTE associations in moving the STEM/CTE agenda forward.

There are also other advocacy opportunities on the horizon. On February 18, we will be sending a national student officer to Washington, D.C. to meet with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier. This will be a listening session called “Youth Voices” to gather student opinion on the U.S. Department of Education’s goals. And, the week of January 19-23, more than 50 students and advisors from SkillsUSA Ohio visited the U.S. Department of Education and provided their input to the new employability skills framework and other department initiatives.

And, finally, a letter has been sent to President Obama and signed by each CTSO national president, requesting an appointment during CTE Month in February. This proposed meeting will allow our student leaders to discuss the importance of CTE and the technical and academic knowledge they are gaining in their training programs, as well as the life skills gained through their student leadership organizations. We are hopeful this meeting will occur. We will also be announcing SkillsUSA Week during the second week of February (9th-15th).

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: www.workforcereadysystem.org/technical_areas.shtml.

Resources to prepare students for testing
SkillsUSA offers free resources to prepare students for testing. See what’s available at: www.workforcereadysystem.org/resources.shtml. New Teacher Preparation Guides are an excellent resource and can be found at: www.workforcereadysystem.org/guides.shtml. Currently, we have 21 guides available for various assessments. We plan to have the final 12 available in the near future!

If you have used one of our guides, please take a short survey to help us determine content for future guides and periodical updates. Provide feedback at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/TeacherPrepGuides.

To order Skill Connect Assessments, go to http://www.workforcereadysystem.org.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.

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: www.workforcereadysystem.org/testing.shtml.  Also see our training webinar “”Assessment Ordering and Management Tools” to learn how to access the full line of reports available.

Training Webinars Available
Training webinars on our assessments were held in January and another one is scheduled for March. View the archived webinars for topics; “Teacher Tips for Student Success” and “Meeting Industry Demands” or join us in March for the live webinar “Assessment Ordering and Management Tools”. For a complete schedule and to view the archived webinars go to: www.workforcereadysystem.org/webinars.shtml.

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

CTE Month and SkillsUSA Week Events and Activities
February is Career and Technical Education Month and February 9-15 is SkillsUSA Week. SkillsUSA Week activities are a great way to highlight the good work your state association and local chapters are doing. For SkillsUSA Week ideas, see the chapter management section on the SkillsUSA website. SkillsUSA offers downloadable public service announcements at: www.skillsusa.org/educators/skillsusaweek.shtml.

SkillsUSA is also launching a video competition during SkillsUSA Week for members to showcase their skills. Here is their opportunity to tell the story that CTE programs are preparing students for the 21st Century. Entries should be between 2-3 minutes in length and uploaded to YouTube by May 1, 2014. For details, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/skillsusaweekvid.shtml. If you have questions, email Stephanie Bland at sbland@skillsusa.org.

2014 Lowe’s Grant Winners
The focus for this year’s Lowe’s grant program was to identify schools, classrooms or students who have a basic need to improve the quality of the students’ educational experience. The grant winners have been selected. There were 21 winners and a total of $352,643 grant dollars given. Congratulations go to the following schools:

Arkansas – Dumas New Tech High School; Arizona – Kofa High School; California – Hanford West High School and Weber Technical Institute; Colorado – Woodland Park High School; Florida – Lake Technical Center and Washington-Holmes Technical Center; Georgia – Lanier Charter Career Academy; Illinois – Waubonsie Valley High School; Indiana – Area 31 Career Center; Kentucky – Kentucky Tech-Floyd County Area Technology Center and Millard Area Technology Center; Maine – Tri-County Technical Center; Mississippi – Prentiss County Vocational Technical School; Montana – Dodson Public School; Nebraska – Bryan Senior High; Ohio – Collins Career Center; Oregon – Logos Public Charter School; Pennsylvania – Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center (EWCTC) and Lawrence County Career and Technology Center; and, West Virginia – Mercer County Technical Education Center.

Competition Central
The SkillsUSA Store is here to help your students look their best this conference season. Visit our “Competition Central” section at: www.skillsusastore.org/skillsusa/welcome.asp today to find the full line of SkillsUSA work uniforms, official blazers and wind jackets, along with everything else they need to succeed. And, please reference the official competition uniform chart for photos and descriptions of the uniform components needed for each competition.

Collision Repair Education Foundation Scholarship and Grant Opportunities
High school and college/postsecondary collision repair technology and automotive refinishing students attending career and technical schools and colleges have the opportunity to apply for the over $200,000 in available scholarships and tool grants available through the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and the organization’s industry supporters.  For more information about the scholarship and grants available, go to www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org.

ACTE National Policy Seminar: March 3-5, 2014
Registration is open for the 2014 ACTE National Policy Seminar (NPS). This year, NPS will feature the latest information from Capitol Hill staff and Members of Congress on the reauthorization of Perkins, as well as ongoing reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Higher Education Act and Workforce Investment Act. For more information, go to: www.acteonline.org.

2014 SkillsUSA University
We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topics to present at the 2014 SkillsUSA University. This year SkillsUSA University is sponsored by 3M. All sessions will take place at the Downtown Marriott Hotel or the Kansas City Convention Center on June 25, 26 and 27.

We ask instructors who would like to present to send emails with proposed topics to Niki Clausen at nclausen@skillsusa.org.

Possible topics: local chapter activities; fundraising; community service; SkillsUSA Program of Work success stories; business etiquette; communication skills for students; local industry partnerships, etc. These can be best practices (with a local advisor presenting) or an expert in the subject area. If you do not want to present, but you have suggestions for workshop topics, please feel free to forward them to us.

The deadline for proposals is February 28. For more information and a Request for Proposal (RFP), go to: www.skillsusa.org/events/skillsuniv.shtml.

National Youth Safety Video Contest Reminder
CareerSafe, Safety Education for America’s Future, is sponsoring the 2013-2014 National Youth Safety Video Contest. Students across the country are challenged to create a two-minute video demonstrating safety in the workplace. The contest kicked off on October 15, and all submissions should be sent into CareerSafe by March 1, 2014. The winning students will receive a SkillsUSA Prize Pack as well as a scholarship up to $2,500, and the winning school will receive a prize up to $5,000. For more information on the contest, please visit the CareerSafe website at: www.careersafeonline.com.

Lowe’s Grants Reminder

October 15th, 2013

Lowe’s continues a fifth year of generosity with another round of SkillsUSA grants in 2014. Two grant opportunities are available.

The Schools In Need Grant program is to identify schools, classrooms or instructors who have a very basic need to improve the quality of students’ educational experience. Grants will be awarded ranging from $2,500 to $25,000. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2013.

CareerSafe Grants will be awarded to schools in the form of vouchers that allow students to take an online assessment and earn their OSHA 10-hour Construction or General Industry safety credential. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2013. Vouchers will be awarded in January 2014.

Grant information and applications are available here. For questions, call Carol Lowery, Lowe’s Grant Manager at 641-456-4515 or 641-512-0504.

Lowe’s Grants Reminder

September 27th, 2013

Lowe’s continues a fifth year of generosity with another round of SkillsUSA grants in 2014. Two grant opportunities are available.

The Schools In Need Grant program is to identify schools, classrooms or instructors who have a very basic need to improve the quality of students’ educational experience. Grants will be awarded ranging from $2,500 to $25,000. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2013.

Grant applications should detail the need for classroom improvements, upgrading or providing tangible tools for learning technical skills, leadership development opportunities, or providing competition clothing that will enable students to compete at SkillsUSA events. In addition, those applicants who can outline their plan to “pay it forward” by planning and implementing a project or event that will allow them to use the tools or skills obtained due to receiving the grant dollars will stand a greater chance of receiving funding. The best projects will detail how the outcome will provide a life-changing experience for the beneficiaries of the grant dollars. Grant recipients will be announced and funds awarded in January 2014.

CareerSafe Grants will be awarded to schools in the form of vouchers that allow students to take an online assessment and earn their OSHA 10-hour Construction or General Industry safety credential. Vouchers will be awarded based on SkillsUSA membership and use of vouchers in previous years. New applications will receive priority over schools applying for consecutive years; however, all are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2013. Vouchers will be awarded in January 2014.

 Grant information and applications are available here. For questions, call Carol Lowery, Lowe’s Grant Manager at 641-456-4515 or 641-512-0504.

2013 Lowe’s Grant Reminder

October 15th, 2012

Lowe’s continues a fourth year of generosity with another round of SkillsUSA grants in 2013. The focus for this year’s Lowe’s grant program is to identify schools, classrooms or students who have a very basic need to improve the quality of the students’ educational experience. Grants will be awarded ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

Grant applications will detail the need for classroom improvements, upgrading or providing tangible tools for learning technical skills, leadership development opportunities, or providing competition clothing that will enable students to compete at SkillsUSA events. In addition, those applicants who can outline their plan to “pay it forward” by planning and implementing a project or event that will allow them to use the tools or skills obtained due to receiving the grant dollars, will stand a greater chance of receiving funding. The best projects will detail how the outcome will provide a life-changing experience for the beneficiaries of the grant dollars. Grant applications are available at: www.skillsusa.org/educators/lowes.shtml.

Lowe’s Grant Webinars

September 28th, 2012

SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a continuing partnership with Lowe’s for 2013. As part of its overall grant to SkillsUSA, Lowe’s will award grants to local chapters of up to $25,000 each to support classroom improvements, upgrade or provide tangible tools for learning technical skills, support leadership development opportunities, or provide for competition clothing that will give students the opportunity to compete at SkillsUSA events that would otherwise be unattainable. In support of chapters applying for grants, a series of webinars will be held to help chapters through the grant application process.

There will be two webinars held on October 2 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and the webinar information is now online at: www.skillsusa.org/educators/loweswebinars.shtml. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2012.

Lowe’s Grant Webinars

September 14th, 2012

SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a continuing partnership with Lowe’s for 2013. As part of its overall grant to SkillsUSA, Lowe’s will award grants to local chapters of up to $25,000 each to support classroom improvements, upgrade or provide tangible tools for learning technical skills, support leadership development opportunities, or provide for competition clothing that will give students the opportunity to compete at SkillsUSA events that would otherwise be unattainable. In support of chapters applying for grants, a series of webinars will be held to help chapters through the grant application process. Get the details here: www.skillsusa.org/educators/loweswebinars.shtml. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2012.

Visits in North Carolina

April 1st, 2012

After attending an address by President Obama on March 7 in Mt. Holly, N.C., I was back in North Carolina on March 13 in Charlotte for meetings at Lowe’s. I had an hour-long meeting with new board member, Troy Dally. He agreed to serve on the governance committee.

While there, staff and I met with Joan Higginbotham, our new YDF member from Lowe’s and her community relations team. Their PR group attended briefly. This is an entirely new team at Lowe’s, so there were lots of questions about the Lowe’s grants. We also discussed Vision 2020 and how closely SkillsUSA aligns with their business. Joan told me SkillsUSA is in Lowe’s vision for future community relations/giving programs.

Lowe’s Community Improvement and Community Rebuilding Grants

October 14th, 2011

SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a continuing partnership with Lowe’s for 2012. As part of their overall grant to SkillsUSA, Lowe’s will be awarding grants to local chapters of up to $25,000 each for Community Improvement and Community Rebuilding Grants implemented in 2012.

The Community Improvement: Champions Serving Others grant category is for those schools that are proposing a project that will focus on benefiting their local community or school. In choosing grant winners for the upcoming year, projects that focus on a local need vs. want will stand a greater chance of receiving funding. For this category, a maximum of $10,000 per grant winner will be awarded.

The Community Rebuilding: Reaching Out and Partnering grant category brings grant project opportunities to a new level in both funding and building leadership skills! Proposed projects in this category will combine the efforts of two SkillsUSA Chapters partnering and reaching out to a community or school that has been drastically affected by a natural disaster. One of the partnering chapters may be the beneficiary of the project. The maximum grant in this category will be $25,000. Community Rebuilding grant winners will be highlighted on stage at the 2012 NLSC closing ceremony with a video/photo presentation of their project.

Lowe’s will be reviewing the top applications, as submitted by a SkillsUSA staff committee, and selecting the chapters to receive the funding. Grant applications must be submitted by November 1, 2011. Notification of successful applicants will be in January of 2012. Projects may be implemented during the spring or fall semesters in 2012 and must be completed by November 30, 2012.

In addition, CareerSafe Online training vouchers to promote safety among technical students will again be available in 2012.

If you have questions on the grant program, please contact Lowe’s grants manager, Carol Lowery, at 641-512-0504 or 641-456-4515 or clowery@skillsusa.org.

For more information and to reach the application, go to the following: www.skillsusa.org/educators/lowes.shtml.

Advisor Training in Caroline County, Va.

September 15th, 2011

On August 25, I was back doing teacher training at the school level again. It brought back great memories of my days as a state association director. The Education, Training and Assessments Department was already totally committed and on the road doing other training, so staff and I conducted training sessions for a group of 14 high school and middle school teachers, including two administrators at Caroline High School in Va. We covered topics from the Chapter Management Institute including the program of work and officer elections. But there were new things too, such as CareerSafe, Lowe’s grants and all the new items we have online and available for members this year, such as “Five Simple Steps to Start a SkillsUSA Chapter.” SkillsUSA never stands still.

Lowe’s Grant Webinars

September 14th, 2011

SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a continuing partnership with Lowe’s for 2012. As part of their overall grant to SkillsUSA, Lowe’s will be awarding grants to local chapters of up to $25,000 each for Community Improvement and Community Rebuilding Grants to be implemented in 2012. New this year, in support of chapters applying for grants, a series of webinars will be held to help chapters through the grant application process.

Get the details here: www.skillsusa.org/educators/loweswebinars.shtml


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