- Membership continues to run ahead of last year. We have 269,915 members entered now. That’s 715 more than this date last year. More states have surpassed their total membership last year. Congratulations to the following state associations for exceeding last year’s overall membership. They are California, Clay Mitchell; Connecticut, Heidi Balch; Hawaii, Gilbert Chun; Massachusetts, Karen Ward; Mississippi, Andy Sims; New Jersey, Pete Carey; New York high school division, Bruce Potter; Oklahoma, Darren Gibson; Pennsylvania, Jeri Widdowson; Rhode Island, Josh Klemp; and, Virginia, David Rathbone. And, a reminder that professional membership and alumni memberships also count. Individuals such as yourself, industry partners and other friends not affiliated with a local chapter can join, too, online at the following link: www.skills-register.org/rpts/JoinAsProfessional.aspx
- On January 21, I was in Henderson, Nev., at a brand new state-of-the art technical center to do strategic planning with the Nevada board of directors and Mike Pointer. They put together a two-year plan and a copy has gone to Mike Raponi, past SkillsUSA state association director and now state CTE director.
- I recently met with Tim Zilke, CEO of ASE. Mr. Zilke invited in the local expert on nonprofit management and human resource management ASE uses and he’s agreed to review our SkillsUSA succession plan.
- On January 4, I traveled to the offices of the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, D.C. to meet with Vince Bertram, the new executive director of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), and with the executive director and staff from the Technology Student Association (TSA). Vince is interested in revitalizing the Engineering Alliance (EA), the online joint venture between TSA and SkillsUSA for students in PLTW. He said he likes the concept for leadership and competitive events, and he wants us to prepare a proposal to seek a sustained commitment to EA.
- On January 5, I met with executives from Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to rehabilitating housing in poor communities. Every year, they hold what they call “Big Builds” and some involve well-known personalities and big events. (They’re even tied into the Super Bowl this year.) Americorps is also involved. Their proposal is that we initiate a pilot project pairing 10 of our best chapters with 10 of their best affiliates to work on community service projects together. We’ll be reaching out to select state directors to pair local chapters with the strong affiliates that Rebuilding Together identifies as the preferred pilot sites. This initiative certainly helps SkillsUSA meet the request in recent student polls to make available more local service opportunities. Representatives from Rebuilding Together will attend our national conference, have an exhibit booth and make a SkillsUSA University presentation.
- Congratulations to the following state associations for exceeding last year’s overall membership. They are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing more states as they exceed last year’s overall numbers. A reminder – professional membership and alumni membership counts. Individuals like industry partners and other friends not affiliated with a local chapter can join too online at the following link: www.skills-register.org/rpts/JoinAsProfessional.aspx.
- SkillsUSA high school and postsecondary membership as of December 27 was up 6,028 over the same date last year at 188,535 members.
- Staff and I went into Washington on December 7 to meet with executives from Rebuild Together, a non-profit organization that remodels homes for families and communities in need. Another meeting is scheduled for January 5 to see how we can connect their local affiliates and our chapters.
- Staff members were in Kansas City during the first week of December to work on planning the 24-hour disappearing act for the 2012 SkillsUSA Championships with the Teamsters and others. It normally takes SkillsUSA 48 hours to move out of Bartle Hall but, because the Hall is needed for the Baseball Hall of Fame event, we’ll only have half that time in June. It is a challenge.
- The staff had its holiday celebration luncheon on December 9. It was like Thanksgiving all over again. It was a fun day.
- We’re looking forward to a great 2012. Thank you for your leadership and all that you do through SkillsUSA to change lives throughout the year. Happy New Year!
When they register at least 20 student members plus one or more professionals by November 15, 2011, advisors will receive a free copy of Leveraging Your Leadership through Effective Chapter Meetings. This brand new resource from the SkillsUSA Educational Resources Catalog discusses how to improve attendance at meetings, ideas for large or small chapter meeting programs, the basics around developing an agenda and meeting room set-up, plus the value behind holding meetings. This tool is ideal to assist in preparing chapter officers to truly lead chapter meetings (value: $15).
Also, instructors who submit a roster with 100-percent membership plus one or more professionals will also receive a SkillsUSA Program of Work calendar (value: $5.95).
Remember, the membership roster must be submitted online or postmarked by November 15th to receive these free items.
The 2011-12 SkillsUSA membership kits have been mailed to all chapters that affiliated with SkillsUSA last year. Extra kits will be mailed to all state offices soon. The kit includes enrollment instructions, programs, scholarship and recognition opportunities, membership cards, a recruitment poster, a SkillsUSA Creed poster, an affiliation sticker and fliers on the Work Force Ready System and new products. The kit also includes the 2012 SkillsUSA Championships overview flier. This year’s membership incentive is the book, “Leveraging Your Leadership through Effective Chapter Meetings,” for all chapters that register 20 or more students plus one professional, by the November 15 full services deadline.
- The final membership count is in. Regular membership totals 300,985 and alumni membership is 19,302 for a grand total of 320,287. The final membership report is being printed.
- And, I recently had the opportunity to appear on the radio program The Money Pit. It is a nationally syndicated, call-in radio show that helps listeners with their home repair and improvement problems. You can listen to a podcast of the interview here: http://www.skillsusa.org/blog/?p=1560. The Money Pit has consistently been named among “America’s 100 Most Important Radio Shows” by Talkers magazine. It’s been on the air for over ten years, and is now carried on over 260 radio affiliates across the nation, as well as on XM satellite radio. Each week, Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete take dozens of calls from listeners who ask about everything from pest problems to deck dilemmas. Their combined experience and expertise allow them to offer solutions to a wide range of problems immediately. If they aren’t sure how to help, which is rare, they can always point callers in the right direction.
- Membership has broken through to 300,483. That means when we add in alumni and other memberships, we’ll be over 320,000 for the year. In an economy that’s really hitting our schools, it’s something to celebrate.
- I attended the HVACR Instructor National Workshop in Landsdowne, Va. I was the featured speaker at the closing on March 25 and did both a legislative and SkillsUSA update.
- The Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers has just published a report called “Roadmap to Education Reform for Manufacturing.” Among its recommendations to overcome skilled worker and skill shortages: “Expand successful youth development programs . . . These programs must be replicated and brought to scale if we are going to reach the number of students necessary to reinvigorate manufacturing . . .” And, the first of the three listed organizations is SkillsUSA, and it is cited two more times as well. Thanks go to Emily DeRocco and Lynn Scheitrum of Air Products for making this happen. Here’s the link: http://institute.nam.org/view/The_Manufacturing_Institute_Releases_Roadmap_for_E/info
- Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of education, has requested that student organizations take students and teachers to Washington in May to hold a town hall-style meeting in her CTE Community Conversation series. She wants to hear from the students and then the teachers on career clusters and career pathways. SkillsUSA will be there.
- And, the YDF Capitol Hill visits on April 7 were a huge success. Meetings were scheduled with staff members from the Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Education Committee and with two of Senator Rockefeller’s aides on the Commerce Committee. We met with Brenda Dann-Messier and individual YDF members made constituent visit appointments. I’ll give a more detailed report next time.
- Membership now stands at 299,879 paid student and professional members and 30 states have now exceeded their membership last year. Memberships continue to come in slowly, and we now have 18,969 alumni members. . A reminder – professional and alumni memberships count; so, be sure to add yours as soon as possible and encourage others too. Here’s another reminder of the Web link that has simplified the process for individuals joining SkillsUSA as professional members (non-advisors/instructors): www.skillsusa-register.org/reports/JoinAsProfessional.aspx.
- On March 8, we received a “Sustainability Post-Occupancy Evaluation” (what we call an “energy audit”) on the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center conducted by Second Eden Studio. The draft report looks at eight areas including energy, carbon, water, and building materials. A nice feature of the audit is that suggestions for improvements are ranked in three categories: low or no cost, moderate cost and then the big one, investment. That’s language we understand. The final report is due June 2011.
- Nicholas Pinchuk of Snap-on was honored as the Business Leader of the Year by the Association of Career and Technical Education during the Policy and Planning Seminar on March 8. I was honored to attend, along with SkillsUSA Board Member, Greg Rintala of Snap-on.
- Staff spoke recently to trainers of the International Training Institute for union apprentices. She said of the 150 trainers in the audience, only 10 had ever heard of SkillsUSA; but, they thought they needed to know a lot more now.
- On March 16, I taped a radio interview with “The Money Pit” Home Improvement Media. It was broadcast on Sunday, March 20, and was nationally syndicated to 210 stations including WABC AM in New York City. I covered information on the need for skilled workers in construction and what it means for students to be career ready. The Money Pit connection came about through the CEO Champion of the Year program for John McGlade of Air Products last fall. Tom Kraeutler, president, was one of the invited news media guests for that event.
- It was reported to the staff on March 16 that we now have orders for 6,200 Skill Connect Assessments, double last year’s orders. She said three states have already ordered assessments for their state competitions and two more are to come.
- And, finally, we already have 60 SkillsUSA University presentations booked, and the Championships office has held six webinars with technical committees and national education team members to get ready for conference.
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.
The Alumni Coordinating Committee is sponsoring two alumni membership increase incentives for the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association at the state level for advisors. An advisor will have his or her name entered into a drawing for a $500 VISA Gift Card, one entry for every five alumni memberships submitted. To participate, advisors need to have graduating seniors or program completers join the Alumni & Friends Association online. Then, the advisor needs to e-mail Niki Clausen his/her name, school and a list of students who joined. Please contact Niki Clausen with questions about this program.