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April 1st, 2011
  • 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):
  • 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.


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.

Alumni Membership Increase Incentives Program

March 1st, 2011

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.


February 15th, 2011

Membership as of Friday was 269,044 and that’s exceeding the previous year same day total by 15,960. We have just about two weeks until the membership deadline, and we’re cautiously optimistic.

We added a new corporate partner. Blaklader-North America has come on board as an unrestricted sponsor for the SkillsUSA Championships.

The 2011 Lowe’s SkillsUSA Grants have been announced. Schools and colleges received Community Service Grants in 12 states and Campus Improvement Grants in 16 states. The list can be found at: 2011.

Two representatives from Project Lead the Way (PLTW) came to the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center to visit recently. Rosanne White and Sandy Honour of TSA (Technology Student Association) joined us. The discussion was around a new online portfolio program developed by PLTW to encourage student innovation for pre-engineering students. It’s supported by a grant from the Kern Family Foundation and is tied in with the Small Business Administration. They also pledged continued financial support for Engineering Alliance Web updates this year.

We’re working on the strategy for the April Youth Development Foundation Committee meeting visits in Washington, D.C. We know the committee will have great things to say about career and technical education and SkillsUSA.


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.


January 15th, 2011
  • Membership as of January 13th stands at more than 202,944 or more than 13,268 over our membership on this date last year.
  • Speaking of membership, the Membership Mega Prize program is gaining sponsorships including the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, N.E.W. Customer Service, Klein Tools, Kobalt Tools and IRWIN tools. For information on the drive to increase our membership through incentives, please go to
  • The report on the State Farm grant is complete, and staff did an extensive job recently reviewing Lowe’s applications for campus improvement and community service grants. To view it online, go to
  • This year’s national staff charitable donation was to benefit the 27-year old son of a cosmetology teacher at C.S. Monroe Technology Center in Leesburg. The young man has a family, lost his job and his health benefits and is being treated for cancer. The national staff was extremely generous and the donation was genuinely appreciated. A lot of students at the school are also working to raise money for the same cause.
  • Bruce Potter’s official last day with the national staff was Tuesday, December 28 and he has moved on to begin his new job as high school state association director for New York state. We wish him all the best.
  • National staff worked through strategic planning this week. It was our 11th Week of Excitement. We took some different approaches this year, beginning with Vision 2020 and the big picture, and then wrote some macro objectives to which we wrote department strategies, tactics and business plans. It was very exciting. We’ll be making our first report on new objectives to the state association director association officers at the end

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