The final tally is in, and I’m proud to say SkillsUSA has had the privilege of serving 304,067 high school and postsecondary/college students and their instructors this year. That number is an increase of nearly 3,500 members over last year, the largest membership year on record for the organization. When we add in alumni membership, we have a grand total of 313,180 members for the 2009-2010 school year!
- The final membership report will be coming out today, and it looks like it will be above 304,000 and alumni membership is over 9,000. This is a remarkable year.
- Staff reports that orders and preview requests for the Skill Connect Assessments have been pouring in steadily this month and last. They say that previews result in orders. There’s interest in all of the assessments currently available. According to staff, orders are from across the country with some concentration on the eastern seaboard and the central states, but no particular pattern except “everywhere.” Staff also visited North Dakota recently to present to high school and college administrators. The college administrators were doubtful at first, but became very enthusiastic as the day progressed. The high school administrators were enthusiastic all along.
- Online news clippings from September through March have gone to all of the state associations for their use. Staff reports that most of the recent stories are about local and state conferences and competitions – of course – but there are also a lot of nice features including reports on State Farm grant projects such as an energy-independent portable classroom including photovoltaic solar panels and geothermal heating in Maryland.
- And, Engineering Alliance continues to pick up momentum. We’ve been getting questions on how to sign up entire school districts. That’s a nice challenge to have. Staff will be part of the Project Lead The Way train-the-trainer conference later this month.
- Membership is still coming in at a good rate. As of last Friday, February 25, we were at 285,304 and processing vigorously. This number puts us at 1,093 members ahead of last year’s same day total. All of the snow here in the area recently has caused us to close the office for three days and created a paper jam. Staff has been working to catch up with the backlog.
- I surveyed the state association directors on extending the national membership deadline by one week to March 8 in light of bad weather and school closings all over the country. Every director who replied (and it was a majority) said it was fine by him or her as long as it didn’t affect state deadlines; so, we’re good to go.
- Gerald Tylka, the corporate member from Pennsylvania, has agreed to stand as a candidate from Region I to replace Holly Harriel on SkillsUSA’s Board of Directors. Background information has been sent to the board and they have been asked to approve the appointment until the June conference.
- Fred Smith – a nationally recognized expert – conducted two excellent inclusion and diversity workshops with the entire staff on February 17. He seemed as impressed by SkillsUSA and its staff as he impressed us. One of the points he really highlighted, once he know more about the work of SkillsUSA, was the importance of inclusion to corporations and how corporate underwriting often hinges on exactly the kinds of things SkillsUSA is doing in communities across the country. Thanks go to Jackie Parker of Newell Rubbermaid for making Fred Smith’s visit to us possible.
- During the past several weeks, we’ve been speaking with one association and two businesses about licensing opportunities for the Skill Connect Assessments, the Professional Development Program and/or the Career Skills Education Program. They all appear to be good partnership opportunities that have potential to drive revenue opportunities for the work of SkillsUSA.
- Finally, in light of both Vision 2020 and our current budget, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve received over $44,000 worth of software from Microsoft to update all kinds of things from our operating system to our server and much more. SkillsUSA’s cost? That was $1,800. Thanks go to staff for knowing who to ask and when to ask that resulted in saving SkillsUSA over $42,000 and moving us into the 21st century at the same time.
Due to the severe weather this week, schools have been closed and the national office has been closed as well. Because of the resulting delays and rescheduling, National SkillsUSA will extend its membership deadline one week from March 1 to March 8. This is for the national deadline only. State deadlines remain as previously posted.
We want to encourage all state directors, chapter advisors, administrators or other adults who are involved with SkillsUSA to join as professional members. This will ensure that everyone who supports our program is counted as an official member and receives all mailings. Those not joining on school rosters and who want to join as professionals can go to www.skillsusa-register.org/reports/JoinAsProfessional.aspx.
The deadline for full membership service is November 16, 2009. This is the deadline to receive all four issues of SkillsUSA Champions magazine and the advisor incentives. Online registration is easier than ever due to system improvements, but call 800-355-8422 if you have questions. Remember, electronic membership is not complete until you hit the tab that says “Submit to National Office.” Go to www.skillsusa.org and click on “join.”
Register at least 20 student members plus one or more professionals by Nov. 16, 2009, and you will receive a free SkillsUSA DVD plus an 8.5×11 SkillsUSA logo podium sign. These materials allow instructors to showcase their SkillsUSA affiliation in a classroom or at special events (total value: $20.00).
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). Deadline: Your roster must be submitted online or postmarked by Nov. 16, 2009, to receive these free items!
The 2009-10 SkillsUSA membership kits have 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 (all on DVD), membership cards, a poster and a flier on the revised PDP program, a DVD on What is SkillsUSA?, as well as a brochure on the new Work Force Ready System. The kit also includes the 2010 SkillsUSA Championships overview flier. This year’s membership incentive is a SkillsUSA DVD plus an 8.5″ x 11″ SkillsUSA logo podium sign for all chapters that register 20 or more students plus one professional, by the November 16 full services deadline.
SkillsUSA is pleased to announce we have added the American Express card as a form of payment for any purchases with SkillsUSA. The American Express card can also be used for donations to our Youth Development Foundation.
I guess we know we’re doing something important with the Work Force Ready System if it seems every association wants to get involved. In the last several weeks, we’ve had meeting after meeting with trade association and industry groups that want to co-brand or be involved in some other way in our assessments.
We have survey results back from the Work Force Ready System demonstration booth at conference. Over 500 instructors came by and gave the assessments a test drive. Over 325 completed a survey after their experience, and we received some encouraging comments and some great statistics. Here’s just one: “Would you recommend purchasing this assessment over other product offerings you know of in the market? Of all respondents, 88 percent said yes, they would.