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August 1st, 2011
  • On July 21, I had dinner with our new student officer team. They were just beginning nine days of training at the National Conference Center in Ashburn, Va. This is a great group of students. They’re diverse, highly qualified and they’ve already got their hands around their leadership skills.
  • On the morning of July 18, I attended a meeting at The Manufacturing Institute of the partners in the Skills for America’s Future Program announced by President Obama in June. The meeting was hosted by YDF member, Emily DeRocco. We discussed a job-match service being provided by The White House to manufacturing and education to pull qualified workers into partnering manufacturing companies. We also started to develop our work plans and the quarterly reporting process. SkillsUSA will be working with Air Products to recruit students to manufacturing careers and to bring more partners to the process.
  • In the afternoon I met with Bradley Hull, deputy executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). Brad told me that NASBE had identified five organizations they want to work with on advocacy initiatives and SkillsUSA is one of them. His particular interest is in finding a common voice for the arts and career and technical education because we face some common challenges including being among the “first to get cut” when school budgets are tight. Our discussions will continue.
  • July 12-14, I was in Atlanta conducting SkillsUSA Georgia High School Division board training and strategic planning. State association director, Gayle Silvey, has a great board and together I believe they came up with a good plan with attainable goals. While there, I also attended the Georgia ACTE Conference and met with all of the Georgia construction teachers. SkillsUSA’s great friend, “Sonny” Cannon, was presented with the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award just prior to his retirement. Sonny leaves a legacy including business foundations to support CTE and the model of how to use our national conference as a VIP event to capture industry and policy maker attention.
  • The news coverage keeps coming in. We’ve now received a final report on news coverage in the greater-Kansas City area and we’re up to 85 stories. We were on the front page of the Kansas City Star twice. The “Money Pit” radio show (syndicated on 250 stations nationwide) aired on July 18 and featured interviews with John Gaal, former SkillsUSA board member from ACTE and the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis, two national student officers, Mike Rowe and me. To listen to the broadcast, go to this link.
  • Speaking of Mike Rowe, SkillsUSA is featured on the mikerowWORKS website with information on the scholarship winners from this year’s conference, and they’ve posted video streaming from the Collision Repair Technology contest area by Collisionhub. The host was Bob Medved of State Farm Insurance. To see the news and the videos, please go to: There’s also a video of Tina White of mikeroweWORKS. And, SkillsUSA also received a mention on the CNN Money/Fortune site in relation to The link here is:
  • As mentioned earlier, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium (NASDCTEc) has been working for nearly a year on a new brand for CTE. Mark Williams, our new board member from NASDCTEc, introduced the new brand during the Call to Action session in Kansas City. SkillsUSA has been helping on the communications advisory committee (Tom Holdsworth was recently a co-presenter with the president of the PR firm that developed the brand) and the state directors’ website has now been updated. The slogan is CTE: Learning that Works for America. Presentations, talking points and other supporting materials for the initiative can be found at under the tab “resources.”
  • The Association of Career and Technical Education released a paper on how career and technical education student organizations (CTSOs) expand career readiness for students. The July 6 ACTE news release says:  “National dialogue has escalated around the concepts of college and career readiness, but most of the focus has been on academic skills alone. Th[is] paper . . . concentrates on how elements of the CTE system support students’ academic, technical and employability skill development.” Among the bullet points: “Students who participate in CTSOs demonstrate higher levels of academic engagement and motivation, civic engagement, career self-efficacy, and employability skills than other students, and the more students participate in CTSO activities, the better the results.” The paper is available at: We’re pleased that the photo right up top is from the SkillsUSA conference this year.
  • Planning is already under way for the 2012 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. We held our post-conference meeting on the 19th and we’re pulling together the top-ten list for improvements. On the 21st, staff was in Richmond, Va. to meet with the design team for TeamWorks to create the state association-level contest and our championships director is pulling together all the information and data he’ll need to take to the state association directors at their meeting in August to determine official and demonstration contests for 2012.
  • And, finally, here’s a story from Springfield, Mo. about two Ozarks Technical Community College culinary students who were invited to cook for Sheryl Crow and her band along with her private chef just because they’d been in the SkillsUSA Championships. I just think that’s kind of neat. To view the story, go to|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE.

mikeroweWORKS Foundation Scholarship Winners

June 14th, 2011

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, in partnership with SkillsUSA, recently provided a new scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA members who placed first in their state association contests this year. Twenty $1,000 scholarships have been awarded to offset costs of travel and conference participation. Winners will also have the opportunity to attend a luncheon with a member of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation staff. The winners are:

  • Justin Holbrooks, Wood County Technical Center in Parkersburg, W.V.
  • Josie Colonna, Monmouth County Career Center in Freehold, N.J.
  • Brittany Belgarde, Helena High School in Helena, Mont.
  • Forrest Barker, Suwannee-Hamilton Tech. Center in Live Oak, Fla.
  • Carrick Ashworth, Sabin Schellenberg Center in Milwaukie, Ore.
  • Forrest Teague, Lawrence County Center of Technology in Moulton, Ala.
  • Luzbeth Rodriguez, Warwick Area Career and Technical Center in Warwick, R.I.
  • Forrest Smith, Warwick Area Career and Technical Center in Warwick, R.I.
  • Nina Palombo, Chariho Regional High School in Wood River Junction, R.I.
  • Kelli Green, Kamiah High School in Kamiah, Ore.
  • Pamela Roberts, Sullivan South High School in Kingsport, Tenn.
  • Heidi Smith, H. C. Wilcox Technical High School in Meriden, Conn.
  • Scott Eckensberger, Seminole Vocational Education Center in Seminole, Fla.
  • Drew Forrest, Spring Lake Park High School in Spring Lake Park, Minn.
  • Terri Haupt, Seminole Vocational Education Center in Seminole, Fla.
  • Bryanna Auverson, Lewiston Senior High School in Lewiston, Idaho
  • Monica Briner, Highland Community College Technical Center in Atchison, Kan.
  • Supansa Banker, Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Julian Ellison, Carver-Scott Educational Cooperative in Chaska, Minn.
  • Brian Murphy, Communications High School in Wall, N.J.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation Travel Scholarship

June 1st, 2011

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, in partnership with SkillsUSA, is announcing a new scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA members who have placed first in their state association contests this year. The scholarship is to provide support for state contest winners who have insufficient chapter, school or community resources to participate in the 2011 National SkillsUSA Championships.

Twenty $1,000 scholarships will be given away to offset costs of travel and conference participation. Winners will also have the opportunity to attend a luncheon with a member of The mikeroweWORKS Foundation staff.

Acceptance is based on a one-page narrative submitted by the student and a letter of support from the student’s advisor or state association director. Applications must be postmarked by June 3. Winners will be notified the following week.

For additional information and the application form, please link to

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