March 1st, 2012
We just finished CTE Month and we had a lot going on here at SkillsUSA. That includes social media activity during SkillsUSA Week, a new board member, a new staff member and a shout out from the Assistant Secretary of Labor. So, here are some of the highlights during this shortest month of the year.
- As part of our SkillsUSA Week celebration, February 6-10, we experimented using advertising on Facebook by posting the SkillsUSA public service announcement (PSA) featuring alumna and NASCAR reporter, Wendy Venturini. The ad ran from February 9-12. The campaign reached over 420,000 unique viewers and yielded nearly one million impressions. To view the PSA, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/psa.shtml and scroll down to the video window of Wendy. We used the 60-second version.
- Also during SkillsUSA Week, we heard about lots of activity from around the country as our chapters and state associations were engaged in advocacy and service activities. We were happy to have approximately 100 attendees on our SkillsUSA Week webinar on Tuesday, February 7 and pleased by the special guests, Russ Hoffbauer, both student national presidents and one of our business partners, former board member (and SkillsUSA alumnus), John Hinesley, who gave the keynote speech.
- I’m pleased to announce that Lowe’s Senior Vice President, Troy Dally, will be joining the board of directors. And, last week, I had my first phone conversation with the new Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation director, and she sounded excited about the partnership with SkillsUSA.
- Chance Litwin, this year’s SkillsUSA college/postsecondary national student president has been invited to attend the 2012 Building a Grad Nation Summit in Washington, D.C., March 18-21. The annual event brings together community groups, educators, local and state leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses and youth to discuss efforts to increase high school graduation rates. The Summit is expected to draw 1,000 people including General Colin Powell and U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Chance was chosen from over 200 student applicants. State Farm is a Premier Sponsor for the Summit.
- On February 21, Christen Battaglia joined the Office of Business Partnerships and Development to help with our fundraising. We’re very glad to have her with us and know you’ll give her a hearty welcome when you meet her.
- Here is the latest on SkillsUSA membership. Remember, tomorrow (March 1), is the deadline for not only competitors, but officer candidates and delegates as well. We have 296,490 members entered now and 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; Maryland, Chuck Wallace; Massachusetts, Karen Ward; Mississippi, Andy Sims; New Hampshire, Lynda Demers; New Jersey, Pete Carey; New York high school division, Bruce Potter; Oklahoma, Darren Gibson; Pennsylvania, Jeri Widdowson; Rhode Island, Josh Klemp; Virginia, Ed Sullivan; and, West Virginia, Paul Lovett. And, a reminder that professional membership and alumni memberships count, so if you have staff, board members, corporate members or others (including yourself), be sure and submit them today. Individuals who are industry partners and other friends not affiliated with a local chapter can join online at the following link: www.skills-register.org/rpts/JoinAsProfessional.aspx.
- SkillsUSA Champions magazine won a silver award this year in the Association Trends All-Media Contest. Among the judge’s comments: “This submitted issue lives up to the mission statement with excellent and focused content and clean and easy-to-read design elements. This organization has a strong Web presence and a digital version to further enhance its commitment to members.” Congratulations to Tom Hall and the Office of Publications. If you would like to see the winners gallery (including honors to past SkillsUSA publications), please visit: www.associationtrends.com/gallery/?cat=261.
- Mike Cowles was in Washington on February 7 as part of a delegation from Columbus, Ohio to visit the White House to discuss metro economic revitalization and job creation and how the city can work with small and large businesses to do it. This was one of 40 similar meetings planned by the White House. The delegation included the mayor of Columbus. Mike joined them because of the role of career and technical education in economic development and education. He told me that at one point during the meeting he started to talk about SkillsUSA, and Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates said to the entire delegation: “SkillsUSA is a great organization. If you’re not involved with it already, you need to be.”
- We’re putting the final touches on a rigorous selection process for SkillsUSA WorldTeam and we’ll be keeping our state association directors informed right up front on the process and the candidates. We’ve also restructured the management team. I will be serving as the official delegate. Scott Norman from Pittsburg, Kan., is our technical expert. Dave Worden is our assistant technical expert and Heidi Ambrose is the team leader.
* The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) held a conference call the other day to ask the career and technical student organizations to help in the promotion and participation in the administration’s National Education Startup Challenge, an entrepreneurial look at education. SkillsUSA is happy to help. While on the subject of OVAE, President Obama’s 2013 budget flat-funds Perkins at $1.13 billion. One of the three key themes in the budget is “Jobs: aligning job training and education programs with workforce demands.”
* Sales of the Skill Connect Assessments are double what they were last year at this time and sales of ASE automotive assessments – in which SkillsUSA shares – are also way ahead of last year. We’ve been very fortunate to have an assessment expert helping us review the Skill Connect system, providing significant advice on how and where we can make improvements to the system and helping to develop a tool to show teachers the weighting of competencies in the tests. That will be a big help to teachers to prepare their students.
* Finally, there were 700 entries in the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) pin and T-shirt design contest. That’s pretty neat. And, we held our first NLSC staff meeting on Valentine’s Day.
February 29th, 2012
Do you know a student you think would make a good national leader? Has he or she wanted to run for a national SkillsUSA office but wasn’t sure how?
This webinar features experts who will provide an overview of the national officer candidate procedures and national officer responsibilities. You will also get to hear first-hand experience from a current national officer.
March 14, 2012, 1 p.m. EDT
Attendee code: 5692952
February 1st, 2012
Now is the time to identify national officer candidates for this June. We know there are a lot of great students who can represent the organization well, and we hope they will apply.
National officers receive top-notch training, travel opportunities and many networking experiences. Information for students and candidate forms are posted at: www.skillsusa.org/students/officerapp.shtml.
State association directors with questions can contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or by email at: email@example.com. The deadline for application submissions is June 1. If elected, the new national officers must attend training in Lansdowne, Va., July 19-27, 2012.
December 31st, 2011
We took the SkillsUSA Goodwill Tour to Cleveland on December 6 to visit two of our long-time corporate partners and with two new ones. The SkillsUSA national officers who handled much of the presentations were Diego Carvallo of Georgia, high school Region II vice president and Wade Persson of South Dakota, college/postsecondary parliamentarian. Each did a tremendous job of representing the organization. We were joined on all four visits by Mike Cowles, state association director of SkillsUSA Ohio.
First stop was at Thomas & Betts Corporation, a manufacturer of electrical equipment. The introduction to Thomas & Betts was made by Lincoln Electric. We met with seven executives including the director of HR and five regional HR managers. Our presentation for all four visits – prepared by Eric Gearhart – centered on how SkillsUSA addresses skilled workforce issues. By the end of the meeting, the director expressed interest in opening internships and hiring alumni. We’ve scheduled a presentation in January to meet with the corporation’s executive team at their headquarters in Tennessee.
Next stop was at Sherwin-Williams, a SkillsUSA partner for 15 years with four people on our automotive refinishing technology contest. This was a thank you visit for Sherwin-Williams’ continuing support. We met with managers in refinish and in marketing to discuss expansion of the partnership and support for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam in 2013.
The third visit was another big thank you for Lincoln Electric, a corporate partner for 31 years. Lincoln Electric not only supports our national welding contest, but 43 state association welding contests as well. Lincoln Electric is also a platinum sponsor of the WorldSkills Competition. We met with 50 executives in sales and marketing and with Chris Mapes, COO. Chris told the group: “Lincoln Electric has certain strategic partnerships. SkillsUSA is one of our most important.” Both Diego and Wade made masterful presentations and both were presented with brand new MIG welding machines to take back to their schools.
And, fourth, we met with Kenneth Henderson, principal at Dealer Tire and 12 of his senior executives. The introduction here came through Youth Development Foundation member Dave Camden of Toyota. The introduction was facilitated by the Champion of the Year dinner.
And, we did visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The students were thrilled. Cleveland Rocks!
October 7th, 2011
The SkillsUSA WorldTeam is finishing their third day of competition. The third day is usually the toughest as it begins the second half of very challenging and rigorous competitions. Our team is amazing and I am so proud of how they have represented SkillsUSA and the United States of America.
There are tough assignments benchmarked to international standards and our students are also encountering some equipment not usually seen in the USA. But each student is taking the challenge head on and performing well. Tomorrow will wrap up the final day and awards will be presented on Sunday evening.
Also today, National Treasurer Emad Madha and National Region I Vice President Elena Melekos made an excellent presentation to world leaders at the Global Skills Marketplace. They shared the SkillsUSA model of student leadership and also presented information on social networking. They were excellent.
If you’re an American, there’s a lot to be proud of in London today! Seeing our students’ technical and leadership skills demonstrated on this world stage reminds me of the importance of what we all do to fulfill the SkillsUSA mission: to help its members become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.
August 15th, 2011
The new team of national student officers was here for training from July 21-28 and what a great group of students this is. Each team is a perennial reminder of what SkillsUSA is really about: recognizing and nurturing the next generation of America’s leaders and champions. The week of training is a special time. We get to see individuals from diverse backgrounds as they learn about each other and about themselves while becoming a team with a common purpose: to represent their fellow students, SkillsUSA and CTE.
This year’s team looks as though it will be outstanding. To see the group photo of the officer team and their elected offices, please visit: www.skillsusa.org/students/officers.shtml.
July 31st, 2011
The new national officers have been trained and are ready for assignments. If you are interested in having a national officer visit your state, please contact Deb Tripp at 703-737-0637 or Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622. The newly elected officers for 2011-12 are:
High School Division
President: Victoria Holbert, Mass.
Vice President: Karmen Ayres, Wash.
Secretary: C.J. DeHart, Texas
Treasurer: Emad Madha, N.J.
Parliamentarian: Caleb Houston, Ohio
Region I Vice President: Elena Melekos, N.J.
Region II Vice President: Diego Carvallo, Ga.
Region III Vice President: Kathryn Berry, Ohio
Region IV Vice President: Marco Cavazos, Texas
Region V Vice President: Christi Durham, Idaho
President: Chance Litwin, Ala.
Vice President: Jeremy Ballentine, Tenn.
Secretary: Veronica Senkowski, Okla.
Treasurer: Stephen Allen, Ga.
Parliamentarian: Wade Persson, S.D.
September 15th, 2010
On August 30 and 31, we moved to some of the best corporate cultivation meetings SkillsUSA has ever held. YDF member and Lowe’s Companies representative, Kelly Persons arranged a “lunch and learn” meeting in Winston-Salem on August 30 where several area companies heard SkillsUSA presentations from national student officers Kendra Lisec (N.C.) and Janie Martinez (Texas). North Carolina state association directors Glenn Barefoot and Peyton Holland participated in both days’ meetings to seek support from the companies for SkillsUSA North Carolina.
On August 31, Kendra and Janie presented to 15 of Lowe’s vendor partners at the Lowe’s corporate campus in Mooresville. SkillsUSA and the students were introduced by Lowe’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Larry Stone. Lowe’s senior executives Robert Wagner (SkillsUSA board member) Bob Gfeller, Nick Cantor and David Vaughn all provided powerful testimony on why Lowe’s is involved with SkillsUSA. Our next step is to develop partnerships with these companies.
While in Mooresville, we also discussed the FY11 Lowe’s grant distribution, the 2011 NLSC and several new opportunities within our partnership. A big thank you to YDF member Kelly Persons for arranging both of these meetings and to the Lowe’s executives for being amazingly supportive of our mission and our students!
August 15th, 2010
We had a great time with the 15 national officers on July 22-29. Some of them said they didn’t want to go home because they were having such a good time here. There was lots of bonding and growth among the students. And, they’ve already left their mark on the National Leadership Center—they planted a dogwood tree in commemoration of their time here and the upcoming work of their team. Before the end of training, the officers elected Ariel Padilla (Texas) as the chair of the Joint Executive Council (JEC) and he will be the national officers’ representative to the board of directors. Loree Hayden (Ill.) was elected vice chair of the JEC representing college/postsecondary and Janie Martinez (Texas) was elected secretary of the JEC and is representing the high school division.
We’ll be testing their training soon. Two officers will be accompanying me on their first Goodwill Tour at the end of August when we go to Winston Salem, N.C. for a Lowe’s vendor luncheon. Also, Katie Grimnes (Wash.) and Ricky Jordan (Mass.) will be the officers speaking at Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon during the Washington Leadership Training Institute.