Yesterday, we had the great opportunity to attend President Obama’s address about American Energy at the Daimler Truck plant in Mt. Holly, N.C. Two students were in attendance with us along with SkillsUSA North Carolina officials and Joan Higginbotham from Lowe’s and Bill Willett from Snap-on.
President Obama speaks at the Daimler Truck plant.
Both the students actually met President Obama, shook his hand and got to say a few words. Chance Litwin, our student president for the college division, thanked the President for his support of community colleges and SkillsUSA. Chance attends Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Ala. Lance Atkinson, our state president in North Carolina, also met Obama and was able to thank him. Peyton Holland, our alumni liaison and college director in N.C., also got to shake the President’s hand. It was a good day!
From L-R: Glenn Barefoot, Chance Litwin, Joan Higginbotham, Lance Atkinson, Peyton Holland, Bill Willett and Tim Lawrence.
Special thanks to the American Association of Community Colleges for arranging the invitation for SkillsUSA.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The board of directors met on September 19. The board approved the August financials. It appears we will have a positive change in net assets and SkillsUSA will beat its budget for the ninth time in 10 years. The board also went to the Hill with the students and I heard from many people that the student and board member advocacy combination was very powerful.
Caleb Houston, high school division parliamentarian, and I made a presentation about SkillsUSA to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) on September 22 near Baltimore. The ACA is interested in finding effective partners and methods to recruit young people into apprenticeship. Our friends, Bob Baird of the Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc, Greg Chambers of Oberg Industries, Inc. and Steve Mandes of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, all recommended to the committee that involvement with SkillsUSA would be a good approach. I’m certain we’ll be hearing more from ACA.
Members of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam arrived in Leesburg on September 29, in preparation for the trip to London Friday evening. Before they left, we had some Washington visits for them. At 9 a.m., we were at The White House Conference Center for a meeting with the Office of Science and Technology Policy. At 10 a.m. we met with staff from the CTE Caucus in the Cannon House Office Building and some of the team members’ Senators and Representatives staff members. At 1 p.m. we met at the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education, and then, at 2 p.m. we went over on the Senate side to meet with staff from the Senate HELP Committee.
The competition has finished and here are the scores from the 41st WorldSkills Competition in London: Bradley Clink of Washtenaw CC in Saline, Michigan won Silver in Welding. Laina Call of Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College in Ogden, Utah won a Medallion of Excellence (at least 500 points out of a possible 600) in Hairdressing. Daniel Lehmkuhl of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, California won a Medallion of Excellence in Automobile Technology (Automotive Service Technology). Rachel Koppelman of Columbia Area Career Center in Columbia, Missouri won a Medallion of Excellence in Cooking. WorldTeam information is online at: www.skillsusa.org/compete/worldteamres.shtml.
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.
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.
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
College/Postsecondary Division President: Chance Litwin, Ala.
Vice President: Jeremy Ballentine, Tenn.
Secretary: Veronica Senkowski, Okla.
Treasurer: Stephen Allen, Ga.
Parliamentarian: Wade Persson, S.D.