- Speaking of training, Deb Tripp, our associate director of training, left the national staff on Friday, July 13 to take over the SkillsUSA state association director position in Virginia. We wish her well as the new Virginia state director.
- Prior to Deb’s departure, we posted the associate director of training position and I am pleased to announce that Niki Clausen has interviewed and been promoted to the position. Niki has come full circle through the SkillsUSA program as a former member, national officer, instructor, advisor, state director and as a member of the national staff for the past two and a half years. In her time with us, Niki has taken our alumni to new heights and we are very proud of her accomplishments. And, as one of our current trainers for students and educators, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. I am confident she will excel in her new role.
- We are wrapping up final details and inquiries regarding our largest NLSC in history. Paid registration for conference was at all time high of 10, 037. And, there were a record 5,901 contestants, 11 percent of them over the age of 25.
- We were also thrilled with the large number of business and government VIPs attending this year. Over 300 attended, and we were pleased that one of them, Assistant Secretary of Education Dr. Brenda Dan-Messier, was published in a recent USDOE newsletter: Commenting on the NLSC experience, Dann-Messier said, “I was truly humbled and inspired by the … students who competed in 94 skills competitions …. Equally amazing was the enormous outpouring of support—through voluntarism, cash contributions, state-of-the-art equipment, etc.—from hundreds of teachers, national advisers, and business and industry leaders across this nation. I walked away filled with hope for our nation’s future workforce and prosperity.” Dann-Messier also spoke at the Youth Development Foundation Awards and Recognition Luncheon, before the SkillsUSA corporate meeting, and before the SkillsUSA joint delegate special session.
- I attended the Construction Industries Institute in Baltimore starting last Sunday through Wednesday with Karmen Ayers, past national officer from Washington State. Karmen was our student representative and speaker at the opening plenary of construction executives. Karmen and I operated a SkillsUSA exhibit booth at this event in cooperation with NCCER. There were great connections with several hundred commercial construction executives at this event.
A sample letter/press release is on the SkillsUSA’s advocacy site. It’s a template to be used by state association directors, instructors, parents and others to help get the word out to the media and to Congress about the students who competed or participated in some other way (i.e., as a delegate, Courtesy Corps member, etc.) during the National Leadership and Skills Conference. The press release can be sent to five media outlets at a time through the advocacy site and to the students’ Representative and Senators. The site can be reached by going to: http://www.skillsusa.org/about/policy.shtml and clicking on “advocacy site.” Please encourage your teachers to use and spread the word about this valuable tool.
The winners’ photos from the 2012 SkillsUSA Championships are categorized and the captions have been completed. We’ll be happy to send a winners’ photo or photos to anyone who requests it. If you’d like to receive a photo, please email Jane Short at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Leadership and Skills Conference is always an exciting—transforming—experience involving 15,000 of our closest friends. It’s also humbling to realize how much our collective work affects lives. Many teachers said to me and to staff: “Thank you for what you do for our students.”
Of course, that includes you. By way of example, board member Greg Rintala forwarded an email he received from Tina Oswald-White of mikeroweWORKS Foundation with an attached thank-you note from a student who received a mikeroweWORKS travel scholarship. The email commended the board members “who work so hard behind the scenes . . . and do so much not only for the organization but for the students and our future workforce.” The student’s note said in part “[This experience] opened my eyes to how much potential I have in the world, something I have never seen before.”
I wish everyone could have heard the Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates say during the Special Guest Breakfast on Tuesday, “Scholarships and internships are wonderful for individuals. Support for SkillsUSA is an investment in capacity building for the American workforce.”
All of our special guests including Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of Education Brenda Dann-Messier, Bill Symonds of the Harvard Pathways to Prosperity Project and many more were all amazed by the conference. As one of our first-time guests said to me, “If Secretary of Education Arne Duncan could see this, he’d stop talking about ‘islands of excellence’ in CTE.”
I’m not even going to start recounting all of the corporate executives in attendance, but it was delightful to have the top executives from two of our best sponsors attending the conference together, Jim Lentz of Toyota and Nick Pinchuk of Snap-on. I understand each had a marvelous time and I know Jim was in the news more than once. Here’s one TV clip including Jim – http://fox4kc.com/2012/06/26/students-showing-off-talents-at-skillsusa-competition/.
Speaking of news, the early report on coverage in the Kansas City area media includes 79 separate stories and that doesn’t even include stories that are coming in on area winners. For the first time ever this year, we had three of the four TV networks covering the Championships live simultaneously and multiple times on Tuesday morning. There were 24 stories on Tuesday alone. Several years ago, we asked the Convention and Visitors Association what other Kansas City convention SkillsUSA should use as a benchmark for news coverage. The answer was “SkillsUSA is the benchmark. No organization gets the coverage you get.” We’re also picking up national coverage.
Thanks to a generous donation by our friends at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., SkillsUSA hosted a drawing for a 2012 Dyna® Super Glide® Motorcycle at the 2012 NLSC Awards Ceremony, Wednesday, June 27, in Kansas City, Mo.
As a special addition to the raffle, Harley-Davidson teamed up with Justin Barnes to custom paint the bike. You may know Justin of JB Grafix from his appearances on the Discovery Channel program, “American Chopper.”
The winner of the custom-painted 2012 Dyna Super Glide was Jacob Fulferd from St. Augustine, Fla. Congratulations to Jacob and a special thank you to Harley-Davidson and JB Grafix.
A sample press release has been added to SkillsUSA’s advocacy site. It’s a template to be used by state association directors, instructors, parents and others to help get the word out to the media about the students who competed or participated in some other way (i.e., as a delegate, Courtesy Corps member, etc.) during the National Leadership and Skills Conference.
The press release can be sent to five media outlets at a time through the advocacy site.
Be sure to spread the word about this valuable tool.
Just a quick note to thank all involved for another record-breaking National Leadership and Skills Conference. I’m grateful for each of you for helping make the 2012 NLSC one to be remembered and one that truly changed lives for the better.
If you are looking for the listing of medalists or if you’re a competitor and need your score, visit: www.skillsusa.org/compete/results.shtml.
A couple of notes about contest scores, you need your contestant number and your date of birth to access your score. If you don’t know your contestant number, contact your state association director. Also, in some cases, the person who registered the student has put an incorrect birth date in the system. If you can’t access your score with your contestant number and birth date, click here to get help.
Finally, if you are a medalist and would like to get a copy of your photo taken backstage, download this form to request that photo.
For the past 11 years, Timberland PRO has hosted service events during our conference to provide students with hands-on opportunities. SkillsUSA students have applied their skills and provided direct benefit to the Kansas City community. This year, volunteers will have the opportunity to pack up food at the Kansas City region’s largest food bank, Harvesters, which provides food for assistance for up to 66,000 individuals every week. They can also choose to serve outdoors by planting fruit and nut trees to build a new urban orchard in downtown Kansas City. Thanks to all the volunteers for giving up sleep and relaxation time to serve others.
SkillsUSA University sessions finish up today as do the delegate meetings. The final votes will be cast for national officers today.
Also today, the annual blood drive, sponsored by the Kansas City Community Blood Center, will be in Bartle Hall 2105. Hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The National Courtesy Corps auction begins at 11 a.m. in Bartle Hall 2215C. Proceeds benefit the NCC.
Tonight, the conference reaches its peak of excitement with the awards ceremony. Seating begins at 4:30 p.m. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Don’t forget, if you aren’t with us in Kansas City, you can watch the excitement online here: www.skillsusa.org/events/nlscvideo.shtml. Our live video streaming is sponsored by Lowe’s.
It’s going to be a great night!
Today, nearly 6,000 competitors will compete in 94 contests in Bartle Hall, its Conference Center, Municipal Auditorium, American Royal Center and the downtown Marriott and Phillips hotels. It’s truly an awe-inspiring event.
Also today, TECHSPO will have its final day of exhibits and SkillsUSA University will continue. The delegate meetings be going on with primary ballots being cast for our new national officers.
This evening, be sure and join us for SkillsUSA night. This year, conference attendees will have two choices for the evening: Worlds of Fun or Kauffman Stadium with the Kansas City Royals.
The first contests of the SkillsUSA Championships begin today. These are open to the public and begin at 8 a.m. Be sure and see your official conference program for times and locations. You can download a copy here.
At 8:30 a.m., be sure to attend my “Call to Action” session in the Marriott Downtown in the Count Basie Ballroom. Just take the escalator to the second floor and you can’t miss it. Learn about SkillsUSA’s priorities, vision and CTE trends. You will also hear from Harvard University’s Bill Symonds on the need for CTE in education reform. This year’s Outstanding Educator Awards will also be presented. All instructors are invited to this session.
Beginning today at 10 a.m., be sure to check out SkillsUSA University for a great variety of educational seminars on the latests trends, new technology and best career opportunities. Sessions will run today through Wednesday.
At 10:30 a.m., don’t miss SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race. Participants will race through SkillsUSA TECHSPO to learn more about exhibitors and win prizes. Also look for “Free Money” giveaways in the form of gift cards from Best Buy and Lowe’s. Visit Municipal Auditorium and follow the signs to this exciting giveaway.
Today you can also “Meet the Candidates” running for slots to serve as your new national officers. And student officers should be sure to attend the special joint session of delegates today at 3 p.m.
Of course, the big show is tonight at Kemper Arena: The Opening Ceremony for SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference. The keynote speaker is Chef Jeff Henderson. This is an exciting and motivational event. Don’t miss it! Special thanks to Robert Bosch Tool Corp. for supporting the 2012 Opening Ceremony. For those folks not in Kansas City, you can watch the ceremony live online at this link: www.skillsusa.org/events/nlscvideo.shtml. Our live video streaming is sponsored by Lowe’s.