December 1st, 2013
We’ve recently had some good opportunities to make some important connections with groups of SkillsUSA stakeholders from across the country.
On November 4-5, I traveled to Houston, Texas and participated in a meeting with Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) and four of our state association directors. This was one of several regional meetings IAA is holding to connect their local and regional managers with SkillsUSA in the states where they do business. We met at IAA’s Houston facility and were joined there by state directors Stacy Scott and Pat Conner (Texas), Larry Rabalais (La.) and Darren Gibson (Okla.). IAA was represented by their corporate HR director and a corporate vice president (both from their Chicago headquarters), and a branch manager and three managers from the aforementioned states. IAA became an official sponsor last year, and they are very impressed with our students. They are developing strategies to hire our students, and this meeting was a wonderful opportunity to bring our state leaders together face-to-face with the industry leaders who will be doing the hiring. IAA is working with us to plan a similar meeting on the west coast early in 2014.
October 29th, 2013
WebProfessionals.org, the organization that heads up the national Web Design contest, would like to remind students and teachers that there is still time to participate in the Start Something Today challenge. This new competition, conducted completely over the Web, provides students with an award-winning start to launching a business idea, plan and pitch to business and industry professionals and win recognition and prizes.
Sponsored by WebProfessionals.org, the challenge is designed to inspire student entrepreneurs to actualize their business initiatives while sparking business creation and workforce development. The “Start Something Today” challenge is open to current student entrepreneurs, regardless of where they are in their education and career journeys.
For additional information and to participate, go to: www.schoolofweb.org/start-something-today/. The deadline for contest entries is December 1, 2013. For more information, contact Bill Cullifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 15th, 2013
On September 16-18, I participated in the Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. (IAA) Industry Leadership Summit at the Cloister Resort on Sea Island, Ga. The summit was attended by over 150 executives representing 42 automotive associations and several national insurance companies. My presentation “The Workforce for America’s Future” was extremely well received by the group and I’ve had several requests for follow-up and interest in partnership opportunities. The summit was an outstanding networking opportunity and a great chance to let more people know about the work of SkillsUSA. Russ Hoffbauer, SkillsUSA board member, who first introduced us to IAA, was also a participant at the summit.
October 15th, 2013
Following the STEM meeting, I flew to Columbus, Ohio and joined state director Mike Cowles and two of his state officers, along with Cole Fallis, national region III vice president, to prepare for a meeting on September 26 with the CEO of Safelite Group. Safelite’s corporate headquarters is in Columbus and the connection to this company was made through IAA and reinforced by State Farm Insurance. Russ Hoffbauer, board member from State Farm also flew to Columbus to be a part of the meeting. Tom Feeney, Safelite CEO and his entire corporate senior staff, hosted the meeting and provided a comprehensive overview of Safelite’s operations, culture, social responsibility agenda and leadership development process. It was a great learning experience for all of us, especially the student leaders. We then provided an overview of SkillsUSA, our programs and leadership model, including a presentation by Mike Cowles about the SkillsUSA Ohio program and a presentation by Russ Hoffbauer on why business supports SkillsUSA. However, the highlight of the day was when Haley Pickett, Tyler McComb and Cole Fallis spoke from the student’s perspective and told their personal stories about how SkillsUSA had made a positive impact on their lives. We will follow up with Safelite and I am confident that we will soon count them as a major partner, both at the national and state levels.
And, I just returned from Seoul, Korea and Louisville, Ky. I’ll elaborate on these trips next time.
June 15th, 2013
As we prepare for the largest national conference in SkillsUSA’s history, we have a busy staff at headquarters focused on all the details that will make it a successful conference too. There are a myriad of projects being completed from the printed programs and other materials, to the scripts, agendas, VIP schedules, reviews of equipment and facilities, packing and arrangements for transportation. I could never draw up a complete list of the tasks that have to be done. This is a time of year when I reflect that SkillsUSA is fortunate to have a staff and volunteers who have everything covered. Conference registration is at a record high of 10,002 and SkillsUSA University will offer 69 sessions. The competitors number is nearly 6,000 … 5,927 to be exact.
“TAG Tuesday” (Train-Act-Grow), is a series of leadership activities to be held for delegates during national conference. In the morning, there will be workshops for high school chapter leaders and high school state officers and there will be separate workshops for college/postsecondary delegates on networking with business. The afternoon will offer experiential sessions for the high school delegates and one-on-one interviews with business representatives for the college/postsecondary delegates.
Following up on another introduction from Board member Russ Hoffbauer, Enterprise Holdings, Inc. — holding several car rental companies — is supporting national officer travel to the national conference this year with a $10,000 donation and is providing 11 vehicles for use during conference.
May 15th, 2013
On April 16-17, the SkillsUSA Youth Development Foundation (YDF) met at the National Leadership Center. The meeting was very well attended and was one of the most interactive on record. The meeting started with a review of the FY14 strategic plan. Chairman Dave Camden and our Business Partnerships and Development staff then led the Foundation through a series of exercises to help SkillsUSA with strategy to move our partnerships efforts forward. Specifically, the committee broke into three working groups to address the topics of events and point of entry for new partners; fundraising for the transition to Louisville; and, partner development. Each subcommittee will be chaired by a YDF Committee member with regular meetings and reports taking place throughout the year. Every YDF member was engaged, and I believe we have a great beginning with new ideas and strategies in place for the future. Dave Camden has now retired from Toyota and this was his final YDF meeting. We are pleased and excited that Laurie Hackett of Air Products will be assuming the position of YDF chair.