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Highlights

April 1st, 2013
  • Staff made development visits in Texas on Monday, March 11. First stop was at Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway in Ft. Worth. BNSF Railway operates more than 1,000 trains a day on one of the largest freight rail transportation networks in North America. BNSF will have an outdoor display at SkillsUSA TECHSPO. The second visit was with The Dwyer Group in Waco where they discussed women in the trades scholarships for our students. The Dwyer Group offers franchise business opportunities including Air Serv, Mr. Appliance, Mr. Rooter, Mr. Electric, Rainbow International, The Grounds Guys and Glass Doctor.
  • Staff traveled to Reno, Nev. with associates from the Ringenburg Group to conduct the last of four high school and college/postsecondary focus group sessions. The research was conducted with teachers and students of both membership levels. Staff facilitated educational resource and skill development training for the participants when they were not in the focus group meetings. A report compiling the focus group findings will be provided to the SkillsUSA marketing team in May and will be used to direct the membership and marketing plan for the organization.
  • Speaking of alumni success stories. Staff reports that the summer issue of SkillsUSA Champions magazine will feature a former SkillsUSA member who is now a successful food stylist for a major home shopping network.
  • On March 14-15  I travelled to Louisville, Ky., where we met with executives from Ford Motor Company and General Electric. We also met with the new president of the Kentucky State Fair Board and toured some potential storage facilities. We also met with staff at the Kentucky Department of Education, including Fran Dundon and new state association director, Larry Johnson.

Partnership with Gates Corporation Education Reminder

March 29th, 2013

Gates logoSkillsUSA is excited to announce a new partnership with Gates Corporation Education. Their “Tools for Schools” program is a great opportunity for SkillsUSA’s automotive teachers.

The purpose of the “Tools for Schools” program is to provide educators with supplemental educational materials from a global company. Gates assists many of the Original Equipment Manufacturers with their research and development and through this program new products and systems are designed and problems solved. Technology is changing so quickly that it can take years for the latest information to reach you and your students. The “Tools for Schools” program is one way Gates can ensure the latest technology and information are available to you 24/7 simply by accessing their website. Gates hopes you make their site a daily part of your learning curriculum and visit often.

The “Tools for Schools” program is made up of three components: (1) “Tools for Schools” website where all elements of the program can be found; (2) “Tools for Schools” Performance Center eLearning for your students contains a wealth of informative content and tests each student’s ability to retain and understand via an exclusive training quiz found at the end of each segment; and, (3) “Tools for Schools” “Free” tool program. A program designed to reward the school for using the eLearning tool and using Gates products. Schools can earn Gates diagnostic and installation tools by accumulating points based on program participation.

Websites for this Program

Tools for Schools Webpage for the Educator (only): www.gates.com/education

Gates Performance Center for Students: http://gatesaftermarkettrainingcenter.com

For more information, please contact: Bobby Bassett, manager, Training Automotive Aftermarket, Gates Corporation, cell 601-954-4152, email rbassett@gates.com.

Spring Conference in Mississippi

March 15th, 2013

On February 26-27, I attended the Mississippi spring conference in Jackson. There were 200 more registrants this year with 1,500 attending overall. Competitions were held in several locations around town, but one of the most impressive venues was the Trademart where the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation (MCEF) administered all of the construction contests. The MCEF used the event as a centerpiece for a full-day seminar called “Pathways to Success” conducted for 130 administrators and guidance counselors from around the state. The audience heard a lot about the importance of CTE and construction careers, and I had the opportunity to tell them about SkillsUSA. State Senator Philip Moran also attended, and I received considerable interest from the regional sales manager of Makita, U.S.A.

Congratulations to Andy Sims, Mississippi state association director for a successful conference and thanks to Jean Massey, state CTE director, for her strong support of SkillsUSA.

On Thursday, February 28, I flew to St. Louis to meet with executives of Enterprise Holdings, parent company of Enterprise, Alamo and National car rental companies. This was another corporate connection made by board member Russ Hoffbauer. Russ, national officer Sergio Cavazos and I met with the head of the foundation, two vice presidents, three assistant vice presidents and a director. When the CEO met with us at one point, he said “I see you’ve got the Enterprise A team.” That was nice to hear.

Russ covered the reasons why business is involved with SkillsUSA, and Sergio did a beautiful job talking about the effect SkillsUSA has had on him, his school and his community. It was easy to see the executives were thoroughly impressed, and they said they want Enterprise to get involved as a partner at the local level and, perhaps, at national conference. They also expressed interest in our customer service competition and assessments.

Highlights

February 28th, 2013
  • SkillsUSA had an exhibit at the AACC’s Workforce Development Institute from January 30-February 2 in San Diego. The annual conference is growing in size and a lot of people stopped by the exhibit. National officer Ben Morris was a featured luncheon speaker – the only student speaker in the entire conference – and he was followed by Assistant Secretary of Education Brenda Dann-Messier who had lots of great things to say about Ben and about SkillsUSA. Current SkillsUSA board member Kathy Jo Mannes and past board member Jim McKenney were both in attendance, of course, as well as past board member Greg Rintala.
  • Staff reports that UTI (Universal Technical Institute) will sponsor SkillsUSA University at national conference this year. UTI is talking about the possibility of having representatives from NASCAR attend conference as well.
  • Larry Rabalais, SkillsUSA Louisiana state association director, high school (and a former SkillsUSA board member) reports that 25 students and four teachers from Bonnabel High School participated in the Super Bowl sanctioned 18th Annual Rebuilding Together event in New Orleans. Larry said the event was well-run, the students and teachers worked hard, and it was a positive experience for all concerned. Lowe’s was the “presenting sponsor.”

New Partnership with Gates Corporation Education

February 28th, 2013

Gates Corporation logoSkillsUSA is excited to announce a new partnership with Gates Corporation Education. Their “Tools for Schools” program is a great opportunity for SkillsUSA’s automotive teachers.

The purpose of the “Tools for Schools” program is to provide educators with supplemental educational materials from a global company. Gates assists many of the Original Equipment Manufacturers with their research and development and through this program new products and systems are designed and problems solved. Technology is changing so quickly that it can take years for the latest information to reach you and your students. The “Tools for Schools” program is one way Gates can ensure the latest technology and information are available to you 24/7 simply by accessing their website. Gates hopes you make their site a daily part of your learning curriculum and visit often.

The “Tools for Schools” program is made up of three components: (1) “Tools for Schools” website where all elements of the program can be found; (2) “Tools for Schools” Performance Center eLearning for your students contains a wealth of informative content and tests each student’s ability to retain and understand via an exclusive training quiz found at the end of each segment; and, (3) “Tools for Schools” “Free” tool program. A program designed to reward the school for using the eLearning tool and using Gates products. Schools can earn Gates diagnostic and installation tools by accumulating points based on program participation.

Websites for this Program

Tools for Schools Webpage for the Educator (only): www.gates.com/education

Gates Performance Center for Students: http://gatesaftermarkettrainingcenter.com

For more information, please contact: Bobby Bassett, manager, Training Automotive Aftermarket, Gates Corporation, cell 601-954-4152, email: rbassett@gates.com.

Making the Case for Manufacturing Careers

February 15th, 2013

Mike Rowe and Tim Lawrence

Three corporate representatives from Caterpillar – including Youth Development Foundation (YDF) member, Cameron Ferguson – met on January 28 at National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) headquarters with YDF member, Jennifer McNelly, president of The Manufacturing Institute and her communications team, Mike Rowe of mikeroweWORKS, another SkillsUSA staff member and me. The overarching topic was the public image of manufacturing and how to engage all four organizations in a national movement to educate youth about the benefits and opportunities of careers in manufacturing. Jennifer and her team are working on an action plan including media outreach featuring Mike Rowe.

The following day, Mike Rowe and his team met with Cameron and his team and me in Washington, D.C. Mike is a corporate spokesman for Caterpillar as well as a scholarship underwriter for SkillsUSA. We spoke with him about participation in the national conference, doing some promotion for SkillsUSA including the WorldTeam and promotion to recruit students into technical pathways. He’s interested! He loves the SkillsUSA Creed and was happy to hear that of the 50 students who received mikeroweWORKS travel scholarships to conference last year, four took medals and 13 finished in the top ten of their contests. He also enjoyed hearing from Cameron and friends about the students they’d met that morning from Washington County Technical High School in Hagerstown, Md. The students said what they believe is important is to do something for others and leave the world a better place. I believe Mike Rowe liked that as much as he liked the SkillsUSA Creed.

New Student Opportunity from Aggreko

February 14th, 2013

Aggreko logoSkillsUSA is excited to announce Aggreko as a new official partner and they have an exciting opportunity for our SkillsUSA members. Aggreko, the global leader in providing temporary power generation, temperature control, and oil-free compressed air systems, has partnered with the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) to offer an exclusive opportunity to a select group of SkillsUSA’s mechanically gifted students.

This opportunity, called the Aggreko SelecTech Accelerated Career Program, is a two year rotational program that allows program members to earn valuable experience working on state of the art industrialized equipment while earning an Associate in Applied Science degree in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics from OSUIT. The two-year, trimester-based program consists of equal parts coursework at OSUIT in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and paid internships at Aggreko facilities and events throughout the U.S., including near their hometown. If you have students who would be interested or if you would like more information, please contact Devin Murphy at devin.murphy@aggreko.com or call him at 281-985-8241 (office) or 832-627-4352 (cell).

SkillsUSA Highlighted during Washington Symposium

January 15th, 2013

Board member Joe Pietrantonio of Air Products served as a panelist at the Talent Driven Innovation – Best Practices Symposium on November 28th at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The Symposium was sponsored by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte and was moderated by The Manufacturing Institute’s Jennifer McNelly, a member of our Youth Development Foundation Committee. Joe participated in a discussion on “How Global Businesses Operate Public-Private Partnerships.” Joe used Air Products’ positive experience with SkillsUSA extensively in his remarks, and his fellow panelists from Toyota, Alcoa Foundation and Haas Automation also spoke on the benefits of their respective company’s relationships with SkillsUSA. There were positive references to SkillsUSA throughout the Symposium, but especially during the above-referenced panel. Joe said he was pleased with how much positive reaction occurred after the panel discussion, including the enthusiastic support of Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates.

In a related development, in December Deloitte requested additional information about SkillsUSA and our partnerships for a report entitled “Manufacturing for Growth” that Deloitte and the World Economic Forum will premiere at the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland this month. SkillsUSA was recommended to Deloitte as an example of a best-practice, public-private partnership “based on conversations we have had with leaders around the world.” We sent in all of the information. This will be one more step toward being “internationally known” as we say in Vision 2020.

Highlights

January 15th, 2013
  • On December 17th, members of the Office of Business Partnership and Development and Education, Training and Assessments Office joined me for a visit with the CEO of ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence), and the executive directors of NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) and AYES (Automotive Youth Educational Systems) to talk about strengthening our mutual alliance and capitalizing on a shared vision of our business partners. We also discussed customizing the Professional Development Program (PDP) to make the curriculum auto industry specific. NATEF wants to include employability skills in its curriculum and believes this is a way to do it. We’ll be meeting again soon and will seek funding to design and publish the polished up PDP.
  • Staff reported last week that we’ve secured a $50,000 grant from the Alcoa Foundation for the purpose of informing youth about careers in manufacturing in two communities where Alcoa has facilities. We’ll be informing state associations of the locations once Alcoa has determined them.
  • We now have state association support for four additional demonstration competitions during this year’s Championships: Community Action Project; Graphic Imaging Sublimation (graphic imaging); Humanoid Robotics (programming robots for dangerous tasks); and, Urban Search and Rescue (a RoboRescue Challenge). This will take us to six demonstration contests and a total of 98 contests overall.

Interstate Batteries Fundraiser Reminder

January 15th, 2013

Interstate Batteries logoAs you recall, SkillsUSA announced a new partnership with Interstate Batteries and a fundraising program for local chapters. This is a great opportunity for your chapters to raise funds in partnership with a company whose mission and product align very closely with SkillsUSA. Through this partnership, local chapters can now sell Interstate Batteries’ products, and they will receive 50 percent of the sales. Below is the link for your chapter to sign up today. This is a great program to participate in as you seek to raise funds for district and state events and for leadership development activities and materials. For more information, go to www.Interstatebatteries.com/fundraising/SkillsUSA.


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