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Highlights

December 27th, 2012
  • Staff met recently with representatives of the ALCOA Foundation on future support. ALCOA is a past SkillsUSA partner. And, staff met in Washington, D.C. with superintendent of Arizona Public Instruction and his chief of staff to discuss the Skill Connect Assessments.
  • Janet Conner, state association director for the high school division of SkillsUSA Texas visited the National Leadership Center on December 5 to review new SkillsUSA conference management software. Because of the association’s size, Texas is often a driver of association services that benefit other state associations.
  • We recently finalized a new partnership with the Gates Corporation (automotive division and a manufacturer/supplier of automotive hoses, belts, tensioners, pulleys and a variety of other parts). A Gates representative serves on our national auto service technical committee and came in at the official sponsor level ($25,000 minimum). We are thrilled to have them on board. We will be sending out information on how Gates would like to work with state associations and local chapters.
  • And, in the “it’s nice to be asked” category, we’re pleased that a congressional office has consulted SkillsUSA to ask what our priorities for CTE are in the 113th Congress and what we would recommend to promote CTE. Discussion included the administration’s blueprint for CTE, Perkins, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, high school and postsecondary CTE, SkillsUSA WorldTeam and the importance of industry involvement. There will be further discussion in the weeks ahead.

 

Highlights

December 1st, 2012
  • On November 7, a staff member and I took the train to West Orange, N.J. to meet with the CEO, two group VPs, the marketing director and the business development director of Lincoln Educational Systems, the parent company of Lincoln Technical Institute among several other colleges. We were joined by Pete Carey, New Jersey state association director, three of his advisors and two of his state officers, both from the Gloucester County Institute of Technology.
  • The Alumni Coordinating Committee met at the national center for a three-day meeting, November 9-11. They reviewed their FY13 objectives, did some FY14 planning and put together plans for the national conference.
  • We recently received some good news on sponsorship. 3M Company, which was a sponsor years ago, has pledged in-kind support for the SkillsUSA Championships and pledged $36,000 to support our WorldTeam Cabinetmaking contestant. And, Interstate Battery System of America has already pledged $25,000 for next year. Interstate is pleased by the response of our chapters to the fundraising plan calling it the “best early response by any organization.”
  • Two staff members represented the national office during the recent Mid-America Conference in Columbus, Nebraska. They report it was a highly successful experience for all of the students and teachers attending and that Greg Stahr, Nebraska state association director, did a great job leading the event.
  • Welcome to our newest board member representing NASDCTEc, Scott Stump, Colorado associate provost for career and technical education. Scott is currently serving as NASDCTEc’s secretary/treasurer, and he knows student organizations having worked for National FFA and served as state FFA advisor.
  • And, finally, the board will be meeting by webinar, December 3-4. The spring board meeting will be held on March 13, hosted by Nick Mastrone at IRWIN corporate headquarters in Huntersville, N.C.

Interstate Batteries Fundraiser

November 15th, 2012

SkillsUSA is excited to announce a new partnership with the Interstate Batteries fundraising program for local chapters. This is a great opportunity for our chapters to raise funds in partnership with a company whose mission and product align very closely with SkillsUSA.

Through this partnership, local chapters would sell Interstate Batteries products and will receive 50 percent of the sales.

Below is the link for local chapters to sign up today. We encourage you to promote this program and encourage all chapters to participate in this program as they seek to raise funds for district and state events and leadership development activities and materials.

For more information, go to: www.Interstatebatteries.com/fundraising/SkillsUSA.

Connecting with Insurance Auto Auctions

November 1st, 2012

On October 3, staff and I traveled to Brandywine, Md. to attend a live auto auction with our new official sponsor Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA). State association directors Peyton Holland (N.C.) and Tyler Kercher (Fla.) accompanied us and did an incredible job representing the state directors in the Eastern Region. This trip was designed to familiarize SkillsUSA with the auto auction business and to introduce our state directors to IAA regional managers. While at the facility, we experienced the auction process and learned about the Brandywine facility. IAA has 161 locations across the nation. We look forward to working with IAA in building successful pilot projects in four eastern states which will include introductions of IAA managers to state association directors and local advisors, meeting space at IAA facilities and offering internships and employment to SkillsUSA students.

IAA is a $2 billion enterprise and sells autos in every state and in 61 countries around the world. We appreciate board member Russ Hoffbauer making the introduction to IAA for SkillsUSA. Thanks to IAA Vice President Don Hermanek and HR Director Rita Figi for facilitating the meeting and to Peyton and Tyler for representing SkillsUSA so well.

Council on Competitiveness

November 1st, 2012

I was invited to attend a Council on Competitiveness Symposium on October 4-5 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. The invitation was extended by Council member John McGlade, chairman and CEO of Air Products. Board member Joe Pientrantonio and YDF member Laurie Gostley were heavily involved in organizing the event. The theme was “Leveraging the Talent Development Process to Drive Innovation.” Hosts for the symposium were Alice Gast, Lehigh University president; Deborah Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council and John McGlade. Special guests and speakers included executives from Lockheed Martin, Deloitte, NanoMech; workforce development leaders from regional economic development and workforce investment boards; and, education leaders from leading universities and education agencies. Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, was the closing speaker and she commended SkillsUSA and Air Products for our model partnership.

On both days of the meeting, I was able to spend some quality time with our great friend, John McGlade. John was a “live commercial” for SkillsUSA during the entire event and spoke passionately about our program at the dinner of the Council on Thursday evening. He also had SkillsUSA members from Lehigh Valley Schools in red blazers at every table. He recognized each one of them by name and their training program (most were in manufacturing pathways of study). and he also recognized our WorldSkills cabinetmaking competitor from Pennsylvania, Daniel Berrios, from Northampton Community College in Tannersville, Pa.

John would like for us to be at the next Council meeting in Washington, D.C. on November 16, and he is trying to get us a seat at the table. The Council is proposing a national “Skills Agenda,” and John is one of the primary drivers of this concept that will focus the federal government and business executives on the skilled worker issue. Big thanks to John and Air Products for making SkillsUSA a significant component in the Council’s discussion about our future skilled workforce.

Highlights

November 1st, 2012
  • On October 1-3, our Education, Training and Assessments department staff were engaged in intense training with Quantum Learning’s nationally respected trainer Mark Reardon. Our training staff learned the latest training and motivational techniques; and will be incorporating these into our training seminars and workshops for students and advisors. The training included focus on effective meetings, new teacher training and the most current training trends and techniques. Staff tells me they were excited about the training and even more excited about implementing what they learned with our stakeholders.
  • As a follow up to the Champion of the Year Dinner and great connections from YDF member Dave Camden of Toyota, we are working with Interstate Batteries to introduce a national fundraising campaign for our local chapters. In our discussions with local advisors and student leaders, fundraising is a critical component of local involvement in SkillsUSA. Chapters will have the opportunity to sell Interstate alkaline batteries and keep approximately 50 percent of all sales.
  • I’m also pleased to announce that earlier last month, Interstate Batteries announced a partnership with SkillsUSA. Starting this year, participating SkillsUSA student chapters will be able to sell a wide variety of Interstate Batteries products from AAA, AA, C, D and 9V batteries to flashlights and organizers with testers. And, for each Interstate Batteries product sold, SkillsUSA student chapters will receive 50 percent of the sale price.
  • Finally, staff reports that we are almost ready to travel to Brazil with 11 of our finest students to compete in WorldSkills Americas in November. Our final count of participants is complete, and we are in the last days of planning for the event.

Final List of 2012 Official Sponsors

October 15th, 2012

he following organizations, through their cash and/or documented in-kind donations, have qualified for SkillsUSA’s Official Sponsor status of $25,000 or more in calendar year 2012. We also award Official Sponsor status to organizations making unrestricted financial donations of $15,000 or more.

We encourage SkillsUSA teachers and students to patronize these organizations when the opportunity arises.

  • 3Dconnexion, Inc.
  • Air Products
  • Architectural Woodwork Institute
  • Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers
  • Robert Bosch Tool Corporation
  • Calculated Industries, Inc.
  • CareerSafe, LLC
  • Carhartt, Inc.
  • The Culinary Institute of America
  • Deere & Company
  • Delmar, Cengage Learning
  • DELTA Power Equipment Corporation
  • ETA International
  • Google, Inc.
  • Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation
  • Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc.
  • International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry
  • Interstate Battery System of America, Inc.
  • IRWIN Industrial Tool Company
  • Johns Manville
  • Lincoln Electric Company
  • Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
  • mikeroweWORKS Foundation
  • Miller Electric Mfg. Co, Inc.
  • National Association of the Remodeling Industry
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research
  • Navistar, Inc.
  • PHCC Educational Foundation
  • Pivot Point International Inc.
  • RSC Chemical Solutions
  • SawStop, LLC
  • Snap-on Industrial
  • Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.
  • State Farm Insurance Companies, Inc.
  • Timberland PRO
  • Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, Inc.

Highlights

September 30th, 2012
  • On September 11, Don Hermanek and Rita Figi of IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) came by the national office to discuss the launch of a partnership to reach out to support SkillsUSA state associations and chapters and to offer training and employment opportunities to SkillsUSA students from many training program areas. They expressed particular interest in students competing in the leadership contests. They started the meeting with the presentation of a $25,000 check. We are to get back together in early October to further develop our strategy.
  • Along similar lines, staff and I met on September 13 with NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research). They’re predicting an uptick in construction hiring and so they’re looking for ways to hire our construction graduates.
  • Thanks to Bill Maddox and Wanzel Jessie of YDF member N.E.W., we were able to take the Mega Prize winner John Lee and his wife, Samantha, to the owner’s box at a Washington Nationals baseball game September 7th and then I took them on a Segue tour of the Washington monuments on the 8th. Both John and Samantha are big baseball fans so they were just over the moon about the prize. John teaches diesel equipment technology at Tennessee Technology Center in Elizabethton. He’s also a state certified trainer, he’s had national contestants, has a national officer this year and he was a Virginia state officer many years ago.
  • And, finally, the WorldTeam had its first webinar on August 3. Most of the contestants, experts, management team and a few state association directors participated. It was an orientation for the team and to check on how we’re doing on communications and training. We met with state association directors Karen Ward and Mike Cowles on September 10 to discuss several topics including state director certification, new training structures and registration procedures and the hotel lottery at national conference among others. The staff values their input. Past national officer, national staff member and all-around good friend to SkillsUSA, Bill Prince and his wife Patty came by to visit with the national staff on September 12. Bill addressed the staff meeting on the early history of SkillsUSA and exciting moments he recalled such as the appearance of President Reagan at our national conference.

New Support from Workboots.com

September 29th, 2012

On October 1, WorkBoots.com, a customer service-focused Internet retailer based in Chesterfield, Mo. will give their customers a chance to support SkillsUSA during the checkout process. Donators can choose from a variety of dollar amounts with all proceeds going directly to SkillsUSA.

“As a retailer who caters to the working men and women of America, we want to show our support of the essential skills and contributions they make every day,” said Chad Weinman, CEO of WorkBoots.com. “Not only are we helping to support this foundation, but this also gives current workers the opportunity to sponsor the next generation of skilled workers by making a donation to their education.”

Here’s the link to the work boots superstore: http://workboots.com.

Highlights

September 15th, 2012
  • A big thank you to our state association directors who attended the Professional Development and Training Conference in Rapid City, S.D. Here are just a few more highlights from the conference. Tiffany Sanderson, team leader, Perkins Career and Technical Education in South Dakota – equivalent to the state CTE director – was a featured speaker during the opening dinner. The states held regional meetings before the business meeting and all ran very well. Mark Williams, SkillsUSA’s chief IT consultant, did an outstanding job of demonstrating the conference management system. At least half of the directors attending participated, and Mark did a separate training for new state directors. The Mount Rushmore nighttime lighting ceremony was wonderfully patriotic. Jen Polz, state association director from Minnesota is the new executive committee chair-elect and all of the executive committee did a phenomenal job of running the conference.
  • On August 23, I flew to Chicago to meet with the CEO and executive staff of IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) and the CEO and president of ADESA (a leading provider of vehicle remarketing services). Board member, Russ Hoffbauer, made the introduction by inviting the president and vice president of IAA to the conference last June. Needless to say, they were impressed by what they saw. During our meeting, Kaila O’Farrell, national high school vice president, talked about the value of SkillsUSA to students and then Russ Hoffbauer talked about why State Farm is involved in SkillsUSA. I’d say they were both persuasive because both organizations signed up to be SkillsUSA official sponsors effective this year. Executives from each organization met with us in Leesburg on September 11. Thanks go to Russ Hoffbauer for his support.
  • We have 311 people registered to attend the Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) and it starts tomorrow. They’ll be representing 27 states and Puerto Rico and 31 state associations. I believe this is the largest WLTI in history. All of the national officers will be attending.
  • Preparations for the Champion of the Year dinner are reaching a feverish pace. An announcement news release went out on September 6, and Snap-on has really stepped up efforts to get coverage during a news conference scheduled at the National Press Club. Staff is following up on the invitations to the administration and Congress. We’ve had good sponsorship responses from the Youth Development Foundation and members of the board, and we’re looking forward to having 100 students and teachers from WLTI join us for the dinner.
  • We’re getting ready to send 13 students and 12 technical delegates from the 2013 SkillsUSA WorldTeam to Brazil for the WorldSkills Americas in mid-November 2012. We sent two contestants to the 2010 WorldSkills Americas competition and found it was a great way to prepare the contestants for international competition and – even more important – to help prepare the technical experts. Thank you to the state associations who are stepping up to support these contestants in their quest for excellence on the world level.

That’s it for now. Until next time, thank you for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

 


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