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Executive Director’s Report: February 1, 2014

February 1st, 2014

The 14th Annual Strategic Planning Session
Staff broke into teams and analyzed data from the field and brainstormed solutions. As a result, we have a draft FY15 Strategic Plan in place. New areas of focus include strategic membership focus, building state leader capacity, focus on SkillsUSA as a skills gap solution and a connector to STEM education and SkillsUSA’s 50th Anniversary celebration. The organization’s work will center around nine macro objectives that rise to the board-mandated areas of focus and are inclusive of the new areas listed above. We took the draft plan to the State Directors’ Association Executive Council Meeting in Sarasota, Florida on January 29. Following state director input and staff review, we will develop the budget for FY15 and bring the plan and budget to the board for review and approval in March.

Meeting of National Coordinating Council
I recently attended the bi-monthly meeting of the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO). Several very important reports were given.

The U.S. Department of Education has released a new Employability Skills Framework and made a presentation to the career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) regarding the content and dissemination strategy. We are very pleased that our employability skills curricula and assessments are in direct alignment with the new framework. The framework is also cross-walked to the Common Core Standards and Common Core Career Technical Standards.You can view the employability skills framework at: http://CTE.ed.gov/employabilityskills/.

ACTE and state CTE directors also announced good news regarding federal funding for CTE. An omnibus bill was released Monday and $53 million was reinstated to the Perkins legislation. This is only $5 million short of the funding level prior to sequestration. SkillsUSA and the other CTSOs were commended for the advocacy work to make this funding reinstatement possible. And, thanks to board and foundation members who accompanied our students on Capitol Hill last September, for their role in this effort.

ACTE announced efforts to position CTE as key to STEM education. Again, this aligns perfectly with our strategy to position SkillsUSA in the same manner. And, we look forward to working with ACTE and other CTE associations in moving the STEM/CTE agenda forward.

There are also other advocacy opportunities on the horizon. On February 18, we will be sending a national student officer to Washington, D.C. to meet with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier. This will be a listening session called “Youth Voices” to gather student opinion on the U.S. Department of Education’s goals. And, last week, more than 50 students and advisors from Ohio visited the U.S. Department of Education and provided their input to the new employability skills framework and other department initiatives.

And, finally, a letter has been sent to President Obama and signed by each CTSO national president, requesting an appointment during CTE Month in February. This proposed meeting will allow our student leaders to discuss the importance of CTE and the technical and academic knowledge they are gaining in their training programs, as well as the life skills gained through their student leadership organizations. We are hopeful this meeting will occur. We will also be announcing SkillsUSA Week during the second week of February (9th-15th).

Highlights

  • On Monday, January 13, select staff had a good meeting with Jennifer McNelly and her staff from The Manufacturing Institute. We are working together on digital manufacturing badges for SkillsUSA students’ electronic portfolios, on a “Youth Voices” campaign for manufacturing and participation in NAM’s Dream It, Do It program and for involvement in Manufacturing Day next October.
  • Moving forward with SkillsUSA’s strategic communications audit and with the help of Stratton Publishing and Marketing Inc., SkillsUSA conducted two focus groups on Jan. 20, with the visiting state officers and their advisors from Ohio. Focus group feedback will form the basis for the next step – a questionnaire to be sent to a sampling of students and teachers. The end goal is to have timely, high-quality and valuable content for our SkillsUSA members that better aligns with student and advisor needs.
  • In an effort to meet the needs of college/postsecondary members, a college/postsecondary task force meeting was held last November in which state directors, instructors and students from five states participated. As a follow-up to the task force meeting, a separate meeting was recently held with Tennessee college/postsecondary state director, Chelle Travis. Many items from the task force meeting were fine-tuned, and an outline was developed to produce a separate college/postsecondary membership kit.
  • SkillsUSA held a Common Core Task Force meeting on January 20-22 in the Washington-Dulles area. State directors, teachers, teacher educators and CTE state directors from Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska and Rhode Island joined national staff to create a set of objectives that will lead students to become proficient in 21st Century employability skills. These objectives will also be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. 

That’s it for now. Thanks for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

FY14-15 Strategic Planning

February 1st, 2013

The entire national staff was involved January 7-11 during our 13th annual “week of excitement.” This year, we cut the brainstorming to a minimum by surveying staff, advisors, state directors, board members and students in advance on critical issues and cost cutting or revenue generation. Then, we started writing objectives around what we see are some of the most important areas such as the move of the national conference to Louisville in 2015, infrastructure including staffing, communications planning to best employ both traditional and digital media and state association growth and development. Departments then made revisions to their FY13 plans and wrote their FY14-15 objectives and business plans. A rough cut of the plan was presented to the state directors’ executive committee when they met on January 24-25 in Atlanta.

Staff Planning 2013

January 15th, 2013

Every year in January, SkillsUSA staff takes a week for strategic planning. Staff worked diligently last week developing the goals, objectives and tactics for the FY 14-15 strategic plan. We’ll be making our first report on new objectives to the state association director executive committee at their meeting later this month.

SkillsUSA Planning

January 15th, 2012

Every year in January, SkillsUSA staff takes a week for strategic planning and staff worked diligently this week focusing on the FY13 strategic plan. We will be making our first report on new objectives to the state association director executive committee at their meeting later this month.

Annual “Week of Excitement” Keeps on Giving

February 1st, 2011

Our strategic planning sessions the week of January 10 went extremely well. Board President Russ Hoffbauer gave the full staff his keynote remarks on Tuesday, January 11, by phone. With a little paraphrasing, he said: “The ultimate aim of planning is results, not activities. That’s one reason why your focus on metrics this year is so exciting. There’s never enough time or resources to do everything, that’s why planning is so important. The board counts on your work.”

With staff recommendations, the directors developed eight macro objectives comprising all of the work of the association – in contrast to the 21 macro objectives we have now – in the five goal areas to help SkillsUSA reach toward Vision 2020. The macro objectives should also be the eight areas we report on to the board and the foundation. All of the departments have now developed objectives and tactics. A preliminary draft of the plan went to the State Association Directors Executive Committee last week.

Highlights

January 15th, 2011
  • Membership as of January 13th stands at more than 202,944 or more than 13,268 over our membership on this date last year.
  • Speaking of membership, the Membership Mega Prize program is gaining sponsorships including the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, N.E.W. Customer Service, Klein Tools, Kobalt Tools and IRWIN tools. For information on the drive to increase our membership through incentives, please go to www.skillsusa.org/join/megaprize.shtml.
  • The report on the State Farm grant is complete, and staff did an extensive job recently reviewing Lowe’s applications for campus improvement and community service grants. To view it online, go to www.skillsusa.org/educators/statefarm.shtml.
  • This year’s national staff charitable donation was to benefit the 27-year old son of a cosmetology teacher at C.S. Monroe Technology Center in Leesburg. The young man has a family, lost his job and his health benefits and is being treated for cancer. The national staff was extremely generous and the donation was genuinely appreciated. A lot of students at the school are also working to raise money for the same cause.
  • Bruce Potter’s official last day with the national staff was Tuesday, December 28 and he has moved on to begin his new job as high school state association director for New York state. We wish him all the best.
  • National staff worked through strategic planning this week. It was our 11th Week of Excitement. We took some different approaches this year, beginning with Vision 2020 and the big picture, and then wrote some macro objectives to which we wrote department strategies, tactics and business plans. It was very exciting. We’ll be making our first report on new objectives to the state association director association officers at the end

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