- Tom Hall, director of the publications department at SkillsUSA reported that on January 7 two SkillsUSA projects recently won awards. Our most recent annual report won an award in the annual Printing Industries of Virginia competition. With many other associations based in Virginia or having their annual reports printed here, this is quite an accomplishment for us. Congratulations go to Tom Kercheval, the B&I staff and everyone else who had a hand in our annual report. Also, in the Association TRENDS 2009 All-Media Contest, SkillsUSA’s 2009-10 Membership Kit won a gold award in the Membership Promotion Kit category. The 2009 competition included more than 425 entries in 26 categories of association communications. As the best in its category, our kit will be displayed in a “Winners’ Gallery” in D.C. next month, as well as on the TRENDS Web site. Congratulations go to Karen Perrino and all staff who worked on this project.
- As reported before, Dave Worden joined the staff last Monday as the program director of the national SkillsUSA Championships. Dave brings years of experience with SkillsUSA – dating all the way back to 1978 – and tremendous experience in industry and as chairman of the Power Equipment Technology contest. We look forward to having his expertise and sense of humor on the national staff.
- Staff traveled with a representative from the U.S. Department of Labor last week for a tour of CAT North outside Baltimore, Maryland. CAT is one of our favorite model SkillsUSA programs. The tour was part of DOL’s consideration of a grant for SkillsUSA activities and chapters in YouthBuild programs nationwide. We had a good discussion with representatives from YouthBuild and DOL on Monday of this week.
- On Monday morning, January 11, we had meetings with the Engineering Alliance. Representatives from Project Lead the Way and the Technology Student Association (TSA) joined us. The official launch of the Engineering Alliance is today, January 15. The Web site address is www.engineeringalliance.org
- John Foster, president and chief executive officer of NOCTI stopped by for a visit on January 5 to discuss a number of things including work NOCTI is doing on pathways and NOCTI support for the national SkillsUSA Championships. It was great to visit with John to discuss future cooperative efforts.
- And, I visited last Friday with Board Member Emily DeRocco. We’ve wanted to get together to discuss the National Association of Manufacturers certification system and the possible fit of the Skill Connect assessments. We had a great discussion on this topic and the work of the Manufacturing Institute.
It’s the season for cards and short messages, so I’m going to keep this brief as the holidays come by.
On December 14, I visited the Virginia Department of Education in Richmond to discuss the addition of the Skill Connect assessments to the Virginia approved assessment list. It was great to see and visit with Liz Russell, state director of career and technical education, Ed Sullivan, specialist and corporate member of SkillsUSA and other old friends from back in the day. Liz was very supportive of the Skill Connect assessments, and she will submit the entire list to the Virginia Board of Education in January for approval.
As I mentioned in a prior post, we held a full-day meeting here at the national office with intelitek on December 10 to discuss sales strategy for the Skill Connect assessments. The plan is to finalize strategy in January for the sales season this spring. At a minimum, we will have 30 assessments available in March, plus the four assessments offered in partnership with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Particular thanks go to Board Member Greg Rintala for flying in from California to be part of the discussion. We benefited greatly from his experience.
Speaking of experience, on December 11, during the SkillsUSA staff holiday celebration, we recognized a cumulative 75 years of service from three staff members. Heidi Ambrose was honored for 20 years service; Susan Trent was honored for 25 years and Tom Holdsworth for 30 years. Several additional staff members were recognized for their first through seventh anniversaries. We toured George Washington’s Mount Vernon home and had a great luncheon on the grounds. It was a meaningful trip for staff to be surrounded by the history and patriotic feeling of Mount Vernon, the home of the “patriarch of liberty” to paraphrase The Marquis de Lafayette.
We are looking beyond the holidays. Meetings are coming up in early January with Project Lead The Way on the Engineering Alliance and with representatives from YouthBuild. The hotel lottery for the next national conference is complete. All the states are in the rooming block and all of the hotels are assigned.
It is the season to be grateful and I am. So is the SkillsUSA staff. We appreciate the support we receive from the state association directors, corporate members, national technical committee and all the other friends of the organization. We look forward to working with all of you to make 2010 our best year ever. Happy 2010!
After months of planning and discussion – SkillsUSA and TSA (Technology Student Association) will be jointly establishing a program called the Engineering Alliance to Serve Project Lead The Way (PLTW) beginning this coming school year. We spoke of our decision while we were visiting with other members of the NCC-CTSO (National Coordinating Council of the Career and Technical Student Organizations) including representatives from the U.S. Department of Education. We had a very enthusiastic reaction from everyone attending the meeting and SkillsUSA and TSA look forward to serving teachers and students in pre-engineering programs in the 3,000 (and expanding number of) high schools and middle schools with PLTW. The program will provide leadership activity for local level PLTW integration and will encourage membership in SkillsUSA and TSA.
In other news from the NCC-CTSO, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Greg Cummings told us that President Obama is committed to pathways that lead students to prosperity and, in turn, will lead the nation to prosperity. He believes SkillsUSA and the other CTSOs do just that. He also said the areas the student organizations represent are areas of in-demand jobs, and he’s impressed by what the CTSOs do to give students a voice and power as well as the ability to lead. To top off the great comments in support of what we do, Deputy Assistant Secretary Cummings planned to come to Kansas City, but after looking at his schedule, he declined. He is making sure someone from the U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary’s Office will be with us, however. That’s exciting!
The CTSOs also compared notes on what’s happening with funding and support in the states. As many as six states report they’re having issues on funding for travel or continuing state-level activities. The CTSOs will be working together to overcome these issues. The up side is that nearly all of the CTSOs had increases in both membership and state conference attendance.
Check out the press release: www.skillsusa.org/about/engineeringalliance.shtml
Here is a Q&A about the Alliance: www.skillsusa.org/about/allianceqa.shtml