- The final official membership total is 320,287. That includes 300,302 student and teacher members and 19,302 alumni members.
- On April 27, SkillsUSA staff and Gayle Silvey, Georgia state association director, did a test drive of the SkillsUSA chapter registration software with a group of teachers from Middletown Middle School in Maryland. They also spent time on the website comparing SkillsUSA’s site to others and deciding what organization to join based upon their online experiences.
- Staff projects sales of Skill Connect Assessments might well reach 15,000 in May.
- Lowe’s has invitations out to 20 of its vendors to attend national conference. Staff reports some have already spoken of support.
- I’m sorry to report that Milt Ericksen from the Arizona Department of Education and representing NASDCTEc on the board has announced a job change, and he will be moving to the Arizona state agency that represents health and nutrition. As a result, NASDCTEc will be naming a new representative to our board. I expect to hear shortly. I personally thank Milt for all he’s done for SkillsUSA through the years, and I wish him well in his new endeavor.
- April 29 – 30, I attended ProStart, the competition of the National Restaurant Association in Overland Park, Kan. SkillsUSA and ProStart are going to be aligning our standards for competitions, and I hope doing much more together.
- And, I just returned from my final state conference visit to Florida. Carl Miller did a great job managing Florida’s largest state conference ever. SkillsUSA Florida also achieved the highest membership ever this year. Brandon Mullings, 2009-10 national officer, served as a keynote speaker, and it was great to spend time with him during the conference. SkillsUSA Florida ran 110 contests and over 3,000 attended the event.
From Washington, D.C., I flew to Minneapolis to present at the Minnesota Career and Technical Education Conference in Plymouth, Minn. It was great to work with Board Member Marlys Bucher and State Association Director Jennifer Polz. Jen and I gave two presentations on the SkillsUSA Work Force Ready System and our Skill Connect Assessments. The conference was attended by 270 teachers, school administrators and state department of education and Minnesota College and University System staff. The assessments were well received, and I had an excellent conversation with Minnesota State Director for Career and Technical Education, JoAnn Sismer, regarding support for SkillsUSA and the integration of our assessments as an option for meeting federal requirements that measure technical skill attainment.
- I spoke during the North American STEM Education Symposium held October 3 and 4 in Manchester, N.H. My presentation was on the Skill Connect Assessments and how they can be used to assess STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills. Approximately 150 STEM educators attended, and the presentation was well received. As a matter of fact, one member of the audience who identified herself as a school administrator stood up and addressed the audience saying: “These are the best assessments on the market. Check them out.”
- Next stop was Graphics EXPO at McCormick Place in Chicago from October 4 to 7 at the invitation of Eileen Cassidy and Ralph Nappi of NPES. Two SkillsUSA students were honored during the show. One was a Championships gold medalist for three straight years and the other student – who is from the same instructional program – was the NPES design contest winner. I met with executives from Heidelberg and Xerox while there. Xerox is very interested in the Skill Connect Assessments.
- I conducted board training in Indianapolis, Ind. on October 12 and met with Julie Yeater, former SkillsUSA board president. Indiana is attempting to recruit more board members from industry. So, board member Ted Norman of MSSE and I made some calls, and I’m pleased to say that Snap-on, Caterpillar, Air Products, State Farm and Lowe’s have all expressed interest in having their local representatives serve on state association boards across the country.
- During our last staff meeting, we received several pieces of good news. Six sites have been selected and mentors identified for the YouthBuild grant project. A meeting is scheduled with U.S. Department of Labor officials to discuss the project. The Alumni Coordinating Committee met here in Leesburg recently. Alumni membership is now over 17,300, and Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin alumni are working on their constitutions to establish their state associations. We’re writing a contract with The Center for Energy Workforce Development to develop a new assessment for the center using our employability skills assessment and engineering assessment and cross walking both to the Career Skills Education Program. The Center is working under a Gates Foundation grant. Staff reported on excellent meetings in Kansas City with the IBEW, Teamsters and the Kauffman Foundation, among others.
- And, membership is up 13,248 over last year at this time and 1,139 Skill Connect Assessments have been sold this year.
- I’m pleased to report that colleges have been ordering Skill Connect Assessments to use as pre-tests this fall. That’s a promising trend. And, as school begins this year, we have 44 assessments to offer, whereas last year at this time, we had only eight. Our latest assessments include engineering technology and customer service, and they are getting a lot of attention.
- The FY10 strategic goal for alumni membership has been well exceeded and we’re pleased to announce that our alumni membership now stands at over 17,000. Several states are working to set up state alumni associations. Having a full-time alumni coordinator is paying off! Thanks again to Air Products and Lowe’s for their support to make this milestone possible.
- And, here’s a surprising figure: staff reported during our staff meeting on August 24 that if the 2011-12 SkillsUSA Championships Contest Projects were printed, they would run to 1,900 pages. My how we’ve grown.
- FY10 ended on August 31, and we’re finalizing August financials and preparing for the end-of-year audit. Staff just completed inventory and auditors were here last week reviewing product numbers and sales figures.
On July 18, I attended the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Conference. I believe there were 3,000 teachers in attendance and there’s no doubt that CTE has top-level respect in Georgia. They did two “Legislator of the Year” awards, and the legislators showed up.
I did two well-received and well-attended presentations on the Work Force Ready System on the 19th. My sessions included representatives from the Georgia Department of Education. A real highlight during the conference was the announcement that the department of education has not only added the full list of Skill Connect Assessments to the state-approved list, it’s also making the resources available for the students to take them.
State association director Gayle Silvey held her first annual Georgia SkillsUSA University. Approximately 75 teachers and administrators attended and they received some great materials in addition to the training.
On May 19, I met with the National Coordinating Council of the Career and Technical Student Organizations for our bimonthly meeting at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). Margaret Romer, deputy director at OVAE, hosted the meeting. She said the Office wants to do much more to use CTSO students in visibility for career and technical education within the department, with policymakers and with the public. Among her specific proposals are more meetings at the Department of Education when CTSO students are in Washington, more appearances by the Department of Education before CTSO audiences and conducting a joint Webinar with the student presidents and officials in Washington under the auspices of OVAE as we’ve done in the past.
On the policy front, Romer told us that Jim Stone, director of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education will be joining our July meeting to discuss a new research project on CTSOs supported by OVAE. She also confirmed that Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier is committed to having career and technical education included in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) known as “No Child Left Behind” in the previous administration. Romer also told me she is looking forward to reviewing the SkillsUSA Employability Skills Assessment. People in the field have been telling her to take a look.
Brenda Quinn, CEO of intelitek and staff members including YDF member Mike Ogilvy, met with us on May 18 to discuss marketing and progress on the Work Force Ready System. All of us remarked on how much has been accomplished during the past three years. We’ve delivered 44 assessments to the field – including the National Automotive Student Skills Standards Assessments (NA3SA) in conjunction with ASE – and there are still a couple of assessments nearing completion and a few more are planned for next year, including two from PrintED.
- We held our second-to-last National Leadership and Skills Conference staff meeting on May 11. Registration is up over last year in many of the states. We have 16 new exhibitors and the outdoor booth space for TECHSPO is sold out. SkillsUSA University boasts 74 sessions, and the alumni association is counting on 41 volunteers and 21 alumni attending conference for training. All in all, it appears this is shaping up to be a great national conference.
- The meeting with the NCCER Board of Trustees mentioned in a prior post went very well. I was pleased to meet with many of the nation’s largest contractors. NCCER will be chairing our Carpentry contest.
- On May 13 and 14, we had representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture here. They were conducting an assessment of the USDA grant SkillsUSA received from the Rural Development Office to provide PDP Online to select rural communities. The program is complete and the USDA representatives said they liked what we’d done.
- The Skill Connect Assessments continue to generate interest in industry and elsewhere. They were the subject of a conference call with Job Corps representatives yesterday. Also, during the week of May 10th, we had a visit with NIMS (National Institute of Metalworking Skills) which has an interest in co-branding, and the chairman of Adayana visited on May 13 to express his interest in using the assessments abroad.
- We’re getting ready for a large number of VIP visits to national conference by both public- and private sector guests. We’ve been preparing itineraries to make sure our guests see and hear everything possible during their times with us.
Have you heard about the Skill Connect Assessments, but you haven’t yet had the chance to try them? The Skill Connect Assessment Team will be hosting a demonstration center in Booth M (in the corner of Lobby 2500 near the Ballroom) of the SkillsUSA TECHSPO in Kansas City, June 22-24.
Advisors/teachers/administrators are welcome to stop by for a hands-on demonstration. Over 40 career and technical education assessments areas will be demonstrated.
- The final membership report will be coming out today, and it looks like it will be above 304,000 and alumni membership is over 9,000. This is a remarkable year.
- Staff reports that orders and preview requests for the Skill Connect Assessments have been pouring in steadily this month and last. They say that previews result in orders. There’s interest in all of the assessments currently available. According to staff, orders are from across the country with some concentration on the eastern seaboard and the central states, but no particular pattern except “everywhere.” Staff also visited North Dakota recently to present to high school and college administrators. The college administrators were doubtful at first, but became very enthusiastic as the day progressed. The high school administrators were enthusiastic all along.
- Online news clippings from September through March have gone to all of the state associations for their use. Staff reports that most of the recent stories are about local and state conferences and competitions – of course – but there are also a lot of nice features including reports on State Farm grant projects such as an energy-independent portable classroom including photovoltaic solar panels and geothermal heating in Maryland.
- And, Engineering Alliance continues to pick up momentum. We’ve been getting questions on how to sign up entire school districts. That’s a nice challenge to have. Staff will be part of the Project Lead The Way train-the-trainer conference later this month.