March 15th, 2010
On March 2, we were back at OVAE, this time for the last Technical Advisory Committee meeting for Champions for Change. Fifteen of the committee members asttended including board member Wayne Kutzer and state association director from Massachusetts, Karen Ward. Dr. Sharon Miller, director, Division of Academic and Technical Education, spoke to the group and encouraged SkillsUSA to “get the word out” about the Skill Connect Assessments. She said they’re needed, and there is a great deal of interest in assessments right now, particularly in common core academics and technical standard assessments.
Glenn Cummings, deputy assistant secretary at OVAE, had visited with the NCC-CTSO group and mentioned specifically the great experience he had with our students at WLTI. Glenn also visited individually with all of the technical advisory committee members during lunch. We plan to conduct a demonstration of the Skill Connect Assessments in his office in the near future, and we’re inviting him to speak during conference.
The afternoon featured a third-party evaluation report by Melinda Findley Lloyd on progress at the vulnerable community sites. The testimony of the young people – and the teachers – is a powerful endorsement of the difference SkillsUSA’s programs and approach can make in people’s lives. In many instances, young people’s involvement in SkillsUSA gave them something they hadn’t had before: hope.
January 1st, 2010
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!
September 1st, 2009
We went right from the state directors’ meeting to the board meeting beginning with a great Southern dinner for both groups on Saturday. Following, new board President Julie Yeater led a discussion session among the board members and the state directors. In the main, state directors thanked the board members for their support of the association. There was also some discussion of the Skill Connect Assessments.
The next morning the board received reports on progress on the FY09 strategic plan, the Work Force Ready System (including a demonstration of the online tests) and updates on Vision 2020 and the Engineering Alliance. This was the first board meeting where the board reading file was sent electronically and the board approved of the process.
September 1st, 2009
We held nearly two full-day meetings with intelitek here at the national center to discuss progress on Skill Connect Assessments, including the status of each assessment and the roll out of the next series of tests. There’s no doubt that SkillsUSA is receiving enthusiastic responses from across the country; but, we’re still at work on details for several of the tests to be sure pilot testing is complete in time for projected test launch. We spent most of Thursday working on the business and marketing plans, including staffing. On Wednesday, we had a conference call at the request of a state department of education to answer questions on the delivery of the assessments on a statewide basis.
On August 27, I had a meeting at State Farm, thanks to board member Russ Hoffbauer. New national officers Zia Green and Stephen Lupton accompanied me. I met with Cameron Ferguson and one of Caterpillar’s worldwide talent recruiters for breakfast that morning. And, while I’m mentioning great partnership supporters, staff recently returned from a one-day trip to Allentown, Pa., where they met with executives from Air Products. They said it was a very productive meeting with lots of discussion about alumni membership among many other things.
The letters to Congress and the governors about their SkillsUSA Championships champions and Skill Point Certificate recipients have all been sent, and we’re getting responses asking for student home addresses. We have some state association directors who have caught on that this is a great excuse to pay a visit to the governors’ offices. We love it. SkillsUSA is building networks to support our students all the time.
May 1st, 2009
Membership is now at the highest level in the history of the organization. We’ve sent preliminary reports to state association directors and will produce a final report of all memberships in a few days. Thanks to all of you for helping make this another historic year. Another interesting note is that membership continues to come in because of the advantage of joining to get the Skill Connect Assessments. And, as of this morning, we’ve sold 1,203 assessments.