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Need an End of the Year Charitable Deduction?

December 12th, 2013

Need an end-of-year charitable deduction for your 2013 tax return?  You can reduce your tax liability and support SkillsUSA’s mission delivery by making a donation to SkillsUSA’s foundation.  Click on the blue “Donate” button on SkillsUSA’s home page and follow instructions.  If you already have a standing pledge to the Skills Build America Campaign, you can advance your 2014 pledge payment or make an additional one-time gift.

You may also want to consider a gift of appreciated stock.  This offers several advantages.

  •  Avoid capital gains tax on the stock donated
  • Acquire a tax deduction for the value of the stock donated
  • Support SkillsUSA students and programs.

Please contact SkillsUSA’s Eric Gearhart at 703.737.0603, egearhart@skillsusa.org if you desire to explore a donation of securities.

SkillsUSA is a IRS-designated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.  All donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

 

Need an End-of-Year Charitable Deduction?

November 26th, 2013

Need an end-of-year charitable deduction for your 2013 tax return?  You can reduce your tax liability and support SkillsUSA’s mission delivery by making a donation to SkillsUSA’s foundation.  Click on the blue “Donate” button on SkillsUSA’s home page,  www.skillsusa.org, and follow instructions.  If you already have a standing pledge to the Skills Build America Campaign, you can advance your 2014 pledge payment or make an additional one-time gift.

You may also want to consider a gift of appreciated stock.  This offers several advantages.

  •  Avoid capital gains tax on the stock donated
  • Acquire a tax deduction for the value of the stock donated
  • Support SkillsUSA students and programs.

Please contact SkillsUSA’s Eric Gearhart at 703-737-0603, egearhart@skillsusa.org if you desire to explore a donation of securities.

SkillsUSA is a IRS-designated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.  All donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Highlights

August 29th, 2013
  • I’ve met twice with a local management consultant – and another meeting is scheduled for early in September – to discuss creation of a human resources plan. We’ll begin by conducting an analysis of SkillsUSA’s structure and processes, including staffing and staff succession, so we know we are appropriately aligned to meet the goals in Vision 2020.
  • We held a staff meeting on August 6 and the chief topic was the 2013 National Leadership and Skills Conference. Small cross-departmental teams reviewed the national conference and offered up their five best superlatives and five major challenges. Among the superlatives: excellent general sessions, particularly the quality of the speakers; good news media coverage; the registration process went well with improvements implemented during the past two years; addition of TAG Tuesday for delegates; and YDF Breakfast and Challenge Fund. We also did some brainstorming for the 50th anniversary celebration.
  • The Challenge Fund held during conference raised $140,000 from corporate and individual contributions. All monies were dedicated to the Skills Build America Campaign.
  • We’re finding SkillsUSA appearing more frequently in papers and books focusing on skill gaps and worker shortages. One of the most recent is in the book The U.S. Technology Skills Gap: What Every Technology Executive Must Know to Save America’s Future. The central thesis by author Gary Beach is that the widening “skills gap” in math and science is a threat to America’s future, and business should get involved. The very first example of a public-private partnership — in the chapter entitled “Let’s Build Some Arks” — is SkillsUSA, 1965. He wrote in the chapter: “Do your homework and learn more about CTE.” Beach called our offices last week to say “SkillsUSA was way ahead of the game.”
  • SkillsUSA will be featured in a nationwide PBS broadcast entitled “American Graduate Day” on Saturday September 28. The program is about community organizations that are successful in preventing dropouts. SkillsUSA will be both an example of a community organization and of CTE. We have been compiling stories of students who stayed in school and have gone on to greater things thanks to SkillsUSA, their instructors and others. There will be much more to tell in the coming weeks.
  • Bob Baird of the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), chair of our Industrial Motor Control contest and long-time friend of SkillsUSA, came to visit on August 7 to discuss ways IEC and SkillsUSA can support each other at local, state and national levels. Support from IEC would include work by its chapters in training, contests, and advocacy. We also spoke of possible support from some of IEC’s corporate members. Bob expressed interest in the Professional Development Program as a curriculum for apprentices.
  • I attended a meeting between youth organizations and the Army at Ft. Myer to discuss the Army’s SAY Program (Strengthening America’s Youth) The Army involved us in a discussion of STEM education and recruiting the best youth with technical skills into the military. I suggested, and it was well received, that the Army give preference through rank and pay to students who come to them with technical and leadership credentials such as being a SkillsUSA officer or a leader in another student organization. The dialogue continued the following day when the representatives of the Army visited our office to discuss our 2014 partnership.
  • Jacob Wozniak of Springville, New York won the qualifying trial in Cabinetmaking for a spot on the 2015 SkillsUSA WorldTeam. Jacob will compete in Sao Paulo, Brazil in August 2015. He is a graduate of the Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES program and he won the 2012 high school Gold medal in Cabinetmaking. Jacob competed against Caleb Floyd, the 2012 high school Silver medalist from Kathleen, Ga. and Warner-Robins High School, and Brett Sidesinger of Topeka, Kan. and Washburn Tech, who was the highest scoring age-eligible contestant from the 2013 Cabinetmaking contest. The Cabinetmaking Qualifying Trial was conducted at the biennial AWFS Fair in late July at the Las Vegas Convention Center, thanks to the generous in-kind sponsorship of the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS).  WorldTeam Cabinetmaking technical expert Rob Tobias of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster, PA, served as the chief judge.
  • I recently received a note from Daniel Berrios, our 2013 WorldSkills Cabinetmaking competitor about his experience in Germany. “The WorldSkills competition was one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences I have ever had. It felt like the Olympics. The mixture of cultures, languages, and people really brought about a sense of unity and equality among all competitors. The confusion and excitement are hard to put into words, but in the end it was all about a good friendly competition; no politics nor boarders, just people doing what they love to do with a focus on winning a medal. The competition itself was intense, and the cabinet was one of the most difficult projects I had ever done, with lots of complex angles, cuts, and joints all while thousands of people watched my every move. Every cut had to be perfect and nothing less would suffice, although, I do admit I did make a few mistakes on my cabinet. But, I have no regrets on how I built my project, and if I had the opportunity again, I would do it in a heartbeat.”
  • Speaking of quotes, here’s an excerpt from an email by Judy Rambert of Pivot Point, a long-time supporter of SkillsUSA and the WorldTeam. She wrote after listening to my remarks during the recent Congressional Roundtable: “I sat listening to your speech on Capitol Hill tonight, and it reminded me why Pivot Point cherishes our involvement with SkillsUSA. Your message captured our commitment to the youth of our profession. Students involved in SkillsUSA chapters have superb statistics of completing their education. You all must be so proud!”
  • And, the Best of Brand Awards were presented during the state directors’ conference in South Portland, Maine. Congratulations go to Best of Innovation: Advocacy – Tennessee college/postsecondary; Best of Innovation: Membership Growth and Engagement – Michigan; Best of Brand: Print – Wisconsin; Best of Brand: Multi-media – Arizona; and, Best of Brand: Website – Oregon.

Atlanta Meeting with State Association Directors

February 14th, 2013

Mike Cowles chaired the annual meeting of the State Association Directors’ Executive Committee, January 23-26. I was joined by several staff members. The committee devoted much of its agenda to planning the state directors’ summer conference to be held this year in Portland, Maine. We also had a frank discussion on both this year’s national conference registration fee increase and about states signing up under the national liability insurance policy.

We received good feedback on the first draft of the FY14 strategic plan. They were enthusiastic about proposals for outreach such as a monthly e-newsletter to school administrators. They also strongly supported our working to engage with state departments of education to make SkillsUSA a priority. They want us to emphasize the importance of training advisors in chapter management when we meet with departments of education and state CTE directors. There was also a great deal of interest in cross-walking SkillsUSA curriculum to the Common Core Standards. They specifically recommended an instructor guide on how the Professional Development Program can reinforce teaching the Common Core. Speaking of core, they recommended that SkillsUSA develop an easily understood framework that helps teachers deliver the SkillsUSA core program that creates student success. They were enthusiastic about the Skills Build America individual giving campaign saying they want to be more involved and do more to promote it at the state level.

Thanks go to all involved and particularly for the chair leadership of Ohio state association director, Mike Cowles.

 

Highlights

February 14th, 2013
  • The Youth Development Foundation Committee met through a conference call on January 30 to discuss major funding priorities. The majority of committee members participated, and we were joined by two new members, Taryn McKenzie of Delmar, Cengage Learning and John Kett of Insurance Auto Auction International. The next YDF meeting is scheduled for April 16-17 here in Leesburg.
  • I had a great telephone conversation with SkillsUSA Champion of the Year and Snap-on CEO, Nick Pinchuk, on January 31. Nick says he’ll be making some high-level contacts for SkillsUSA, and he’s willing to travel on a couple of occasions this year to visit partners and high-value prospective sponsors. I also thanked him for his generous personal contribution to the Skills Build America campaign.
  • As you may recall, I served on the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE) Independent Advisory Panel. I recently received word that the interim report from the NACTE was sent to Congress on February 8, way ahead of any serious talk of reauthorizing the Perkins Act. The more comprehensive final report is due to be released in the fall of 2013.

Skills Build America Campaign

December 15th, 2012

Happy Holidays from all of us at SkillsUSA. We hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season and I want to personally thank you for the work you have done to lift up and inspire advisors and students this year. I wish you and yours a safe, healthy and prosperous 2013 and I look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Skills Build America CampaignI am pleased to announce “Skills Build America,” the first individual giving campaign in the history of SkillsUSA. The campaign provides an opportunity for those who have supported the organization to demonstrate a personal commitment to strengthen the future workforce of America.

Our goal is to raise $1 million over the three years leading up to SkillsUSA’s 50th anniversary in 2015. The campaign will begin in the next week, and we are mailing more than 18,000 letters to teachers, lifetime alumni members, SkillsUSA Championship volunteers and many more.

Our initial phase of the campaign is to engage donors in a three-year pledge and I would like to invite you to be part of this important effort. Funds will be used to increase membership, provide state associations with funding to strengthen student leadership training, and create a network for alumni members to have access to professional development and employment opportunities.

If you do not receive a letter but would like to join the campaign, please go to: http://donate.skillsusa.org. Help us reach our goal of $1 million and Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present and Build the Future!


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