- 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.
The national staff will be holding a debriefing meeting on August 6 to make sure we capture all of the positive things we want to continue during next year’s conference and to identify those things we need to correct. There are some of both. Addressing them is how we keep improving
I recently heard from Youth Development Foundation member, Cameron Ferguson of Caterpillar — and the person most responsible for getting Mike Rowe to conference — that he’d been in touch with Mike Rowe. Mike said “It was a privilege to speak to those kids. Very satisfying.” He’s also committed to a campaign to confront negative stereotypes about career and technical education — that’s clear in his “Profoundly Disconnected” campaign — and he sees SkillsUSA and companies supporting us as being part of it.
Cameron said Mike also wrote that he was “amazed how few people outside the industry know about SkillsUSA.” He said that of the thousands of comments he’d received online, the majority were surprised and pleased to learn of SkillsUSA’s existence. They also asked for information on how their children can become involved.
To see a brief interview with Mike Rowe while he was in Kansas City, go to: www.kmbc.com/news/kansas-city/dirty-jobs-host-america-undervalues-vocational-training/-/11664182/20731902/-/hexy22z/-/index.html?absolute=true&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=kmbc.
There’s another nice clip of Mike Rowe talking about the SkillsUSA slogan “Champions at Work” at the end of Tom Kercheval’s Week in Review video; but, be sure to watch the whole video. As always, Tom’s done a great job of capturing the atmosphere and excitement of the national conference. Go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S8OECvddJ0&feature=youtu.be.
News releases on the medalists and Skill Point Certificate recipients were sent to the newspapers right after conference, before July 4. News releases on medalists and Skill Point recipients were sent to 7,388 daily and non-daily papers. In addition, we sent releases about Skill Point recipients (there are more of them than medalists) to 2,591 more papers. The results are showing up in clippings.
We’re also emailing letters, copies of the news releases and contact information to Members of Congress, governors and state CTE directors so they’ll know about the success of their constituents and can send commendations. This year, we’re sending the information to the main offices back in the state. Those offices are closer to the constituents, and we’re certainly interested in making ties between the offices back home, state associations and chapters. We’ve received word from the office of Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas that he is interested in holding a reception for Kansas SkillsUSA winners . We hope and trust there will be more.
The SkillsUSA competition theme for the 2013-14 school year is:
SkillsUSA: Champions at Work
Educated and Skilled to Lead America
The topic to be addressed by contestants in the Chapter Display, Prepared Speech and Promotional Bulletin Board competitions is how our slogan, “SkillsUSA: Champions at Work,” relates to our national program of work in the area of professional development.
Within this topic, contestants might illustrate or discuss any of the following:
- How has your involvement in SkillsUSA ensured that you are educated in the areas of personal, workplace and technical skills needed to lead America?
- As indicated by research, what are the needed skills to fulfill the projected job market, and how can you obtain the education to be prepared to lead America?
- Why is it important to the economic success of America to build a society of educated and skilled workers?
- How has your involvement in SkillsUSA led to greater skill development?
- Why is continually updating your skills important?
- How has education changed to adapt to the skills needed to be successful in the marketplace?
- What can SkillsUSA do to ensure that its members are educated and skilled to lead America?
- How does the level of education and skills attainment affect America’s success in the global marketplace?
- What are the steps you would take to ensure you were receiving the right education and skills to fulfill the future job market?
- What SkillsUSA programs ensure that members are developing personal skills that are needed to lead America such as integrity, self-motivation, work ethic, professionalism, and responsibility?
- What SkillsUSA programs ensure that members are developing workplace skills that are needed to lead America such as communication, decision-making, teamwork, cultural-sensitivity and leadership?
- What SkillsUSA programs ensure that members are developing technical skills that are needed to lead America such as technical literacy, job specific, service orientation, professional development, and safety and health?
- How is SkillsUSA living out its mission to help its members become world-class workers, leaders and responsible America citizens?
The complete list of SkillsUSA Championships winners is now available at: www.skillsusa.org/compete/results.shtml. For individual scores for contestants only click on Detailed Scores at: www.skillsusa-register.org/rpts/EventScores.aspx. (To get these scores, you must have a contestant number and date of birth). This site also had the medalists by contest or state. Just click on “Medalists” to get this information. You can then view “All” or by the state or by the state and a specific contest. If you click on the very first box and select a year, you can see the old data from prior conferences.
Also, trade releases specific to each contest area are located at: www.skillsusa.org/about/mediakit.shtml. Please feel free to use the wording from these when publicizing your students’ participation (e.g., as a delegate, Courtesy Corps member, competitor, etc.) in the NLSC.
And, a reminder that a sample press release template has also been added to SkillsUSA’s advocacy site. It’s another way to help get the word out to the media. This press release is editable by the sender and can be sent to five media outlets at a time. The site can be reached by going to: www.skillsusa.org/about/policy.shtml and clicking on “advocacy site.”
Today, 6,000 competitors will compete in 98 contests in Bartle Hall, its Conference Center, Municipal Auditorium, American Royal Center, downtown Marriott and Phillips hotels, Penn Valley Health Science Institute and the Kansas City Firefighting Academy . It’s truly an awe-inspiring event.
Also today, TECHSPO will have its final day of exhibits and SkillsUSA University will continue. The delegate meetings be going on with primary ballots being cast for our new national officers.
This evening, be sure and join us for SkillsUSA night at Worlds of Fun.
I hope all chapter advisors will attend the special events today beginning at 7:45 a.m. CDT in the Count Basie Ballroom at the Marriott Downtown in Kansas City. There will be a continental breakfast followed by the Call to Action session where I’ll present SkillsUSA’s priorities for the coming year as well as national trends for career and technical education. Each attendee will receive a gift of appreciation and a chance to win other fabulous prizes. It’s all sponsored by 3M.
Afterwards, be sure and visit the SkillsUSA University session of your choice. A complete listing of sessions can be found here. SkillsUSA TECHSPO exhibits also continue today.
There are also many contests beginning today. SkillsUSA Championships contests are free and open to the public and can be found at Bartle Hall, Municipal Auditorium, American Royal, the Kansas City Firefighting Academy and Penn Valley Health Science Institute.
Tonight, the conference opens officially with the Opening Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Kemper Arena. Seating begins at 5:45 p.m. and all participants should arrive at least 45 minutes in advance. The ceremony itself begins at 7 p.m. CDT.
Mike Rowe will be the keynote speaker for the Opening Ceremony at this year’s National Leadership and Skills Conference. Thanks Caterpillar Inc. for sponsoring the Opening Ceremony and making it possible to have Mike Rowe at our conference.
Remember that the Opening Ceremony will be broadcast via the internet here. Thanks to Lowe’s for sponsoring our live web coverage.
As we prepare for the largest national conference in SkillsUSA’s history, we have a busy staff at headquarters focused on all the details that will make it a successful conference too. There are a myriad of projects being completed from the printed programs and other materials, to the scripts, agendas, VIP schedules, reviews of equipment and facilities, packing and arrangements for transportation. I could never draw up a complete list of the tasks that have to be done. This is a time of year when I reflect that SkillsUSA is fortunate to have a staff and volunteers who have everything covered. Conference registration is at a record high of 10,002 and SkillsUSA University will offer 69 sessions. The competitors number is nearly 6,000 … 5,927 to be exact.
“TAG Tuesday” (Train-Act-Grow), is a series of leadership activities to be held for delegates during national conference. In the morning, there will be workshops for high school chapter leaders and high school state officers and there will be separate workshops for college/postsecondary delegates on networking with business. The afternoon will offer experiential sessions for the high school delegates and one-on-one interviews with business representatives for the college/postsecondary delegates.
Following up on another introduction from Board member Russ Hoffbauer, Enterprise Holdings, Inc. — holding several car rental companies — is supporting national officer travel to the national conference this year with a $10,000 donation and is providing 11 vehicles for use during conference.
We have posted all SkillsUSA Championships contest updates we’ve received on our website. To view them, please visit: www.skillsusa.org/compete/updates.shtml and make sure the information gets to all national competitors. There aren’t updates in every contest. If new information is presented about a contest, the information can be critical to a student’s competition.
We’ve requested technical committee chairs complete contest updates by June 1st so the students can prepare. If they do add or change anything after June 1, we have to mail (by first-class mail) the information directly to the competitors.
- The final membership report for the 2012-13 school year is now complete (335,975 total) and is located at http://www.skillsusa.org/downloads/PDF/membershipreport13.pdf.
- On April 16-17, the SkillsUSA Youth Development Foundation (YDF) met at the National Leadership Center. The meeting was very well attended and was one of the most interactive on record. The meeting started with a review of the FY14 Strategic Plan. Chairman Dave Camden and our Business Partnerships and Development staff then led the Foundation through a series of exercises to help SkillsUSA with strategy to move our partnerships efforts forward. Dave Camden has now retired from Toyota, and this was his final YDF meeting. We are very pleased and excited that Laurie Hackett of Air Products will be assuming the position of YDF chair.
- Staff recently attended a meeting in New Orleans of the Workforce Development Committee of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). The NCCER desires to work with SkillsUSA on a “Skills to Industry Recruitment Alliance” that will engage NCCER commercial and industrial construction contractors and NCCER’s Build Your Future (BYF) program in a database development and mentoring tactic to supply more construction tradecraft workers. The industrial and commercial construction industry has major concerns with the tradecraft worker supply, especially now that the energy sector is growing quickly. NCCER is a major supporter of the national Carpentry contest. Staff also stopped by the SkillsUSA Louisiana Awards Ceremony and briefly addressed the audience.
- Staff members recently participated in a conference call with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) about becoming involved in the Mechatronics contest and a possible demonstration contest in 2014 in Additive Manufacturing. SME has recently projected that for every baccalaureate engineer, our economy needs seven engineering technicians.
- On April 10, staff attended a meeting of the National Council of Career and Technology Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO). SkillsUSA will be helping NCC-CTSO create a common website that promotes CTSO missions and membership and provides shared elements of all nine CTSOs.
- Staff members attended the Missouri state conference, the Kentucky state conference, the Texas high school state conference, the South Carolina state conference and the New York state conference.
- Staff members also traveled to Louisville for NLSC 2015 planning and attended the Equipment and Engine Training Council (EETC) annual conference in Bloomington, Minn.