June 26th, 2012
Today, nearly 6,000 competitors will compete in 94 contests in Bartle Hall, its Conference Center, Municipal Auditorium, American Royal Center and the downtown Marriott and Phillips hotels. 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 are going on with primary ballots being cast for our new national officers.
This evening, be sure and join us for SkillsUSA night. This year, conference attendees will have two choices for the evening: Worlds of Fun or Kauffman Stadium with the Kansas City Royals.
June 15th, 2012
We’re on the road toward another great conference. On June 6, the Teamsters started moving equipment for the Championships out of storage. The postal carts we use to load supplies for the national office are in our office hallways, and the truck will be leaving for Kansas City on Monday, June 18.
Here are some of the numbers:
- 9,905 paid registration. A record
- 5,948 contestants. Another record
- More than 350 industry and education guests
- 1,414 volunteers including 163 in the Courtesy Corps
- 35 high school and college/postsecondary national officer candidates
- 125 alumni will be attending including 39 former national officers. The most ever to pre-register
- 100 more people are registered for Leverage, Activate and Engage over last year’s Officer 101/201 and advisors’ conference, a new record and,
- 300 more tickets have been sold for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle raffle than last year
Special Guests attending conference include Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of Education (OVAE), Sharon Miller, OVAE, Jane Oates, assistant secretary of Labor (ETA), Simon Bartley, president of WorldSkills International, and Bill Symonds, director of Harvard’s Pathways to Prosperity Project. We will also have 17 Harley-Davidson executives joining us, large groups from State Farm, Caterpillar, IRWIN, NCCER, Snap-on and others.
We will have two ads in the Kansas City Star – one on Thursday, June 21 and a half page on Sunday, June 24, saying thanks for moving the conference to accommodate the All-Star Game.
June 15th, 2012
We have secured assistance for Wednesday night to help those contest medal winners who receive heavy, bulky or a lot of industry awards. There will be a designated UPS shipping area at Kemper Arena and it will be announced to the state directors on Saturday, June 23rd. The advisors, or designated state representatives, can meet the medal winners at that UPS location to assist.
SkillsUSA is working with the UPS Store at 4741 Central, Kansas City, MO 64112. The store is located at the Country Club Plaza at the corner of Central and Ward Parkway. Telephone: 816-561-3226. Their email is email@example.com. They will accept credit cards, checks and cash as payment. Please pass the word to your advisors.
June 1st, 2012
Following three days in the office, I was back on a plane to Jacksonville, Fla. for the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) Board of Trustees meeting, May 8-11. On the evening of May 8, NCCER CEO Don Whyte, Board President Bob Parker, the board and over 100 special guests attended the dedication of NCCER’s new national headquarters building outside of Gainesville. It is an impressive facility and it was dedicated “to the men and women who build the world.” The main entrance to the building is accented with brick pavers that honor the companies and individuals who contributed to the building campaign. The SkillsUSA logo appears on two of the bricks. One is for the donation from and me and another staff member. The second is for the donation from Boyd Warsham, chairman of our National Carpentry Contest Technical Committee, former state carpentry competitor and SkillsUSA alumnus. Boyd is also the senior vice president of the Haskell Company, a major industrial construction company and the builder of the NCCER headquarters.
William Symonds from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and project director at the influential Pathways to Prosperity Project was one of the keynote speakers at the dedication. I had a long conversation with Symonds and he knows SkillsUSA very well. He told me his son’s life had been changed when he enrolled in a culinary program in Massachusetts and when he competed in the Massachusetts SkillsUSA Championships. During his speech, he spoke passionately about the need for CTE as a major element of education reform in the USA. He also announced that Harvard will convene a National Pathways to Prosperity Conference following the presidential election. He extended a personal invitation to me to participate. This is a discussion that SkillsUSA needs to be part of and I’m thrilled that we will be there.
I was appointed to another three-year term on the board of trustees during the board meeting the following day. Other board action included discussion of a new international outreach initiative in training, curriculum and assessments and a new marketing campaign, “Build Your Future,” to get youth excited about careers in construction.
May 14th, 2012
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, in partnership with SkillsUSA, is proud to announce a new scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA members who have competed and placed first in their state association competition. Get the details here: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/mikerowe2.shtml. A total of 50 $1,000 scholarships will be awarded. The application deadline is June 1.
May 12th, 2012
We have posted many SkillsUSA Championships contest updates on our Web page. To view them, please visit: www.skillsusa.org/compete/updates.shtml and make sure the information gets to the national competitors.
There aren’t updates in every contest; just in some. If new information is presented about a contest, the information can be critical to a student’s competition. We request 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.
If we don’t have a competitor’s home address in our records, the information will go to the state association director to be sent to the students. After June 1, please make all students should check their mail for any contest update information.
May 1st, 2012
On April 2, SkillsUSA briefed staff of a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee subcommittee preparing for hearings to discuss ways to address the skills gap. Staff was particularly interested in things done by and with our partners, such as the CAT ThinkBig program. The staff also appreciated our helping them to secure potential witnesses from among our sponsors. One of the witnesses on April 17 was from the American Welding Society.
More in the “it’s nice to be asked”category. Staff and I had a conference call with the Boston Consulting Group on Monday. The Group is working with Harvard Business School on the topic of U.S. competitiveness. The goal of the project is to identify a set of actions that companies can take to improve competitiveness, and they thought SkillsUSA would be a good source. We were also called for an interview on the increasing popularity of “trade schools” by “Fox Business.” (We can’t correct everything in the news.) Here is the link to the story: www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/04/06/going-to-trade-school-should-do-it. And, staff member Eric Gearhart and Bob Skodzinsky of Haas Technical Education Center Network were the primary sources for a tremendous three-page feature article entitled “Student Journey: From SkillsUSA to WorldSkills”printed in the March 2012 edition of Manufacturing Engineering published by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The article really ties together the need for skilled workers, SkillsUSA, the Championships and the WorldTeam.
During the first week of April, we signed an agreement to coordinate where we can with Rebuilding Together (formerly known as “Christmas in April”), an organization dedicated to renovating homes owned by the poor and elderly. They do 10,000 projects every year. We’ll encourage our members and partners to work with Rebuilding Together and serve on their local affiliate boards. For their part, they have several major partners and several excellent visibility opportunities every year, including the Super Bowl.
Skill Connect assessment sales are brisk. SkillsUSA University has 75 classes confirmed and eight more pending. We have a record number of President’s Volunteer Service Award winners with 122 individual awards representing 34,251 hours of service and 11 team awards totaling 19,097 service hours.
April 30th, 2012
All SkillsUSA Championships competition clothing should be purchased through SkillsUSA’s officially licensed merchandiser, EGroup. If EGroup doesn’t offer some item of official competition clothing required by some contests (e.g., plain black slacks, culinary tunics), such items of competition clothing may be purchased from non-EGroup sources, but must comply with clothing rules set forth in the Technical Standards 2011-2012 or in the contest updates, if cited. Official competition clothing can be purchased at: www.skillsusastore.org/skillsusa/productthumbnails.asp.
March 31st, 2012
Students can now earn additional recognition for their participation in SkillsUSA under a grant from the MacArthur and Mozilla Foundations. The Manufacturing Institute led the proposal with input from SkillsUSA and Project Lead the Way to earn digital badges credentialing students who have attained skills through learning organizations. Over 500 teams applied for the grants and only four were selected. Other winners include Disney/Pixar and NASA’s Robotics and STEM System.
SkillsUSA students in manufacturing programs will earn the badge by doing two of the following: earning a Skill Connect certificate; winning a medal in a state-level Championships; earning levels one and two in the Professional Development Program; and, receiving a manufacturing certification.
March 15th, 2012
Nearly 80 SkillsUSA Championships technical committee chairs and members attended meetings on February 29 – March 1 in Louisville, Ky., in preparation for the move of the National Leadership and Skills Conference from Kansas City in 2015. This was our first face-to-face pre-conference meeting in quite some time. For the past few years, technical committee members have held webinars because they know the layout in Kansas City. In this instance, they got to explore.
An essential part of the meetings was a tour of the Kentucky Exposition Center. Committee members were impressed by the space. They liked the plan to group contests into occupational clusters. One of the committee members said: “That’ll be good for the industry.” Staff also took the opportunity to review the Championships Technical Standards, policies, operations and judging with new and “seasoned” committee members.