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Highlights

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.

Heart Saver SkillsUSA University Session at NLSC Reminder

April 30th, 2012

The SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association is offering the American Heart Association – Heart Saver course during SkillsUSA University at NLSC 2012. This session is open to all NLSC participants, educators and students and will be offered Sunday, June 24, 1 – 4 p.m.

Every three seconds in the United States someone suffers from a cardiac arrest or other cardiac-related emergency. The American Heart Association now offers a hands-on approach to ensure victims receive immediate care by non-medical personnel. This short SkillsUSA University session will provide the basic knowledge to save a life in the event of such emergencies.

The pre-registration fee is $20 for this certification, $30 registration fee at the door (space permitting). The presenters are: Brice Harader-Pate, RN, BSN and alumna, and Emily Hughes, EMT-B and alumna. Pre-register for this course at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/936H8BM

Contact Niki Clausen at nclausen@skillsusa.org or 703-737-0639 with questions or for further information.

2012 SkillsUSA University Reminder

February 15th, 2012

We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topics to present at the 2012 SkillsUSA University in Kansas City, Mo. All sessions will take place at the Downtown Marriott Hotel or the Kansas City Convention Center on June 25, 26 and 27.

We ask instructors who would like to present to send emails with proposed topics to Deborah Tripp at dtripp@skillsusa.org.

Possible topics: local chapter activities; fundraising; community service; SkillsUSA Program of Work success stories; business etiquette; communication skills for students; local industry partnerships, etc. These can be best practices (with a local advisor presenting) or an expert in the subject area. If you do not want to present, but you have suggestions for workshop topics, please feel free to forward them to us.

The deadline for proposals is February 24. For more information and a Request for Proposal (RFP), go to: www.skillsusa.org/events/skillsuniv.shtml.

Highlights

January 15th, 2012
  • On January 4, I traveled to the offices of the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, D.C. to meet with Vince Bertram, the new executive director of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), and with the executive director and staff from the Technology Student Association (TSA). Vince is interested in revitalizing the Engineering Alliance (EA), the online joint venture between TSA and SkillsUSA for students in PLTW. He said he likes the concept for leadership and competitive events, and he wants us to prepare a proposal to seek a sustained commitment to EA.
  • On January 5, I met with executives from Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to rehabilitating housing in poor communities. Every year, they hold what they call “Big Builds” and some involve well-known personalities and big events. (They’re even tied into the Super Bowl this year.) Americorps is also involved. Their proposal is that we initiate a pilot project pairing 10 of our best chapters with 10 of their best affiliates to work on community service projects together. We’ll be reaching out to select state directors to pair local chapters with the strong affiliates that Rebuilding Together identifies as the preferred pilot sites. This initiative certainly helps SkillsUSA meet the request in recent student polls to make available more local service opportunities. Representatives from Rebuilding Together will attend our national conference, have an exhibit booth and make a SkillsUSA University presentation.
  • Congratulations to the following state associations for exceeding last year’s overall membership. They are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing more states as they exceed last year’s overall numbers. A reminder – professional membership and alumni membership counts. Individuals like industry partners and other friends not affiliated with a local chapter can join too online at the following link: www.skills-register.org/rpts/JoinAsProfessional.aspx.

A Day of Service and the Awards Ceremony

June 24th, 2011

This morning, more than 500 students are heading out into the greater Kansas City area to perform community service. This year, participating students and advisors will have the opportunity to work two different service projects, both of which will have a positive impact on the environment in the Kansas City community by planting trees and serving at a Kansas City food bank, which distributes as many as 66,000 meals a week. This community service event is sponsored by Timberland PRO, which has partnered with us at the national conference since 2002.

Also happening this morning is the Champions 5K Run, which begins at 9 at Parkville Nature Sanctuary in Parkville, Mo.  All proceeds benefit the SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association.

SkillsUSA University will be wrapping up today, and the delegates will have their last meetings and cast the final ballots for the students who will represent them as national officers for the upcoming school year.

Tonight, we head back to Kemper Arena for the Awards Ceremony, sponsored by Lowe’s. We will be honored to hear from Robert Wagner, Senior Vice President of Store Operations, Lowe’s. The winner of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle raffle will be announced, and the new national officers will be sworn in. And of course, SkillsUSA Champions will receive their gold, silver and bronze medals.

Awards Ceremony tickets are available at the booth outside of 2103A in Bartle Hall. The cost is $10. They will also be available for purchase at Kemper Arena.

Can’t make it? You can always watch the live stream courtesy of Lowe’s. Details are available here: www.skillsusa.org/events/nlscvideo.shtml.

Highlights

June 15th, 2011
  • At the recommendation of Frank Carroll, former SkillsUSA board member, president, Bosch Power Tools North America and full-time SkillsUSA champion, we held a meeting here in Leesburg on May 26 with Larry Teverbaugh, CEO of K2Share and Robert Wagner, senior VP, Lowe’s and SkillsUSA board member. The agenda revolved around Vision 2020 and how we can employ the talent and influence of top corporate executives to reach those goals by tapping into their business acumen for strategic guidance – such as developing appropriate and responsive business models for SkillsUSA – and using their leverage appropriately for financial development. It was an excellent half-day meeting and gave the invited staff plenty to think about.
  • Here’s the latest national conference by the numbers. Conference registration – even in these tough financial times – is up over last year to 9,647. A good sign is that state associations are asking for more hotel rooms. And, we have 5,745 contestants registered That’s more than last year even though we have two fewer contests. We have 79 SkillsUSA University seminars scheduled (74 last year) and there are 144 TECHSPO exhibitors, 30 of them are new. The 101 and 201 State Officer and Advisor Training registration is way up (over 70 more participants) this year to 269 participants from 25 states. SkillsUSA’s partners are giving away $100,000 in travel scholarships related to students attending conference.
  • Stephen Gold, CEO of the Manufacturing Alliance, came by for a visit on the morning of May 16. Staff and I provided an overview of SkillsUSA and Gold oriented us to the Alliance. Several of our partners serve on the Manufacturing Alliance board of directors, including CAT, Air Products and Snap-on. Emily DeRocco and I presented to the Manufacturing Alliance board in Washington, D.C. on June 9. Gold sees SkillsUSA as part of the solution for the manufacturing pipeline issue facing the nation’s manufacturers. The Alliance has over 300 manufacturing companies as members. He will also be attending the NLSC.
  • On May 18, I participated in the inaugural meeting of the National Youth Safety Advisory Council. Led by CareerSafe and supported by federal OSHA, the council is comprised of leaders from industry and education. Friends of SkillsUSA on the Council include CAT, FFA, Chad Maclin of Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools, Dr. Chip Harris from Tennessee State University and Mike Raponi, former SkillsUSA board member and CTE director from Nevada. The Council will be sponsoring the first National Young Worker Safety Day in conjunction with our NLSC on Tuesday, June 21. The goal of NYSAC is to review current and future safety regulations and policies set forth by OSHA and to help determine the best ways to train and educate young workers including methods and data collection processes.
  • Membership in the Alumni & Friends Association is close to 20,000.
  • Lowe’s will have 13 vendor companies attending conference this year.
  • There were 49 signatures on the “Dear Colleague” letter to support Perkins funding when it was sent to the chairman and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Service and Education in mid-May. It will probably be one of many letters in the months ahead.

Highlights

April 1st, 2011
  • Membership now stands at 299,879 paid student and professional members and 30 states have now exceeded their membership last year. Memberships continue to come in slowly, and we now have 18,969 alumni members. . A reminder – professional and alumni memberships count; so, be sure to add yours as soon as possible and encourage others too. Here’s another reminder of the Web link that has simplified the process for individuals joining SkillsUSA as professional members (non-advisors/instructors): www.skillsusa-register.org/reports/JoinAsProfessional.aspx.
  • On March 8, we received a “Sustainability Post-Occupancy Evaluation” (what we call an “energy audit”) on the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center conducted by Second Eden Studio. The draft report looks at eight areas including energy, carbon, water, and building materials. A nice feature of the audit is that suggestions for improvements are ranked in three categories: low or no cost, moderate cost and then the big one, investment. That’s language we understand. The final report is due June 2011.
  • Nicholas Pinchuk of Snap-on was honored as the Business Leader of the Year by the Association of Career and Technical Education during the Policy and Planning Seminar on March 8. I was honored to attend, along with SkillsUSA Board Member, Greg Rintala of Snap-on.
  • Staff spoke recently to trainers of the International Training Institute for union apprentices. She said of the 150 trainers in the audience, only 10 had ever heard of SkillsUSA; but, they thought they needed to know a lot more now.
  • On March 16, I taped a radio interview with “The Money Pit” Home Improvement Media. It was broadcast on Sunday, March 20, and was nationally syndicated to 210 stations including WABC AM in New York City. I covered information on the need for skilled workers in construction and what it means for students to be career ready. The Money Pit connection came about through the CEO Champion of the Year program for John McGlade of Air Products last fall. Tom Kraeutler, president, was one of the invited news media guests for that event.
  • It was reported to the staff on March 16 that we now have orders for 6,200 Skill Connect Assessments, double last year’s orders. She said three states have already ordered assessments for their state competitions and two more are to come.
  • And, finally, we already have 60 SkillsUSA University presentations booked, and the Championships office has held six webinars with technical committees and national education team members to get ready for conference.

2011 SkillsUSA University Reminder

February 15th, 2011

We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topics to present at the 2011 SkillsUSA University in Kansas City, Mo. All sessions will take place at the Downtown Marriott Hotel or the Kansas City Convention Center on June 22, 23 and 24.

We ask state directors or instructors who would like to present to send e-mails with proposed topics to Deborah Tripp at dtripp@skillsusa.org.

The deadline for proposals is February 22. For more information and a Request for Proposal (RFP), go to www.skillsusa.org/events/skillsuniv.shtml.


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