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Executive Director’s Report: May 15, 2014

May 15th, 2014

STEM Demonstrations by SkillsUSA in Washington, D.C.
SkillsUSA students demonstrated aspects of their occupational programs during the third annual USA Science & Engineering Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C., April 25-27, 2014. More than 325,000 people attended, including 180,000 students and teachers. Six students from C.S. Monroe Tech in Leesburg, two students from Thomas Edison High School (Md.) and two students from the Edison Academy in Fairfax (Va.) put on demonstrations illustrating STEM education in CTE. There were demonstrations of 3D Printing/Advanced Manufacturing, Culinary Arts, Dental Assisting, Robotics and Welding. Three national officers were also in the booth – Cole Fallis (Ohio); Brittany Velez (Mass.); and, Laura Goullion (Calif.). Our national officers were featured on the Mike Rowe stage Saturday morning of the Festival where they delivered the 9 a.m. keynote presentations. Headliners at the Festival included Bill Nye the Science Guy and Mike Rowe.

It was nice that the opportunity for SkillsUSA to participate came through Mike Rowe and mikeroweWORKS. His office started talking to us about participating shortly after the June national conference. They thought we should be there. Our 10×40 exhibit space was next to the Mike Rowe booth. Mike also helped us make a connection with Walmart Foundation which gave SkillsUSA an $11,050 grant to cover expenses for the Festival and floor space in its exhibit. In the same pavilion were other valued SkillsUSA partners including CAT, Lincoln Electric, the American Welding Society and Universal Technical Institute.

Dave Worden said that Walmart executives were pleased with the results of including SkillsUSA in the exhibit and many additional new business and industry contacts were made. Particular thanks to Niki Clausen, Dave Worden and Jim Kregiel for participating and pulling the team together for SkillsUSA. Here are some photos from the event.

Highlights

  • On Tuesday, April 22, Natalie Crede and Malinda Lindimore, two HR executives from Safelite, an auto glass replacement company, visited the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center for a reception with staff in the morning. A little later, we took them on a tour of the Frederick Career and Technology Center in Maryland. Martha Lowry, the SkillsUSA school advisor, had her leadership team meet us at the door. We met with the principal, the culinary students served hors d’oeuvres, we toured the school and then students spoke on how SkillsUSA participation had changed their lives. It was a moving experience for all concerned. Safelite presented SkillsUSA with a sponsorship-level $25,000 check in what they said they hoped would be the first of many donations. The company is particularly interested in customer-relations skills because a lot of its work is done in customers’ driveways. Natalie and Malinda were very complimentary of the SkillsUSA brand and our leadership curriculum. Thanks go to Don Hermanek of IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) and Russ Hoffbauer of State Farm for the introduction. Check out these photos from the visits.
  • On the evening of April 22, I addressed the GAERF (Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation) board of directors during its meeting in Washington, D.C. I spoke on our partnership with GAERF on the Skill Connect Assessments (which GAERF has now recognized as certifications for the printing industry), the skills gap and workforce shortages. Board members asked if there are ways we can work together on advocacy. They’re concerned because they’ve been seeing graphic communications programs closing. On a brighter side, I had a former CEO of a major printing company ask if there was anything he might do to support us in Ohio. Mike Cowles has already had his first meeting with the company in Dayton.
  • On April 10 and 11, I was in Jacksonville, Fla. to introduce Mike Horn of Pro Services at Lowe’s to Boyd Worsham, chair of our Carpentry contest technical committee and vice president of Haskell Company, a national contractor. We were joined by Don Whyte, president and Steve Green, vice president of NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research). The topic was how best to work with commercial contractors. This is one of those instances where SkillsUSA was happy to make the introductions.
  • While there’s no specific movement on Perkins reauthorization, we’re pleased to note that 94 members of the House of Representatives and 25 Senators have helped champion federal funding for CTE. In separate letters to House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees, the large bipartisan coalition urged a strong federal investment in Perkins in upcoming appropriations bills. Thanks go to ACTE and NASDCTEc for their leadership and to Representatives Thompson (Pa.) and Langevin (R.I.) and Senators Blumenthal (Ct.), Baldwin (Wis.) and Kaine (Va.) for leading in their respective chambers.
  • Sales of Skill Connect Assessments are up by over 3,600 tests at this point in the year. We understand our customers are very happy with the support desk at K2Share and with the new delivery system.
  • We’ve heard great things about state association spring conferences including those in Ohio and Maryland. I attended conferences in Florida and Massachusetts (more in the next issue). And, you might like to see how Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia used their medallions and winners to get lengthy TV news coverage and demonstrations. See it here – http://tinyurl.com/kvzl9la.
  • I just returned from the NCCER board of trustees meeting in San Francisco, and I’ve had it confirmed that one of our students will speak during their Construction Industry Institute meeting this summer. Present will be owners of major construction companies.

That’s it for now. Thanks for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

Bring $25,000 to Your Community – State Farm Neighborhood Assist

March 14th, 2014

Have you ever wanted to help your community with a problem but didn’t know where to start? Maybe you wanted to help fix up a run-down park or to help the impoverished in your community.  Now, YOU have the power to fix it. State Farm Neighborhood Assist wants to help identify and address key issues faced by consumers throughout the United States and parts of Canada.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist, a crowd-sourced philanthropic initiative, lets communities determine where grant funding is awarded, exclusively through Facebook. The application is short and simple, and I encourage you to learn more by visiting: https://apps.facebook.com/sf_neighbor_assist/ or by watching this short at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=easesPoLrVg. You, or someone you know, could be the catalyst for positive change for your community cause!

The submission phase is open until March 23, and each Facebook user who downloads the free application can submit up to three causes. Anyone living in Canada or the United States with a Facebook account is eligible to submit a cause. It’s better to submit early – a maximum of 4,000 submissions will be accepted. All you have to do is submit the cause; you don’t have to “run the program.” The cause must fit into the categories of safety, community development or education.

After the submission stage ends, the State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB), a group of college and high school students from across the country, will read and narrow down all the submissions to the top 200 finalists. What the YAB is looking for:

  • How much does your “Cause” focus on an unmet need in this community?
  • Why do you feel the $25,000 would address the unmet need?
  • How much of a lasting impact on this community would the proposal have?

Once the top 200 causes are identified, they will appear on the Facebook application to be voted on by you and your community. The voting stage will last from April 28 – May 16 and each Facebook user gets 10 votes every day. Winners will be announced on May 27.

Please share this amazing opportunity with your colleagues, friends and family and help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. Together, you and State Farm can help create safer, better educated and more engaged communities!

Here is a sample Tweet: Help our community become an even better place to live by submitting an idea for a #SFNeighborhoodAssist! http://st8.fm/bqr

Sharing our Journeys

October 15th, 2013

Following the STEM meeting, I flew to Columbus, Ohio and joined state director Mike Cowles and two of his state officers, along with Cole Fallis, national region III vice president, to prepare for a meeting on September 26 with the CEO of Safelite Group. Safelite’s corporate headquarters is in Columbus and the connection to this company was made through IAA and reinforced by State Farm Insurance. Russ Hoffbauer, board member from State Farm also flew to Columbus to be a part of the meeting. Tom Feeney, Safelite CEO and his entire corporate senior staff, hosted the meeting and provided a comprehensive overview of Safelite’s operations, culture, social responsibility agenda and leadership development process. It was a great learning experience for all of us, especially the student leaders. We then provided an overview of SkillsUSA, our programs and leadership model, including a presentation by Mike Cowles about the SkillsUSA Ohio program and a presentation by Russ Hoffbauer on why business supports SkillsUSA. However, the highlight of the day was when Haley Pickett, Tyler McComb and Cole Fallis spoke from the student’s perspective and told their personal stories about how SkillsUSA had made a positive impact on their lives. We will follow up with Safelite and I am confident that we will soon count them as a major partner, both at the national and state levels.

And, I just returned from Seoul, Korea and Louisville, Ky. I’ll elaborate on these trips next time.

Leverage, Activate, Engage!

June 22nd, 2013

Leverage Activate and EngageEven though most conference participants won’t arrive in Kansas City until Monday or Tuesday, there’s still a lot going on as our the conference contest areas are being prepared for the events of the 2013 SkillsUSA Championships. Of course, registration for conference is in full swing in Bartle Hall.

Probably the biggest event of the day is the beginning of the 2013 Leverage, Activate and Engage conferences. These events are dynamic training sessions for state officers, chapter leaders and advisors. They are sponsored by Lowe’s and State Farm.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see the latest photos and get up-to-the-minute news and information about the 2013 NLSC. Of course, we’ll be posting a link to our photos on our home page, or you can access the page directly.

You can also download the official conference program here. It is a PDF document and is viewable on smart phones and tablets.

Searching for States for State Farm-funded Training Seminars

April 15th, 2013

State Farm logoState Farm Insurance is, once again, generously sponsoring regional Professional Development Program (PDP), Chapter Management Institute (CMI) seminars, Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) and Enhance Your Chapter (EYC) seminars.  All materials and training will be free to participants. The only cost is $30 for lunch and breaks. PDP participants will receive a complete set of PDP materials and free licenses for each level. CMI participants will receive an ASK CD, a SkillsUSA Leadership Handbook and the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards CD package. CSEP participants will receive one free CSEP license.  EYC participants will receive the Leveraging your Leadership Series and other new materials.

If you would like to sign-up for or host a regional PDP, CMI, CSEP or EYC training seminar, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or sbland@skillsusa.org. A minimum of 25 participants is needed to conduct the training.

For the latest seminar information go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/training.shtml.

May 4, 2013
Region V State Farm Funded-Professional Development Program (PDP), Glendale, Ariz.
Registration Deadline: April 19, 2013

May 9, 2013
Region I State Farm Funded – Enhance Your Chapter (EYC), Leesburg, Va.
Registration Deadline: April 25, 2013

May 18, 2013
Region I State Farm Funded – Chapter Management (CMI), Augusta, Maine
Registration Deadline: May 3, 2013

Two State Farm Grant Opportunities

April 15th, 2013

State Farm is offering two grant opportunities and has invited SkillsUSA members to participate.

State Farm Service Learning Grants

State Farm logo

State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB) service-learning grant applications are available now until May 3. The grants range from $25,000 – $100,000 and are designed to create sustainable change in local communities across the United States and Canada. Public K-12, charter, higher education institutions, and non-profit organizations are eligible if they are able to demonstrate how they plan to impact student achievement within the public K-12 curriculum. All applicants must have a youth contact and adult administrator, as the programs must be youth-driven and youth-led.

Each grant request must fall under one of these issue areas, chosen by the board itself: Community Safety; Environmental Responsibility; Financial Literacy; Access to Higher Education; or, Health and Wellness

As of August 2012, six years after the initial launch of the YAB, the board has awarded more than $24.7 million in grants to organizations in the U.S. and Canada and impacted approximately 14.1 million lives.

Find out more at: www.statefarmyab.com. You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube! If you have questions, please contact Brad Corriher at Brad.corriher.pz3k@statefarm.com.

State Farm Celebrate My Drive Program

State Farm is offering a grant opportunity for schools to possibly win either one of 10 $100,000 grants; one of 90 $25,000 grants; or a grand prize concert for a school by a chart-topping music artist.

The program Celebrate My Drive is a safe driving program where one’s community will also be encouraged to make safe driving commitments on behalf of a school during the commitment period. The more commitments made, the better the chances of winning a grant for a school and maybe even a concern by a chart-topping music artist. For more information on the program, please go to: www.celebratemydrive.com.

Regional PDP, CMI and CSEP Training Seminars

January 30th, 2013

State Farm Insurance is, once again, generously sponsoring regional Professional Development Program (PDP), Chapter Management Institute (CMI) seminars and Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) seminars. There will be one training session (CMI, PDP or CSEP) per region. All materials and training will be free to participants. The only cost is $30 for lunch and breaks. PDP participants will receive a complete set of PDP materials and free licenses for each level. CMI participants will receive an Advisor’s Success Kit (ASK) CD, a SkillsUSA Leadership Handbook and the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards CD package. CSEP participants will receive one free CSEP license.

If you would like to sign-up for or to host a regional PDP, CMI or CSEP training seminar, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or sbland@skillsusa.org. A minimum of 25 participants is needed to conduct the training. For the latest seminar information, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/training.shtml.

Regional PDP, CMI and CSEP Training Seminars Update

December 13th, 2012

State Farm Insurance is, once again, generously sponsoring regional Professional Development Program (PDP), Chapter Management Institute (CMI) seminars and Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) seminars. There will be one training session (CMI, PDP or CSEP) per region. All materials and training will be free to participants. The only cost is $30 for lunch and breaks. PDP participants will receive a complete set of PDP materials and free licenses for each level. CMI participants will receive an ASK CD, a SkillsUSA Leadership Handbook and the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards CD package. CSEP participants will receive one free CSEP license.

If you would like to sign-up for or host a regional PDP, CMI or CSEP training seminar, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or sbland@skillsusa.org. A minimum of 25 participants is needed to conduct the training. For the latest seminar information, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/training.shtml.

Project Ignition Grants Reminder

November 1st, 2012

Project Ignition (PI), is in the driver’s seat again, announcing the availability of $2,000 grants for public high schools to address teen driver safety using service-learning. In its ninth year, PI is a great extension of Celebrate My Drive™ and another way to interact with local high schools on safer teen driving behaviors.

Public high schools are invited to get involved in Project Ignition by applying for a grant, available at www.sfprojectignition.com. Get connected on Facebook at www.facebook.com/projectignition.

The deadline for grant applications is Nov. 15.

State Farm-funded Training Update

June 15th, 2012

Chapter Management Institute (CMI)
July 17, 2012
Where: Omni Corpus Cristi Hotel Bayfront and Marina Tower Corpus Cristi, Texas
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Registration Deadline: July 3, 2012
Fee: Training and materials are free to participants. There is a $30 registration fee to cover lunch and breaks.
Contact: Jennifer Davis at 888-480-8482 or jennifer@tiva.org

Region IV Advanced Chapter Management Institute (CMI)
July 30 – 31, 2012
Where: Best Western Premier the Lodge on Lake Detroit 1200 East Shore Drive Detroit Lake, MN 56501 218-761-8439
Time: Monday, July 30th 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. & Tuesday, July 31st 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Registration Deadline: June 15, 2012
Fee: Training and materials are free to participants. There is a $30 registration fee to cover lunch and breaks.
Contact: Jennifer Polz at 763-560-1932 or skillsusaminnesota@comcast.net


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