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August 1st, 2013
  • Welcome to our new members of the board of directors: Dale Derrickson, Region 1; Jennifer Polz, state directors’ association chair; Laurie Hackett, Youth Development Foundation Committee chair; and, Mike deCastro of Air Products (fulfilling Joe Pientrantonio’s term). Congratulations to the officers: James King, president; Brent Kindred, vice president; and, Chris Arvin, secretary. And, thank you for your service and leadership to: Mike Cowles, state directors’ association chair; Gerry Tylka, Region 1; and, Dave Camden, Youth Development Foundation chair.
  • While it’s not news about the national organization, I believe it’s good to share examples of what excellent and far-reaching work our state associations do. Here’s a story about the recent “Paint the Town” community service activity involving 250 students and teachers from 40 schools in Ohio. The intern reporter might need an editor but, I believe, he captured the spirit of the event here.
  • On July 23rd, I spoke on Capitol Hill to a round table of representatives from nearly 30 congressional offices — members of the CTE Congressional Caucus — about SkillsUSA as a CTSO and ways we help students transition from high school to college and work. The student national officers have just been here for nine days of training. And, we’ve established dates for the board meetings. The fall meetings will be Web conferences on November 19 for standing committees and November 20 for the full board. The spring meeting will be March 12-13 at Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, Nashville. The summer board meeting during conference will move back to Tuesday, June 24 and the Corporation meeting will be on Wednesday, June 25.

Major Movement in Tennessee

October 15th, 2012

On September 20, I flew to Chattanooga, Tennessee to address the Tennessee Board of Regents thanks to SkillsUSA Board President James King. The day started with a one-on-one tour of the new Volkswagen manufacturing plant and the Volkswagen Training Academy operated by Chattanooga State Community College /Tennessee Technology Center (CSCC/TTC) in partnership with Volkswagen. Students training at the academy are in an employment pathway and are hired at the Chattanooga plant when their training is complete. Courses are in precision machining, welding, industrial maintenance, lean manufacturing, teambuilding and mechatronics. Since the students are enrolled through CSCC/TTC, they are also SkillsUSA members. They had a national bronze medal Mechatronics Team at the Championships this year. Both Volkswagen and the college are proud of their team.

From Chattanooga, I traveled with Dr. Jim Barrott from CSCC/TTC to Cleveland State Community College for the Board of Regents meeting. Dr. King reported on the success of the Tennessee Technology Centers over the past year and told them SkillsUSA is an integral component of the TTC system and a proven method of delivering employability skills. After showing a brief SkillsUSA video, I gave a national overview of our program. I also commended TTC and Dr. King for their national leadership in education reform and in SkillsUSA at the college/postsecondary level. National officers Mary Kamuiru and Mark Roark spoke and then Mark introduced all 16 SkillsUSA Tennessee College/Postsecondary national gold medalists. The students presented each board member with a state gold medal. This was a great way to impress the leaders of the state’s postsecondary system. Thanks go to James King.


February 15th, 2012
  • Membership continues to run ahead of last year. We have 269,915 members entered now. That’s 715 more than this date last year. More states have surpassed their total membership last year. Congratulations to the following state associations for exceeding last year’s overall membership. They are California, Clay Mitchell; Connecticut, Heidi Balch; Hawaii, Gilbert Chun; Massachusetts, Karen Ward; Mississippi, Andy Sims; New Jersey, Pete Carey; New York high school division, Bruce Potter; Oklahoma, Darren Gibson; Pennsylvania, Jeri Widdowson; Rhode Island, Josh Klemp; and, Virginia, David Rathbone. And, a reminder that professional membership and alumni memberships also count. Individuals such as yourself, industry partners and other friends not affiliated with a local chapter can join, too, online at the following link:
  • On January 21, I was in Henderson, Nev., at a brand new state-of-the art technical center to do strategic planning with the Nevada board of directors and Mike Pointer. They put together a two-year plan and a copy has gone to Mike Raponi, past SkillsUSA state association director and now state CTE director.
  • I recently met with Tim Zilke, CEO of ASE. Mr. Zilke invited in the local expert on nonprofit management and human resource management ASE uses and he’s agreed to review our SkillsUSA succession plan.

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