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Lowe’s Grant Webinars

September 14th, 2012

SkillsUSA is pleased to announce a continuing partnership with Lowe’s for 2013. As part of its overall grant to SkillsUSA, Lowe’s will award grants to local chapters of up to $25,000 each to support classroom improvements, upgrade or provide tangible tools for learning technical skills, support leadership development opportunities, or provide for competition clothing that will give students the opportunity to compete at SkillsUSA events that would otherwise be unattainable. In support of chapters applying for grants, a series of webinars will be held to help chapters through the grant application process. Get the details here: The deadline for applications is November 1, 2012.

CTE Month and Highlights

March 1st, 2012

We just finished CTE Month and we had a lot going on here at SkillsUSA. That includes social media activity during SkillsUSA Week, a new board member, a new staff member and a shout out from the Assistant Secretary of Labor. So, here are some of the highlights during this shortest month of the year.

  • As part of our SkillsUSA Week celebration, February 6-10, we experimented using advertising on Facebook by posting the SkillsUSA public service announcement (PSA) featuring alumna and NASCAR reporter, Wendy Venturini. The ad ran from February 9-12. The campaign reached over 420,000 unique viewers and yielded nearly one million impressions. To view the PSA, go to: and scroll down to the video window of Wendy. We used the 60-second version.
  • Also during SkillsUSA Week, we heard about lots of activity from around the country as our chapters and state associations were engaged in advocacy and service activities. We were happy to have approximately 100 attendees on our SkillsUSA Week webinar on Tuesday, February 7 and pleased by the special guests, Russ Hoffbauer, both student national presidents and one of our business partners, former board member (and SkillsUSA alumnus), John Hinesley, who gave the keynote speech.
  • I’m pleased to announce that Lowe’s Senior Vice President, Troy Dally, will be joining the board of directors. And, last week, I had my first phone conversation with the new Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation director, and she sounded excited about the partnership with SkillsUSA.
  • Chance Litwin, this year’s SkillsUSA college/postsecondary national student president has been invited to attend the 2012 Building a Grad Nation Summit in Washington, D.C., March 18-21. The annual event brings together community groups, educators, local and state leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses and youth to discuss efforts to increase high school graduation rates. The Summit is expected to draw 1,000 people including General Colin Powell and U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Chance was chosen from over 200 student applicants. State Farm is a Premier Sponsor for the Summit.
  • On February 21, Christen Battaglia joined the Office of Business Partnerships and Development to help with our fundraising. We’re very glad to have her with us and know you’ll give her a hearty welcome when you meet her.
  • Here is the latest on SkillsUSA membership. Remember, tomorrow (March 1), is the deadline for not only competitors, but officer candidates and delegates as well. We have 296,490 members entered now and 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; Maryland, Chuck Wallace; Massachusetts, Karen Ward; Mississippi, Andy Sims; New Hampshire, Lynda Demers; New Jersey, Pete Carey; New York high school division, Bruce Potter; Oklahoma, Darren Gibson; Pennsylvania, Jeri Widdowson; Rhode Island, Josh Klemp; Virginia, Ed Sullivan; and, West Virginia, Paul Lovett. And, a reminder that professional membership and alumni memberships count, so if you have staff, board members, corporate members or others (including yourself), be sure and submit them today. Individuals who are industry partners and other friends not affiliated with a local chapter can join online at the following link:
  • SkillsUSA Champions magazine won a silver award this year in the Association Trends All-Media Contest. Among the judge’s comments: “This submitted issue lives up to the mission statement with excellent and focused content and clean and easy-to-read design elements. This organization has a strong Web presence and a digital version to further enhance its commitment to members.” Congratulations to Tom Hall and the Office of Publications. If you would like to see the winners gallery (including honors to past SkillsUSA publications), please visit:
  • Mike Cowles was in Washington on February 7 as part of a delegation from Columbus, Ohio to visit the White House to discuss metro economic revitalization and job creation and how the city can work with small and large businesses to do it. This was one of 40 similar meetings planned by the White House. The delegation included the mayor of Columbus. Mike joined them because of the role of career and technical education in economic development and education. He told me that at one point during the meeting he started to talk about SkillsUSA, and Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates said to the entire delegation: “SkillsUSA is a great organization. If you’re not involved with it already, you need to be.”
  •  We’re putting the final touches on a rigorous selection process for SkillsUSA WorldTeam and we’ll be keeping our state association directors informed right up front on the process and the candidates. We’ve also restructured the management team. I will be serving as the official delegate. Scott Norman from Pittsburg, Kan., is our technical expert. Dave Worden is our assistant technical expert and Heidi Ambrose is the team leader.

* The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) held a conference call the other day to ask the career and technical student organizations to help in the promotion and participation in the administration’s National Education Startup Challenge, an entrepreneurial look at education. SkillsUSA is happy to help. While on the subject of OVAE, President Obama’s 2013 budget flat-funds Perkins at $1.13 billion. One of the three key themes in the budget is “Jobs: aligning job training and education programs with workforce demands.”

* Sales of the Skill Connect Assessments are double what they were last year at this time and sales of ASE automotive assessments – in which SkillsUSA shares – are also way ahead of last year. We’ve been very fortunate to have an assessment expert helping us review the Skill Connect system, providing significant advice on how and where we can make improvements to the system and helping to develop a tool to show teachers the weighting of competencies in the tests. That will be a big help to teachers to prepare their students.

* Finally, there were 700 entries in the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) pin and T-shirt design contest. That’s pretty neat. And, we held our first NLSC staff meeting on Valentine’s Day.

Webinar: So You Want to Be a National Officer?

February 29th, 2012

Do you know a student you think would make a good national leader? Has he or she wanted to run for a national SkillsUSA office but wasn’t sure how?

This webinar features experts who will provide an overview of the national officer candidate procedures and national officer responsibilities. You will also get to hear first-hand experience from a current national officer.

March 14, 2012, 1 p.m. EDT
Telephone: 888-222-0475
Attendee code: 5692952

Alumni Professional Development Webinar

February 15th, 2012

The SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association will be offering a one-hour webinar on “Understanding Auto Insurance: What coverage is for me?” with partner Elephant Auto Insurance. It’s free and no registration is required, just call and log in at: Telephone: 888-222-0475, URL:, Attendee code: 6837807 Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012 3 p.m. EST.

Webinars Coming in 2012

December 29th, 2011

Three national web conferences are scheduled for 2012. It’s your chance to hear from and communicate with national staff. We’ll provide some training and information on professional development, some updating and motivating advice and tips on being a national leader.

Please join us for one or all of these events. Invite students, officer teams, key advisors, fellow instructors, alumni and others.

Value of Professional Development – January 18, 2012, 1 p.m. (EST)
No matter who you are or what you do, professional skills can make or break you. Business and industry look for quality employability skills, not just technical skills. Find out why this set of skills is important to your future success.

Telephone: 888-222-0475
Attendee code: 5692952

SkillsUSA Week: Skilled and Motivated – February 7, 2012, 1 p.m (EST)
Use this webinar to help kick off SkillsUSA Week celebrations. Hear from your SkillsUSA leaders on the state of the organization. Listen to a special guest speaker on what it means to be “Skilled and Motivated” which is this year’s theme. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

Telephone: 888-222-0475
Attendee code: 5692952

So You Want to Be a National Officer? – March 14, 2012, 1 p.m (EST)
Have a student you think would make a good national leader? Have they wanted to run for a national SkillsUSA office but weren’t sure how? Then this webinar is for those advisors or students! Our experts will provide an overview of the national officer candidate procedures and national officer responsibilities. They will also get to hear first-hand experience from a current national officer.

Telephone: 888-222-0475
Attendee code: 5692952

Mentoring Webinar

October 24th, 2011

Thanks to everyone who participated in our mentoring webinar. If you did, please take a moment and complete this survey:

Student2Student Webinar

October 15th, 2011

On November 1, you’re invited to participate in a webinar on SkillsUSA’s national Student2Student Mentoring Program. Discover how this program can help you accomplish many chapter goals such as performing community service or helping to endorse career and technical education. Use this program to help SkillsUSA support the America’s Promise Alliance and use the hours to help students qualify for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Doing a Student2Student mentoring project can also help your chapters attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in June.

Telephone: 888-222-0475
Attendee code: 5692952
Date: Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011
Time: 11 a.m. EDT

SkillsUSA’s Recent Webinars

June 1st, 2011

SkillsUSA has been making use of our online capabilities with a series of webinars for members and leaders. On May 10, Niki Clausen and the Alumni & Friends Association offered another in their Professional Development Webinar series, using the expertise of SkillsUSA alumni. This one was on financial management and was conducted by Bryan Doxford, a past national officer from Utah, and now a credit analyst AVP at New York Business Development Corporation. Alumni webinars are recorded and archived on the SkillsUSA website on the alumni page.

On the evening of May 11, we had the initial briefing webinar for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam to help team members prepare for things such as international travel. Most of the team was online. In a couple of instances, mom or grandmother were sitting in because the team member had to be at work. Mark Claypool, team leader moderated. Joining him online were Don Hatton, technical delegate to WorldSkills International, and Ada Kranenberg, official delegate to WorldSkills International.

And, on May 12, we held a webinar with the officers of the SkillsUSA State Association Directors Executive Committee to finalize the agenda and best practice and training sessions for the association’s August meeting. Also discussed were constitutional amendments and this month’s national conference.

Webinars are a Wonderful Way to Travel

March 1st, 2011

SkillsUSA is very big on communications, and the national office has been “webinar central” the past month. We’ve held four online conferences: two for state association directors; another for alumni; and, the webinar for SkillsUSA members during SkillsUSA Week.

On February 8, students and teachers from 18 schools nationwide tuned into the SkillsUSA Week inclusion and diversity webinar on “Respecting All Perspectives.” Board President Russ Hoffbauer addressed the group saying how pleased he is that SkillsUSA is discussing inclusion and diversity because this is also an important issue to business.

The February 4 webinar with 16 state association directors was a discussion on SkillsUSA’s online conference registration system. During their August meeting, the state directors asked us to make our registration system more user-friendly, and our consultant, Mark Williams, has been doing just that. He’s even created a series of online training modules to walk users through the process. Reactions from the participants were extremely positive including posted notes that said: “Love the changes.”

On February 17, the state association directors’ executive committee conducted an hour-long webinar for the 18 directors who signed in. This was a follow-up report on their meeting in January including: minutes; proposed Constitutional amendments; the improvement of services to states by the SkillsUSA Store and stock of core products; and, the August Professional Development Conference. There were also updates from national staff on Vision 2020, state association insurance, national conference updates, membership mega prizes and an April membership registration task force to include some non-SkillsUSA instructors to help us improve online registration by next school year.

And, on February 15, the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association held its first membership service webinar on enhanced communications. Three of our alumni members served as the expert speakers on topics including job interview techniques, communication and asking questions and serving as a mentor. There were 18 participants, and it seemed a propitious start to this kind of membership service.

All the webinars have been archived, so we strongly encourage those who could not participate “live” to go to our website to view them.

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