- The SkillsUSA Foundation, Inc. met October 16-17 at the National Leadership Center in Leesburg. In brief, the group discussed the name change from the Youth Development Foundation to the SkillsUSA Foundation, Inc.; discussed opportunities for their involvement to obtain support for the transition to Louisville; and, discussed collaborating efforts on a SkillsUSA/Skilled Trade Awareness Month to bring greater attention to both SkillsUSA and skilled trade issues. A big thank you goes to the Foundation members for their dedication and commitment to the SkillsUSA mission. We are grateful for their service. We also look forward to working with Kaye Morgan-Curtis from Newell Rubbermaid as a new Foundation member.
- We finished counting the number of congressional visits made by during WLTI. This year, students and advisors visited with 37 Senators, 72 Representatives and 1 Resident Commissioner, for a total of 110; and, we received excellent feedback from the visits. We also heard some nice comments from the attendees this year too, some of which include … “It was a great and awesome experience, truly transforming; All activities were definitely an experience of growth and learning; Thank you, it was a great conference!; This was my first SkillsUSA conference and it had a dynamic effect on my students. Thank you for all you do; I am an alumni and it was wonderful to see the wonderful things SkillsUSA still does for students; and, I so appreciated the opportunity to meet staff and to be able to interact with others throughout the nation.” A big thank you to the board of director members who accompanied students on their Capitol Hill visits.
- And, on October 18, we held our annual staff outing with a lovely autumn lunch and wine tasting at a local winery. We honored years of service at the luncheon for six of our staff members: Stephanie Bland, five years; Jim Kregiel, 10 years; Jane Short and Missy Wilson, 20 years; Kim Graham, 25 years; and, Judy Garrison, 35 years. Of course, each and everyone on our staff is an amazing resource for SkillsUSA. We have such a great staff.
- SkillsUSA was featured on the PBS program “American Graduate Day” and aired live nationwide on Saturday, September 28, from noon – 7 p.m. EDT. The program spotlighted 20 organizations – including SkillsUSA – that help keep students on the path to high school graduation and successful futures. Among the SkillsUSA features were SkillsUSA alumnus Chris Jimmerson and his teacher, Alice Boss, both of Ypsilanti, Mich. No surprise therefore that SkillsUSA Michigan has posted the clip. So if you missed it, see below:
- Staff recently traveled to McDonough, Georgia to meet on upcoming new initiatives for the organization. Upcoming events include a college postsecondary task force meeting, planned for November 6-8, in Leesburg, Va. This meeting will focus on specific needs of college/postsecondary members both in recruiting and engaging students. Participants will include college/postsecondary members, national officers, advisors and state directors.
- The Marketing and Membership Services team is establishing a strategic membership advisory committee. This new group will meet December 10-12 near Dulles Airport to focus on strategic membership initiatives that will produce large scale membership growth while ensuring sustainable membership business models. Participants will be primarily board and foundation members.
- Staff conducted an advanced and a basic Chapter Management Institute training in Mt Sterling, Ohio, October 17-18 for 50, and another in Haines City, Florida on October 24 for 37.
- We have finished counting the number of congressional visits made by during WLTI. This year, students and advisors visited with 37 Senators, 72 Representatives and 1 Resident Commissioner, for a total of 110, and we received excellent feedback from the visits. We also heard some nice comments from the WLTI attendees this year too: “It was a great and awesome experience, truly transforming; All activities were definitely an experience of growth and learning; Thank you, it was a great conference!; This was my first SkillsUSA conference and it had a dynamic effect on my students. Thank you for all you do; I am an alumni and it was wonderful to see the wonderful things SkillsUSA still does for students; and, I so appreciated the opportunity to meet staff and to be able to interact with others throughout the nation.”
The 2013 Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) was the largest and probably one of the most amazing in our history. Capitol Hill visits will be reported in a few weeks, and they will set new records. In addition to the wonderful stories of the connections the students made with their elected representatives, we also heard so many stories about the patriotic connections that students made as they toured national monuments, experienced our wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and at the Pentagon 9-11 Memorial.
WLTI definitely hit a new registration high with 371 attending representing 29 states and Puerto Rico. It took seven buses just to get the group around. We had some great presenters, including Johan Uvin, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education and Robin Utz and Sharon Miller also from OVAE. We also had representatives from the Association for Career and Technical Education, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the College Board and Jobs for the Future talking about advocacy, opportunities and challenges for career and technical education. It was a great five days.
We’re still counting the number of congressional visits made by the students and teachers during WLTI and I’ll let you know that next time, but the reports from the state delegations are very complete and we are receiving excellent feedback about their visits. And, Niki Clausen reports that WLTI participants wrote over 200 notes to soldiers overseas during this year’s community service project.
SkillsUSA also enjoyed some good sales of the educational resources during WLTI. The booth enabled teachers to review materials and hear first-hand from other teachers how the materials are being implemented in local classrooms.
The SkillsUSA Washington Leadership Training Institute definitely hit a new registration high with 371 attending representing 29 states and Puerto Rico. It took seven buses just to get the group around. We had some great presenters, including Johan Uvin, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education and Robin Utz and Sharon Miller also from OVAE. We also had representatives from ACTE, NASDCTEc, NASSP, The College Board and Jobs for the Future talking about advocacy, opportunities and challenges for career and technical education. It was a great five days.
Materials, speakers and panelists are ready to go for the largest WLTI ever at 373 students, advisors and state directors from 30 states compared to 314 last year. Johan Uvin, the deputy assistant secretary at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education will be our featured luncheon speaker and Robin Utz, chief of the College and Career Transitions Branch and Sharon Miller, director of Academic and Technical Education from OVAE will be our featured morning speakers. We also have some great panels coming together for the advisors and the students thanks to our friends at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the National Association State Directors of Career and Technical Education consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the College Board, and Jobs for the Future. There are four new states attending and 14 of 15 national officers will be with us.
- Jonathan Irizarry , past national secretary and I met with other career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) on July 25 during the National FFA Washington Leadership Institute (WLI). FFA pulls together all of its state presidents for training and Hill visits during its WLI. SkillsUSA was invited to participate in student and educator panels with other organizations to discuss opportunities and concerns of CTSOs. In all, four student organizations participated and representatives from the Association for Career and Technical Education. Among the top concerns of the adults were engaging students, alumni, membership growth and finding ways to honor instructors. I talked about engagement in our strategic plan and Vision 2020. Jonathan did very well talking about leadership training at WLTI, state certified trainers, and training at national conference. He also talked about a day-long symposium he’d put together in Puerto Rico where he used the WLTI experience as a model and brought in local businesses to do the training. Students were engaged and networking too.
- The National Coordinating Council of the CTSOs (NCC-CTSO) met on July 30. Among the topics of conversation were high school redesign and higher education initiatives at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education; prospects for education legislation in Washington (parties are very far apart and likely there will have to be a continuing resolution to keep funding at current levels); and, creation of a NCC-CTSO website. The website project is being led by a SkillsUSA staffer. Also of interest, the CTSOs have compiled their membership numbers by state and by congressional district and produced state profile fliers to be used with their elected representatives. When we add up the members of all the organizations, it’s more than two million people. The fliers will be released later in the year.
- Videos of the speeches and presentations made during the Creating Pathways to Prosperity Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in March 2013 are now available online at: http://tinyurl.com/l9oqaex. The video of remarks by Nick Pinchuk, chairman and CEO of Snap-on can be seen at: http://tinyurl.com/mwjxy9l. Remarks by a former Massachusetts student state officer from Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional High School speaking as part of a student panel appear at the 44:29 mark at: http://tinyurl.com/mwjxy9l.
- Former Collision Repair Technology contest technical committee member, Bob Medved, interviewed Mike Rowe about the skills gap on Collision Hub during the national conference. A copy of the video appears on the mikeroweWORKS website at: www.mikeroweworks.com/2013/07/mike-rowe-explains-the-skills-gap-at-skillsusa-2013/.
The 2013 WLTI will be held September 21-25 at the Hyatt Dulles in Herndon, Va. A flier with more information is located online at this link.
On Tuesday, September 24, the students and advisors attending WLTI will have time to go to Capitol Hill and visit with their Senators and Representatives between 10:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (The bus departs at 3 p.m.) Appointments need to be set up ahead of time. A sample letter you can modify for your state appointments can be found here.
We suggest delegations first fax the appointment request letter and follow it up with a phone call. Letters sent by mail may take a month to reach Congressional offices because of security systems. But, if you do send a letter, please write or type the address – don’t use a label. The label will be blackened because all congressional mail goes through an irradiation process. And, don’t rely on an email invitation. Congress is receiving a massive amount of emails right now, so there is a good chance it could be overlooked, depending upon the office.
If you have questions or need information about how to contact your members of
Congress, contact Jane Short at 703-737-0612 or by email at: email@example.com.
The 2013 WLTI will be held September 21-25 at the Hyatt Dulles in Herndon, VA.
A flier with more information is located online at: www.skillsusa.org/events/wlti.shtml.
This year’s Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) will be held September 21-25, 2013 at the Hyatt Dulles in Herndon, Virginia. Additional WLTI information is posted online at: http://www.skillsusa.org/events/wlti.shtml.
The SkillsUSA National Leadership Center was home to 54 wonderful students and instructors during the week of January 14. The annual training event for Ohio’s regional and state student officers draws upon many of the features in the Washington Leadership Training Institute, but then adds more. State association director, Mike Cowles put together a powerful and packed program.
Training activities included public speaking, teamwork and advocacy. The students got to put their new skills into practice on Wednesday, the 16th, during Capitol Hill visits to the offices of Senator Sherrod Brown and Representatives Bob Gibbs, Marcy Kaptur and Patrick Tiberi. (Republican Members’ offices were closed for an offsite retreat that day.) The students talked about the importance of career and technical education and SkillsUSA in their lives as education, in preparing for their careers, to the economy and to their communities. Mike told me the students had great visits and were polished in the delivery of their messages.
Other highlights for the delegation included a trip to visit the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) facility and to meet their executives; a meeting with the Maryland student state officers and state director Chuck Wallace; and more Washington events including a tour of the Capitol, a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns, a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon, a walk around The White House and visits to monuments and the Smithsonian. And, I had the pleasure to speak during their banquet just before the students received their Statesman Awards and medallions from their contests. All in all, Mike and his advisors put on a tremendous educational program for the student officers of Ohio.