- With all of our activity during the past month or so, including the Washington Leadership Training Institute and WorldTeam, over 30 days we had an 87 percent increase of “likes” on the SkillsUSA Facebook page. What’s more, our active users are up 111 percent, the number of people looking at posts is up 383 percent and feedback is up 453 percent. Every time we posted new photos or videos, the site would get 4,500 impressions. During the first week of October, 67,246 people viewed posts on our news feed. A good comparison here is to the first week of September when we had only 12,680 people viewing the news feed. Good news and activity gets great attention.
- On September 29, I had a conference call with Larry Teverbaugh, CEO of K2Share. We will be signing a new memorandum of understanding to continue our CareerSafe agreement with K2Share, and Larry is projecting continuing growth of CareerSafe.
- While in London, I had meetings with three of our industry partners. Russ Hoffbauer, the four national officers attending WorldSkills and I met with FLUKE. Russ did a super job of talking about the business advantages of partnering with SkillsUSA and taking it to a higher level. I’m scheduled to meet with FLUKE in Seattle in early December. The four officers, Karen Ward, SkillsUSA Massachusetts state association director, and I met with Autodesk representatives in hopes Autodesk will become involved in the Youth Development Foundation. And, I met with Lincoln Electric CEO, John Stropki, Jr. Lincoln has been a SkillsUSA partner for over 30 years, and I’m looking forward to meeting with John in early December.
- The Alumni Coordinating Committee was in Leesburg for their fall meeting October 14-16, and they had good discussions.
- The SkillsUSA Champion of the Year event is coming ever closer. Here’s a nice development: Toyota has asked its government affairs staff to get letters of congratulations for Jim Lentz from governors all across the country. That’s another way of leveraging this event. We hope many of you will encourage your business partners to participate in the event on November 4. Broadening our partner network will allow for greater awareness of the need for a skilled American workforce and help show that SkillsUSA and CTE are part of the answer. If you would like additional information about this year’s event, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Chris Powell of our staff.
The Washington Leadership Training Institute was truly a first this year bringing together the students, advisors and the board of directors. I heard from many of the students and teachers how much they enjoyed the board, and I could tell by just looking that the board was having a good time too. The conference evaluations have been tabulated and on a scale of one to five (with five being the highest), the students gave the conference a 4.49 percent and advisors gave it a 4.65 percent. Comments from students included: “For my first time at WLTI, I feel very honored to have been here, meeting new people, learning new things and having the best time of my life” and, “Arlington and Pentagon, very moving.”
In all, we had 25 states and Puerto Rico, 174 students and 93 advisors and state directors. Most of the participants this year were attending for the first time – that’s great to see – and 184 of the participants earned their national Statesman Awards.
We’re still going through the state delegation Capitol Hill visit reports. We had many more this year because turning in a report was required to earn the Statesman Award. We also received a report from Jamie Baxter of ACTE and Nancy Conneely of the state CTE directors. They wrote saying that they had just visited the education legislative aide in Representative Joe Wilson’s office (R-SC) and how impressed she was. They wrote “she said she has never been more impressed with a group of students than she was with SkillsUSA. She said that the group was very professional and talked about Perkins funding. She went on to say “What they are learning is working.”
It’s over and it went off without a hitch. There were 269 registrants from 25 states and Puerto Rico this year. We were particularly pleased that some of the states who sent delegations this year were new, or haven’t been with us for some time. That includes the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia.
There were also some great guest speakers including our Saturday night speakers John Gallina and Dale Beatty, co-founders of Purple Heart Homes (and introduced to us by Cindy Sutton of The Social Eyes LLC), and on Monday Jennifer McNelly of the Manufacturing Institute. For the advisors sessions there were presentations made by Steve DeWitt and Jamie Baxter of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Nancy Conneely and Erin Uy of the National Association of State Directors consortium (NASDCTEc).
We also held the SkillsUSA board of directors meeting at the same time and both the board and the WLTI participants visited Congress in Washington, D.C. to convey the message that CTE is needed and funding is extremely important.
- Twenty-five states have registered for the Washington Leadership Training Institute. We’re working to secure speakers for the advisors’ track. I believe this will be another substantive series of sessions.
- Alumni membership is now at 26,112 and the alumni now have a new page on the SkillsUSA website for archiving their series of professional development webinars.
- At the Louisville conference, a new training tool kit for state student officers was introduced that was very well received. This kit comes in a large duffle bag packed full of tools to help officers conduct state and local workshops on the roles of SkillsUSA leaders and implementation of our Program of Work. The kit also includes props that will be purchased by state officer teams at their local Lowe’s Store. Lowe’s sponsored the development of this exciting new training tool.
- The SkillsUSA, Inc. board of directors will be meeting on September 19 at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center during the Washington Leadership Training Institute. On September 20, the board will be going to Capitol Hill with our student leaders for Congressional visits. This will be an excellent opportunity for our students, in tandem with our governing body, to tell the SkillsUSA story to policymakers.
- We are finalizing plans for the fall meeting of the Youth Development Foundation hosted by Air Products in Bethlehem, Pa. September 14-15. Special thanks to Laurie Gostley-Hackett who will be our host. We have 17 attendees registered and look forward to the meeting.
The Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI), a five-day advanced leadership program for students and advisors, will be held September 17-21at the Hyatt Dulles near the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center and Washington, D.C. Students who are interested must apply and be accepted through their respective state director’s office and have state approval prior to registering. Student sessions focus on how an individual can affect change: The impact of the individual as a leader, citizen and employee, learning advocacy skills and strategies, and participation in congressional visits “on the Hill” are the culminating activities of WLTI.
Advisors will have a separate training track centered on becoming an advocate for career and technical education. The conference registration site (also used for NLSC) will be used to register for this year’s WLTI.
Other forms related to the conference (i.e. application, agenda, pre-WLTI assignments and Statesman Award requirements) have been updated and are on the website at www.skillsusa.org/events/wlti.shtml. The sample congressional appointment letter has been added to the website and a hard copy is enclosed with this Update for state association directors. Questions about the application process can be directed to Deborah Tripp at 1-800-321-8422, Ext. 637.
*NOTE: Hotel has changed from last year!
On Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 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 leaves at 3 p.m.) Appointments need to be set up ahead of time. A sample letter is available 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 hand-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 2011 WLTI will be held on September 17-21 at the Hyatt Dulles. State association directors, please read the following to help you with registration.
Application and Registration Process
The national office has outlined steps for this year’s WLTI registration process. Students who are interested in attending MUST apply to their state office, be accepted by their state office and meet state approval prior to being registered. Advisors and other participants do not need to apply through their state office and can follow the registration steps below. WLTI application, registration and liability/medical forms are available online.
Please contact the national office at 1-800-321-8422 if you wish to have WLTI forms mailed/faxed to you, ask for Susan Trent. Questions about the application process can be directed to Deborah Tripp at 1-800-321-8422, ext. 637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WLTI General Directions:
All student applications and registrations will be conducted through their respective state association offices. Applications are due to their state office by August 10, 2011. Please note: students MUST apply and be accepted by their state associations prior to registration. All applications and registration forms can be downloaded and printed from our website at www.skillsusa.org/events/wlti.shtml or obtained from the state director.
For state association directors who will be sending information to your advisors and students, following are the steps for student and advisor applications.
Steps for Student Application to their State Office:
- Students need to obtain an application form by: (a) downloading from the SkillsUSA website, (b) from their state director, or (c) calling the national office to have one faxed, call 1-800-321-8422, ask for Susan Trent.
- Applications must be typed, neat, complete and free of errors. Complete and send to their state office.
- Deadline for applications to be sent to their state office is August 10, 2011.
- The state association director must/will notify students whether they are accepted or not. If accepted, students can then fill out their registration forms for the conference and return them to the state director who will submit the registrations to the national office.
Steps for Student Registration Through Their State Office:
- Obtain a registration form, by (a) downloading from our website, (b) from the state director, or (c) call the national office to have one faxed. Call 1-800-332-8422 and ask for Susan Trent with questions.
- Complete the registration form AND medical release information. Submit to the students’ state association director with payment by August 10, 2011. The deadline for the state director to register a student is August 26, 2011.
- Once the national office receives the registration, the student will receive a confirmation letter.
- Complete the pre-conference assignment (found on the website) and the student should take it to WLTI. Students can obtain the pre-conference assignment form by (a) downloading it from our website, (b) from their state director, or (c) by calling the national office to have one faxed. Call 1-800-321-8422, ext. 637 and ask for Deborah Tripp.
Steps for Advisor Registration:
- Obtain a registration form by (a) downloading from our website, (b) from the state director, or (c) by calling the national office to have one faxed. Call 1-800-332-8422 and ask for Susan Trent.
- Complete the registration form AND medical release information. Submit to their state association director with payment by August 10, 2011. The deadline for the state director to register the advisor is August 26, 2011.
Once the national office receives the advisor registration, the advisor will receive a confirmation letter, tentative agenda and pre-conference information.
Steps for the State Director to Register Participants:
- Obtain registration forms either from our website or request a set be mailed to you, so that you may provide forms when requests are made.
- Approve/disapprove student applications. Notify students you approve and ask each to complete the registration forms AND medical release information and send to you by August 26, 2011.
- Please note: we are asking you to encourage all members to apply and attend WLTI, not just state officers. The experience is designed to be a capstone event for personal leadership development.
- Submit all registration/medical forms with payment to Susan Trent, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176-5494. Susan can be reached at 1-800-321-8422.
- All registration forms must be received in the national office no later than August 26, 2011.
SkillsUSA has partnered with American Airlines for five percent off published fares, even sale prices, to attend the following 2011 national conferences:
- National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Kansas City, Mo. (June 19-25). Discount is valid June 9-29, 2011 from any destination served by American Airlines to Kansas City (MCI). Discount is available to anyone attending the event. See: www.skillsusa.org/events/nlscair.shtml
- State Directors Annual Professional Development Conference in Louisville, Ky. (August 15-20). Discount is valid August 11-23, 2011 from any destination served by American Airlines to Louisville, Ky. Discount is available to anyone attending the event). See the state directors’ section of the website for more information.
- Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) in Herndon, Va. (September 17-21). Discount is valid September 11-24, 2011 from any destination served by American Airlines to Baltimore (BWI, Reagan National (DCI) and Washington Dulles (IAD). Discount is available to anyone attending the event). See: www.skillsusa.org/events/wltiair.shtml
Procedures to find airline tickets for each conference are the same, but the codes differ. Here are the general instructions.
Visit www.aa.com. From top menu bar, choose reservations followed by select flight; complete appropriate fields (i.e., travel dates, number of passengers departure and destination city). At bottom of select flight screen, the last field will be promotion code. Enter the code for the event and select Go. The next screen will contain all flight times for departure and return. Complete reservations as instructed, or call American Airlines Meeting Services Desk at 800-433-1790 and provide agent with the code, or purchase tickets through a travel agent and mention the code.
“I had a great time, learned a lot, and made many lifetime friends. I’m excited to go back home and share what I learned. I can’t wait to come back again. Thanks for a good conference. You all ROCK!” That was one of the comments from the students attending the Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI). Here’s a comment from a teacher: “This was my first time attending WLTI and it will be one of my top memories in 15 years of SkillsUSA involvement.”
Of course, perennial highlights for student delegations during WLTI are the congressional office visits. This year, in the space of about five hours, the students and teachers from 21 states made at least 78 office visits. The delegation reports are in and transcribed, and here’s a sampling of what the students had to report:
“We met with Representative Neugebauer (Texas). He said he strongly believes in what SkillsUSA is all about and he said that Perkins funding is very important. He said without CTE programs we wouldn’t have a productive nation; it’s the basis of our work force.”
“We met with a legislative aide in Representative Arcuri’s (New York) office. It was the first time she’d heard about SkillsUSA and she was interested to know more. She said the congressman had been approached last year to be part of the CTE Caucus and he was looking for local advocates in his district. The aide said “I think I’ve found the perfect group!”
WLTI 2010 received uniformly high marks based on surveys of students and advisors with scores averaging between 4.25 and 4.75 on a five-point scale. We also received recommendations for improvement, and we’ll be working on those. That’s how we keep the ratings high, but when we see the advisors’ rating of 4.71 to the question “did the training offered meet students’ needs?” we believe we’re on the right track. Congratulations go to the entire staff. We’ll just have to do it again.
Since 1966, SkillsUSA has facilitated “the long line of red blazers” headed to Capitol Hill in September. The 2010 Washington Leadership Training Institute continued this tradition and was one of the best institutes ever held. I could not be more pleased with what I saw from the students and advisors during every phase of this year’s event. I heard comments from a West Virginia teacher who said: “This is the best experience I’ve had in my 20-plus years of teaching.” From an administrator from New York: “I’ve never been to a conference as organized as this one. Every event is on time and the quality of the activities and presenters has been first class. I’m taking the message back to other administrators in my state that this is an event of extremely high value and others should participate.” And, from a student from Alabama who told me: “This week has changed my life.” And, there were many, many more positive comments just like these.
I was very pleased that SkillsUSA Board of Directors President Russ Hoffbauer attended and served in the role of State Farm sponsor and also as a participant in the congressional visits.
Students received great training from former national officers Niki Clausen, Byekwaso Francis and Carl Wetzler. Speakers were excellent and our Monday keynote was delivered by Sharon Miller and Margaret Romer from the Division of Academic and Technical Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Staff did a great job assisting with all facets of the conference.
The advisor sessions were well attended and the speakers were well prepared and informative. Steve DeWitt from ACTE and Erin Uy from NASDCTEc gave a joint presentation on present policy and future vision for CTE; Bill Lawhorn, an economist from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, gave a presentation on the outlook for careers served by SkillsUSA and CTE; the Army gave a presentation about strategies for successful advocacy; the advisors held a best practice expert panel; Staff gave a presentation on the Work Force Ready System; and finally, I held a discussion session with advisors. The comments I’ve heard from the advisors and students alike were very positive.
We’re still reviewing delegation reports from the students’ visits to Capitol Hill. We’ve received more detailed reports than in the past, and we know that 21 states held meetings with at least 78 different Senate and House offices on September 21. That’s eight more visits than last year. Eileen Cassidy from GAERF accompanied the Rhode Island delegation on their visits. We’re proud of the students and advisors who participated in WLTI for carrying forward the message of career and technical education and SkillsUSA.
On Tuesday, September 21, while the students and advisors were visiting with Congress, Deb Tripp, Russ Hoffbauer, three national officers and I visited Senator Michael Enzi’s office (R-WY). We discussed the impact CTE has on students, schools and communities, the possibilities for SkillsUSA WorldTeam funding and the need for clarification of the use of Perkins funds for CTSO activities.
Thanks to our Associate Director of Training, Deb Tripp, for leading WLTI and to every department at SkillsUSA and our state association directors for the contributions they all made. It was a true demonstration of staff teamwork. We were all a part of something that made a wonderfully positive impact on our students, teachers and administrators. The long line of red blazers on Capitol Hill continues.