May 14th, 2012
The Skill Connect Assessments are still available to order for end-of-year testing for this school year. To order online, go to: www.workforcereadysystem.org/purchase.shtml.
Once your order is placed the tests will be available to use within 24 to 48 business hours. Contact us directly if you need your order expedited. A complete list of available assessments can be found at: www.workforcereadysystem.org/technical_areas.shtml.
Assessment License Expiration Date
Assessment tests/licenses can be administered anytime from the time you purchase up until July 31, 2012. Unused licenses are not refundable and cannot be carried over to the following school year or transferred to another assessment area.
Reports and Certificates
The instructor’s name provided on the initial order has immediate access to grades, certificates and reports in the test system. A secured username was created and provided to the instructor. Contact our support desk if you need assistance with accessing the reports or go to: http://www.workforcereadysystem.org/media/GradeReports.pdf for online instructions.
Access to Grade Reports Expire online on July 31, 2012. Grade reports can be downloaded into Excel and saved to your hard drive for future reference by clicking the “export” button in the grade report. Please save your reports before July 31st!
Peak test season (March- May):
Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EDT
Contact us at 703-737-0633 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to those who have already used the Skill Connect Assessments this testing season. We look forward to serving you next year!
May 1st, 2012
On April 2, SkillsUSA briefed staff of a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee subcommittee preparing for hearings to discuss ways to address the skills gap. Staff was particularly interested in things done by and with our partners, such as the CAT ThinkBig program. The staff also appreciated our helping them to secure potential witnesses from among our sponsors. One of the witnesses on April 17 was from the American Welding Society.
More in the “it’s nice to be asked”category. Staff and I had a conference call with the Boston Consulting Group on Monday. The Group is working with Harvard Business School on the topic of U.S. competitiveness. The goal of the project is to identify a set of actions that companies can take to improve competitiveness, and they thought SkillsUSA would be a good source. We were also called for an interview on the increasing popularity of “trade schools” by “Fox Business.” (We can’t correct everything in the news.) Here is the link to the story: www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/04/06/going-to-trade-school-should-do-it. And, staff member Eric Gearhart and Bob Skodzinsky of Haas Technical Education Center Network were the primary sources for a tremendous three-page feature article entitled “Student Journey: From SkillsUSA to WorldSkills”printed in the March 2012 edition of Manufacturing Engineering published by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The article really ties together the need for skilled workers, SkillsUSA, the Championships and the WorldTeam.
During the first week of April, we signed an agreement to coordinate where we can with Rebuilding Together (formerly known as “Christmas in April”), an organization dedicated to renovating homes owned by the poor and elderly. They do 10,000 projects every year. We’ll encourage our members and partners to work with Rebuilding Together and serve on their local affiliate boards. For their part, they have several major partners and several excellent visibility opportunities every year, including the Super Bowl.
Skill Connect assessment sales are brisk. SkillsUSA University has 75 classes confirmed and eight more pending. We have a record number of President’s Volunteer Service Award winners with 122 individual awards representing 34,251 hours of service and 11 team awards totaling 19,097 service hours.
April 15th, 2012
Following the board meeting, I was off to Corpus Christi on March 22-24 for an outstanding Texas high school division conference. There were 5,600 registrants and 6,000 attending overall. The event filled the entire Corpus Christi Convention Center and several contests were held at the Craft Training Center. The Texas conference had some special features such as a competition for projects – in categories such as furniture or outdoor grills – built back at the school and then taken to conference to be judged and awarded ribbons. There were 2,000 projects and there were 1,000 contestants in the Technical Information Contest which used the Skill Connect Assessments. Texas also held exploratory competitions for middle school students.
It was great to spend time with John Ellis, statewide CTE coordinator at the Texas Education Agency and Tom Pauken, chairman of the Texas Work Force Commission. Both were tremendously impressed by the conference. It was also great to see Larry Rabalais, state director of SkillsUSA Louisiana. Congratulations go to high school state director, Janet Conner, and husband, Pat, for running an outstanding conference.
On March 27-28, I was in Phoenix for the 45thannual SkillsUSA Arizona Championships which took up the majority of the floor space of the Phoenix Convention Center. There were more than 2,000 participating and over 60 contests. One of the most outstanding features of the conference was how professional everything looked with eye-catching banners and signs. The Arizona Skills Standards Commission and the Arizona Stakeholders Committee held a joint meeting in conjunction with the conference. Commissioners did a “walkabout” of the Championships.
I had the pleasure of visiting long-time SkillsUSA friend, Carolyn Warner, co-chair of the Skill Standards Commission and spending the afternoon meeting with John Huppenthal, co-chair of the Arizona Skills Standards Commission and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Arizona Department of Education. It was also great to see long-time friend Mark Hamilton, deputy associate superintendent of CTE (and a former SkillsUSA state director) and Dennis Fiscus, team leader for the student organizations in the state department. Congratulations go to Arizona state director, Carrie Wolf.
March 31st, 2012
Students can now earn additional recognition for their participation in SkillsUSA under a grant from the MacArthur and Mozilla Foundations. The Manufacturing Institute led the proposal with input from SkillsUSA and Project Lead the Way to earn digital badges credentialing students who have attained skills through learning organizations. Over 500 teams applied for the grants and only four were selected. Other winners include Disney/Pixar and NASA’s Robotics and STEM System.
SkillsUSA students in manufacturing programs will earn the badge by doing two of the following: earning a Skill Connect certificate; winning a medal in a state-level Championships; earning levels one and two in the Professional Development Program; and, receiving a manufacturing certification.
March 14th, 2012
Assessment season is drawing near, and we’re excited to offer 47 industry-driven technical and employability assessments, which include 44 Skill Connect assessments and four automotive assessments offered by our co-vender Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Information on our assessments and a complete list of the assessment areas available can be found at: www.workforcereadysystem.org. At the site, there are also instructor and administrator resources to help prepare students for testing, a free 10-question demonstration of each Skill Connect Assessment, an option to purchase a 50-question sample test for $10 per assessment area and links to purchase a Skill Connect Assessment for student testing or for instructor or administrator preview.
NEW Assessment Webinars in March! Topics include “Instructor Tips for Student Success” and “Meeting Industry Demands.” For Webinar dates and times go to: www.workforcereadysystem.org/webinars.shtml
UPDATED Assessment Blueprints! The Assessment blueprints have been updated with the weighted percent of standards and competencies to help prepare the students for the assessment. Go to: www.workforcereadysystem.org/technical_areas.shtml and click on the assessment area to see the blueprint.
Tips for student testing. As you begin preparing your site for student testing please refer to the website to review testing instructions at: www.workforcereadysystem.org/testing.shtml prior to administering the assessment and ensure your hardware and software are test-ready by reviewing the requirements before beginning testing.
If you are using Internet Explorer as your browser, the requirement is Version #8. You will need to upgrade to V8 if you are running at a lower version in order for the graphics to appear correctly. If you are running V9, you must turn on compatibility mode before beginning the assessment. We suggest you test your equipment by taking the Television (Video) Production 10-question demo because it tests all question types and sound.
Accommodations are available for students with special needs. It is possible to configure your computer from text to speech and an animated voice will read the test to the student. See the Skill Connect Getting Started Guide at: www.workforcereadysystem.org/media/support/skill_connect_assessment_getting_started_guide.pdf for technical assistance to configure your computer.
To purchase a Skill Connect Assessment for student testing, go to: www.workforcereadysystem.org/purchase.shtml.
February 1st, 2012
We offer 47 industry-driven technical and employability assessments, which include 44 Skill Connect assessments and four automotive assessments offered by our co-vender Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Information on our assessments and a complete list of the assessment areas available can be found at: www.workforcereadysystem.org.
There are also instructor and administrator resources to help prepare students for testing, a free 10-question demonstration of each Skill Connect Assessment, an option to purchase a 50-question sample test for $10 per assessment area and links to purchase a Skill Connect Assessment for student testing or for instructor or administrator preview.
December 15th, 2011
SkillsUSA had a productive ACTE (Association for Career and Technical Education) Conference in St. Louis, November 17-19. We had three national officers with us in the trade show booth – C.J. DeHart, Veronica Senkowski and Jeremy Ballentine – and each did a sensational job of visiting with people who stopped by. Actually, they were pulling people in to visit. The booth was always busy, and according to staff, the handout materials “disappeared.”
SkillsUSA conducted three presentations during the conference. SkillsUSA staff spoke on how to energize a chapter. Chip Harris from Tennessee State University did a workshop that was an introduction to the SkillsUSA Program of Work, and I did a well-attended presentation on the Skill Connect Assessments. We were pleased that the assessments were featured in an article on credentialing in the November/December issue of ACTE’s Techniques magazine. That probably helped build attendance. I also received some great reactions from teachers who are already using the assessments, and those were nice to hear.