June 1st, 2010
Have you heard about the Skill Connect Assessments, but you haven’t yet had the chance to try them? The Skill Connect Assessment Team will be hosting a demonstration center in Booth M (in the corner of Lobby 2500 near the Ballroom) of the SkillsUSA TECHSPO in Kansas City, June 22-24.
Advisors/teachers/administrators are welcome to stop by for a hands-on demonstration. Over 40 career and technical education assessments areas will be demonstrated.
December 1st, 2009
The annual Association of Career and Technical Education Convention in November was well attended – up approximately 20 percent over the year prior – to 5,300 educators and exhibitors. SkillsUSA was represented in many areas of the conference, and we were particularly proud to see former SkillsUSA board member, Ed Melott, onstage as the new president of ACTE.
Staff reports that our trade show exhibit was like old home week with lots of people stopping by our booth during the two days and some people checking out the Skill Connect Assessments and the new Online PDP. I also understand seminars held by SkillsUSA were well received, and we had good meetings with the Association for Skilled and Technical Sciences (ASTS) and the T&I Division of ACTE.
The second general session during the convention featured Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, Brenda Dann-Messier and Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, Jane Oates. Both spoke of the important role CTE plays in the growing economy and – as we already knew from previous conversations – the two are working together to find ways to expand education and training opportunities for both youth and adults. I also attended a special invitation session with the secretaries. During a short comment period, I asked both secretaries as they work on integration of academic instruction and CTE to remember the importance of integration of employability skills and the unique role of CTSOs in delivering those skills. I also reminded them of the importance of business and industry partnerships in CTE and the role of student organizations again. Jane Oates, who has known SkillsUSA for years, said to Brenda Dann-Messier: “You’d better be ready for a long line of red blazers at your door.”
And, I was invited to serve on an expert panel of four during a meeting with representatives of the Chicago Public Schools who are working on a retooling plan for CTE in Chicago. With me on the panel were Jim Stone, National Research Center for CTE, Bill Daggett from the International Center for Leadership in Education and Greg Betheil with the New York City Department of Education. Also attending the meeting was Special Assistant and Advisor to Secretary Duncan, Greg Darneider. (Remember, Secretary Duncan was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, so there’s a direct interest.) It was a lively discussion.
September 1st, 2009
We went right from the state directors’ meeting to the board meeting beginning with a great Southern dinner for both groups on Saturday. Following, new board President Julie Yeater led a discussion session among the board members and the state directors. In the main, state directors thanked the board members for their support of the association. There was also some discussion of the Skill Connect Assessments.
The next morning the board received reports on progress on the FY09 strategic plan, the Work Force Ready System (including a demonstration of the online tests) and updates on Vision 2020 and the Engineering Alliance. This was the first board meeting where the board reading file was sent electronically and the board approved of the process.
August 15th, 2009
It’s summer in-service time out in the states as teachers and administrators are gearing up for the new school year. This past Wednesday, I attended the Virginia Association for Trade and Industrial Education Summer Conference in Richmond. There were over 400 Virginia instructors and administrators in attendance. The SkillsUSA Virginia student officers worked at the conference all week and did a great job opening the closing banquet for teachers and administrators.
I was proud to be a keynote speaker at the banquet alongside Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. My presentation addressed CTE and SkillsUSA’s role in the current economy and the work force needs to rebuild America. I was also asked to give a live online demonstration of our Skill Connect Assessments, and they were well received by the group.
It was great to meet our new corporate member Ed Sullivan from the Virginia Department of Education. It was also great to speak with the CTE Director for Virginia’s largest school district, Fairfax County Public Schools, Chad Maclin, who told me ALL Fairfax CTE programs will have 100% SkillsUSA membership in 2010. Thanks to SkillsUSA Virginia and State Association Director, David Rathbone, and the VATIE organization for this great opportunity.
August 1st, 2009
I guess we know we’re doing something important with the Work Force Ready System if it seems every association wants to get involved. In the last several weeks, we’ve had meeting after meeting with trade association and industry groups that want to co-brand or be involved in some other way in our assessments.
We have survey results back from the Work Force Ready System demonstration booth at conference. Over 500 instructors came by and gave the assessments a test drive. Over 325 completed a survey after their experience, and we received some encouraging comments and some great statistics. Here’s just one: “Would you recommend purchasing this assessment over other product offerings you know of in the market? Of all respondents, 88 percent said yes, they would.