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2003 National Conference Revving Its Engines

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The SkillsUSA Championships, where students compete in 75 contest areas, covers 10 football fields of floorspace. Try running laps around that!

Last year, at about this time and in about this space, we reported that SkillsUSA always proclaims its next National Leadership and Skills Conference the “biggest and best ever.” Some thought it was just hype — until they saw the results.

This year’s NLSC, coming June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo., boasts 75 contests at the SkillsUSA Championships, the most ever. Expect a record number of contestants as well, as over 4,100 students descend on the skills floor to show the nation what they can do. The TECHSPO exposition and Career Fair are already selling out of space, and Skills University will feature more educational seminars than before. Those who can’t attend can look forward to extended Web coverage of each day’s events at www.skillsusa.org.

So, get ready. This year’s NLSC will once again be the biggest and best ever, and the checkered flag’s about to drop! End of story

The Right Tool for the Cause

Leaky roof? Building a deck? Need to repair that hole in the wall your fist left after your favorite team lost the big game? Well, next time you’re looking to make some home improvements, you can also help improve SkillsUSA’s bottom line. Between May 15 and June 30, when you buy $50 or more worth of Stanley or Stanley–Bostitch products at any Home Depot store, Stanley will donate a portion of the proceeds to SkillsUSA (as much as $250,000). And if that’s not incentive enough, you’ll also get a free limited edition Stanley tool bag! (Oh, and if you’re putting holes in walls because of a game, you might want to try a little relaxation therapy.) End of story

Help Spread the Skills Word to the Airwaves

The headlines are everywhere: “Corporate Downsizing,” “Job Reductions” and so on. What isn’t making headlines, however, is the ever-growing shortage of skilled workers that faces numerous industries today. Without properly trained applicants, that shortage results in millions of jobs going unfilled.

For years, SkillsUSA has been telling government decision-makers and the media about the skills shortage — and how our students can help solve it. Now, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is helping to bring that message to an even wider audience.

“As part of ACTE’s media outreach campaign, we prepared a radio public-service announcement that was sent to 6,500 radio stations around the country,” says Tina Pugliese, the association’s senior director of strategic marketing. Anyone who supports career and technical education should “feel free to alert radio stations in your area that this is available for their use,” she adds.

With federal funding for career and technical education up for reauthorization, spreading the word is more important than ever. You can view the PSA script and download an audio file at the following Web address (get ready, it’s a long one): www.acteonline.org/news_room/media/radio_psa.cfm.

The PSA references another place on the Web where listeners can go for more information — www.getcareerskills.com — which actually jumps to ACTE’s main site. There’s a wealth of information on career and technical education. Users can learn more about the skills shortage issue, read about trends in a variety of industries, or learn more about ACTE and skills training in general. End of story

Leaders Flock to Philly

Philadelphia was a key city for American leaders during the Revolutionary War. From July 23-27, it’ll be a key city for the leaders of SkillsUSA, as the “City of Brotherly Love” hosts the latest SkillsUSA Leadership Development Academy. Students will learn to run a balanced chapter, use multimedia, manage a community service project and more. Advisors will share best practices, preview the new SkillsUSA Chapter Standards program, master the art of recruiting and learn many other ways of facilitating chapter growth. There will also be time to visit this historic city. For more information, visit www.skillsusa.org and click on the “Training” link. End of story

Satisfy Contest Cravings with Byte-Sized Singles

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You know the feeling: You’re hungry, but not so hungry that you need a whole meal at a big, fancy restaurant. You just need a snack, the kind of snack the spare change under your car seat can buy. Well, SkillsUSA has taken this concept into the realm of contest regulations with our new “Contest Singles.” Now, when you need the rules for just one contest, you don’t have to get the entire Technical Standards manual or CD-ROM. Instead, surf onto SkillsUSA’s website and download only the contest you need.

But you won’t just be getting a page from the rulebook; you’ll also get specs from actual contests (where available), tips for winning, helpful Web links and more. Get the details at www.skillsusa.org/singles.html (note: Contest Singles are to be studied, not eaten). End of story

SkillsUSA Goes to Washington and Beyond

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U.S. Rep Peterson, Abramova, meet on Capitol Hill. Photo by Craig E. Moore.

With the future of career and technical education at stake, SkillsUSA and seven other organizations put their best faces forward — those of their student leaders — to meet with Washington policy-makers.

SkillsUSA’s national secondary president, Julia Abramova, and other students addressed pending legislation that would cut federal funding for their training programs by nearly $1 billion. They met with Richard T. LaPointe, U.S. deputy assistant secretary for vocational and technical education. Later, a roundtable discussion was held, moderated by Rep. John Peterson of Pennsylvania.

But the discussion went far past that table — it was broadcast nationwide through the World Wide Web. Those watching saw that our programs have plenty of friends in our federal government.

“I’m here to lobby all of you to speak loudly and clearly back in your states, back in your homes, for career and technical education,” Peterson said.

“The future of America, in my view, depends on what we do with [career and technical] education. If we don’t raise the bar, if we don’t raise the funding, if we don’t make it a higher priority, we will continue to export jobs and opportunity that ought to be here for the people that are growing up in this country.”

The Webcast archive is available at http://nccte.org/events/profdevseries/20030213/index.asp for download. And, you can go to www.acteonline.org/career_tech/student_leaders_videoclips.cfm to see video clips of the students’ comments. End of story

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SkillsUSA Champions | Summer 2003 | Volume 37, No. 1
Copyright ©2003 SkillsUSA. All rights reserved.