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Big-Name Support = Big Benefits

SkillsUSA students from California's Salinas High School meet "the Governator." Watch his speech at

Ask random people on the street to quote the most memorable Arnold Schwarzenegger line (go on, we’ll wait), and you’ll likely hear “I’ll be back” every time. Ask the same question to supporters of career and technical education in California, and you’ll likely hear something that has nothing to do with Hollywood.

“I’m very passionate about career and technical education, because I come from that background,” said the California governor at a recent visit to Salinas High School. Schwarzenegger was there, along with local representatives of SkillsUSA and National FFA, to announce a budget increase of $90 million to revitalize state CTE programs.

John Chocholak, a SkillsUSA advisor who helped arrange the appearance, applauded the “necessary policy changes to resurrect these wonderful programs in our schools. It’s a great start!”

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A "Grrreeaat!" Opportunity

The name “Kellogg” has been synonymous with breakfast for generations. But the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s recent $3.4-million grant to SkillsUSA affirms the company’s long-standing commitment to much more than talking tigers.

SkillsUSA will use the grant to develop a program that builds nationally recognized credentials for young people — giving them a big advantage as they enter the workforce.

It will also include six pilot projects designed to help at-risk youth develop employability skills, an initiative driven by the knowledge that a career focus gives students a sense of direction and motivation. Stay tuned to for more as the projects develop.

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Because Being a Statistic Isn't Worth It

When it comes to employment, the first thought on a worker’s mind usually revolves around pay, not safety. That’s why SkillsUSA joined the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at Edison High School in Alexandria, Va., to launch OSHA’s job safety campaign specifically for teen-agers.

At the event, demonstrating proper hearing protection in landscaping jobs.

The multiyear campaign is designed to increase awareness among young people and parents about workplace hazards. At the kickoff, SkillsUSA students demonstrated safe work practices in landscaping, an industry that relies on young people during summer and early fall.

Tim Lawrence, SkillsUSA’s executive director, was an invited speaker. And, making his first public appearance as U.S. secretary of labor for OSHA, Ed Foulke warned students not to let their enthusiasm to succeed at a new job cloud their sense of safety. “I’m not telling you to be afraid,” Foulke said, “but I will ask you to be cautious.”

For updated reports on SkillsUSA’s continuing partnership with OSHA, visit:

In a history-making move, SkillsUSA now has its first student liaison to the organization’s board of directors. National officer Nicole Dillard, high school division secretary from Cheyenne, Wyo., was selected by her fellow student leaders as their representative to the board. A stronger student presence for the nation’s premier student organization? Makes sense to us.

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NLSC Makes Connections That Count

Connected: the theme for the 2006 National Leadership and Skills Conference. And like a baseball bat connects to a home-run ball, SkillsUSA, once again, drove this year’s NLSC out of the park in Kansas City, Mo.

Kwame Jackson of TV’s The Apprentice connected to the cheering throngs at Tuesday night’s Opening Ceremony, inspiring them with a message of motivation. In fact, he seemed as motivated as the crowd, exclaiming, “This is the most amazing energy I’ve ever experienced!”

TECHSPO strengthened its connection between industry and education, surpassing last year’s records with 133 indoor and outdoor exhibits. And Wednesday night’s Champions Festival? Well, that got students from around the nation connected to each other, as new friendships were formed and new accents made fun of (in a good-natured way, of course).

Thursday’s record-setting SkillsUSA Championships was the result of a long-nurtured connection between industry, advisors, administration, parents, and the nearly 5,000 student competitors who worked tirelessly for the chance to compete in 84 national contests.

Friday showcased community connections, as nearly 1,000 SkillsUSA volunteers took part in six separate events, from building Habitat for Humanity homes to performing a variety of cleanup, landscaping and building repairs across the city.

Finally, Friday night’s awards ceremony connected many to a goal accomplished, as victorious competitors ascended the medal stands to the cheering recognition of their peers and supporters.

The 2007 NLSC will make for even stronger connections. Here’s hoping you’re part of them!

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SkillsUSA Champions | Fall 2006 | Volume 41, No. 1
Copyright ©2006 SkillsUSA. All rights reserved.