Respect. It’s something that should be earned, offered and valued. The 2007 National Leadership and Skills Conference was all about respect. In fact, “respected” was the event’s official theme.
The 2007 NLSC earned big-time respect as the biggest and best conference in SkillsUSA history. TECHSPO, the largest technical education trade show in the nation, saw record attendance, with 154 exhibitors covering 72,000 square feet of space. The SkillsUSA Championships broke the 5,000-contestant mark for the first time ever and featured 87 contests (another record) covering the equivalent of 16 football fields of floor space!
Throughout the week, respect was also offered to the selfless advisors behind the scenes of every student success story. It was offered to SkillsUSA’s sponsors (the lifeblood of the organization) and to the thousands of volunteers who made the conference run so smoothly. Respect was also offered to the community in the form of the annual Timberland PRO-sponsored community service event. Throughout a rain-soaked morning and early afternoon, more than 500 SkillsUSA members took part in a variety of cleanup, landscaping and repair projects throughout the downtown area of Kansas City, Mo.
Finally, one look at the faces of the medalists during the Awards Ceremony showed just how valued the respect that comes with earning a national SkillsUSA medal can be. But believe us, gaining that level of respect within your skill area is also highly valued by potential employers, many of whom were on hand to see their future workers in action.
For a lasting token of all this respect, Check out the 2007 NLSC Souvenir DVD at: www.skillsusa.org/store/dvd.html.
When you’re part of a team that’s been so successful that it’s running out of room to store its gold medals, what do you do? Easy. You put the team on a Wheaties box.
That’s exactly what advisors Carryl Weaver and Jim Greek did for their Quiz Bowl team at Tennessee Technology Center in Athens after guiding it to a third consecutive national championship this year. “We wanted to do something a little different for the students this time,” says Greek. “We found out we could have this box made, so we gave the Wheaties folks a call and made it happen.”
“The students loved it,” says Weaver. “We had a ceremony with local politicians, and the team was given the key to the city as well as the box.” And what if it wins again next year? “Wouldn’t that be a nice problem?” says Greek. “We’ll think of something. Maybe skywriting.”
You may remember past news in this very spot concerning SkillsUSA’s receipt of a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. SkillsUSA’s “Champions for Change” program is the result of that grant.
Through the program, SkillsUSA will build nationally recognized credentials in 46 occupational areas, credentials that align industry-written competencies with academic standards. SkillsUSA will also support the foundation’s efforts to reach out to vulnerable communities by implementing the SkillsUSA chapter model in six pilot cities nationwide. Programs in Omaha and Chicago will launch this fall. To follow the progress of this unique program as it develops, visit: www.championsforchange.org.
It’s been a busy summer for SkillsUSA when it comes to making new friends. For example, at the Awards Ceremony of this year’s national conference, SkillsUSA announced a new partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). This partnership is designed to prepare more students for career leadership in advanced manufacturing and help meet the industry’s need for highly skilled employees.
“America can’t compete without skilled workers,” said NAM CEO John Engler. “SkillsUSA is a proven leader in teaching employability and leadership skills. The SkillsUSA network will enable us to reach more students directly.” For more, visit: www.dreamitdoit.com.
A new relationship with Job Corps was also formed with the recent addition of SkillsUSA Executive Director Tim Lawrence to the Job Corps advisory committee. Job Corps is the nation’s largest residential, educational, and career and technical training program for “at-promise” youth, ages 16-24. Lawrence accepted the invitation to serve from U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. Visit: www.jobcorps.org for more.
SkillsUSA’s continual advocacy efforts continue to pay off. Case in point: our organization was cited in the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Guidance Letter and Technical Advisory” as a method of delivering employability and professional development skills to young people. Read the full document (SkillsUSA is mentioned on Page 2) online at:
SkillsUSA Champions | Fall 2007 | Volume 42, No. 1