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Hitting the Town and Painting it Green in D.C.

Alexandria, Va., students John Buffington and Kevin Romero show Capitol Hill how supporting CTE means supporting America's future.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) recently sponsored a “CTE Goes Green” project in Washington. Visiting Capitol Hill, SkillsUSA members shared their ideas on the energy conservation and safety issues that are shaping America’s future.

One of them was Charles Norsworthy, a student from the Tennessee Technology Center in McKenzie. He demonstrated his low-cost hydrogen supplement unit. When added to a car engine, the unit produces better gas mileage by 25 percent to 50 percent and reduces emissions.

From Alexandria, Va., Edison Academy students explained the dangers of carbon monoxide and demonstrated how to install a detector. Along with members of a variety of other student organizations, all the students showed that CTE is evolving in response to important energy and sustainability needs.

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Practicing What We Preach

Teamwork has always been a trademark of career and technical education, so it’s nice to see CTE-related organizations setting the example from the top down.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) and SkillsUSA recently announced an agreement to provide co-branded end-of-program exams for students in high school and college/postsecondary automotive technology programs.

The new exams will merge the well-known National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) tests into a joint offering from the three groups. Look for a spring launch.

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The Nation Wakes Up Seeing Red

If you spent any time sleeping in this summer, you might’ve missed SkillsUSA’s appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. The segment covered the kickoff of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) national 2008 Teen Summer Job Safety campaign, and SkillsUSA, one of OSHA’s national partners, was there to help spread the word.

Students took over New York City’s famed Rockefeller Plaza to demonstrate safe work practices for some of the most common tasks that teens are likely to encounter in summer jobs. Now former (then current) national officers Jack Frederick and Shelby Adsero joined U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao in a live interview segment with NBC’s Al Roker and Hota Kotb. Frederick and Adsero helped explain the OSHA-sponsored event and proceeded to put in a few plugs for SkillsUSA and the 2008 national conference. Reaching the households of millions ... not bad for a few seconds of work!

For the full interview, as well as photos from the event, visit:

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Two Ways to Raise Awareness

Looking for cost-effective ways to generate interest in your SkillsUSA chapter? What’s more cost-effective than free? SkillsUSA has provided new audio public service announcements and an online recruitment video for your downloading pleasure.

Radio stations run PSAs from nonprofit groups at no cost, so delivering these PSAs to your local station is a great, easy way to increase local awareness of the SkillsUSA program. As for the video, it explains, through the words of other students, what SkillsUSA is and how it can change a life. For more information, visit:

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Seeing Through Different Eyes

Want to relive the 2008 national conference? Along with photos and video provided by SkillsUSA’s national headquarters, why not relive the event through the eyes of your peers?

One of SkillsUSA’s national partners, SchoolTube, is a great place to start. Just go to, click on “Categories,” then “Career and Technical Education” and then “SkillsUSA.” There you’ll find videos covering many aspects of the SkillsUSA experience. SchoolTube also offers a variety of video contests, so keep an eye out for them.

YouTube, perhaps the most famous video sharing site, is also full of conference clips, from student coverage of particular contests to video blogs of the week’s experiences. It’s a regular sea of red in cyberspace.

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NLSC Sends Big Crowds Home HappyAll great concerts end the same way. The band finishes the main set on a rousing note, then returns to the stage to play the best version ever of its biggest hit. That’s how SkillsUSA closed out the 2007-2008 school year. After hitting a 302,767-member high for the first time in history, there was only one choice for an encore: the biggest, best National Leadership and Skills Conference of all time.

Nearly 15,000 flocked to Kansas City, Mo., for career and technical education’s juggernaut event. A record 91 contests were conducted, fueled by more than 5,000 student competitors. SkillsUSA TECHSPO, the largest technical education trade show in the nation, experienced record participation with 160 exhibitors.

The Opening Ceremony featured Chrysler LLC Vice Chairman and President James Press. “The future of our country and the future of our way of life depends on you,” Press told the students in the audience. With a roar of applause, they welcomed that responsibility with confidence. Revealing a historic $1 million grant from Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation — “Deal or No Deal” style — was another crowd-pleaser.

SkillsUSA also joined with Timberland Pro for the seventh-annual community service project. Students built homes with Habitat for Humanity and revitalized outdoor areas and play spaces.

At the final night’s Awards Ceremony, SkillsUSA champions received the gold, silver and bronze symbols of their incredible accomplishments — sure to yield many more rewards in the years ahead.

To relive the excitement, visit:, and look for a conference DVD this fall.

Honorary Life Members:
Roger Johnson, Roanoke County (Va.) schools, chair for NLSC scoring and registration; James King, vice chancellor of Tennessee Technology Centers (see story here); Ed Melott, SkillsUSA board member and president of the Association for Career and Technical Education; Jeri Widdowson, SkillsUSA Pennsylvania director

Advisor of the Year:
Cheryl Rees, Kendrick High School, Columbus, Ga. (see story here)

Outstanding Educators:
Carl Creasman, SkillsUSA Tennessee director (college/postsecondary association); Harry Senn, Texas State Technical College, Waco

Student2Student Grand Prize Chapter:
A.P. Fatherree Vocational School, Laurel, Miss.

President’s Volunteer Service Award (gold level):
Max Burden, Matthew Conner, Greg Morris and Micah Rentschier, Hohenwald, Tenn.; Damian Legacy, Springfield, Vt.

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SkillsUSA Champions | Fall 2008 | Volume 43, No. 1
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