Ask Tim

Service Alignment

Executive Director Tim Lawrence has known SkillsUSA as a student member, instructor, industry partner and state director. Got a question? He can help.

Q: How do the new national calls for service fit into SkillsUSA’s plans?

Tim: To talk about where our organization will be in the year 2020, SkillsUSA recently brought together a group of key stakeholders. We’re calling this strategic planning process “Vision 2020” — which means a look toward the future with clear, perfect vision. We reviewed information gathered this year from our members. The common threads were that our students truly want to help others, and they want to leave the world a better place. We can act on that information now.

In state after state, students I’ve talked with have asked SkillsUSA to offer more opportunities for providing service to others. They also want us to help shape activities that have a positive impact on schools, communities and the sustainability of our planet for future generations.

At the same time, the new Obama team has been asking the question, “How can we engage youth in service?” In fact, they’re even considering an office of civic engagement as a White House initiative. We’re honored that the administration reached out to SkillsUSA and other student organizations to ask our opinions on how to involve young people.

I have to believe that the stars are aligning at this place in time. Our student members have told us in no uncertain terms that they want to provide service, and our government is pledging to make service a priority. SkillsUSA will reach out to both sides, and we hope to provide a model for engagement.

Meanwhile, take a look at this issue of SkillsUSA Champions. You’ll see a variety of ways members are currently serving our schools, our communities and our country. Service can come in many forms, from helping one person to benefiting an entire community. It can be very structured and formalized, with learning components. Or, service can be a matter of identifying and meeting a local need through a one-time project.

The SkillsUSA pledge, written in 1965, includes the statement, “to base my expectations of reward upon the solid foundation of service.” Since our founding, we’ve believed that truly great leaders are committed to service. Leaders know the reward comes when you give to others with no expectation of personal gain.

It’s pretty amazing that the voices of the past align with the hopes and dreams of the current generation. What a powerful statement this is! End of story

Got questions about SkillsUSA or other topics? E-mail or send a letter to SkillsUSA / P.O. Box 3000 / Leesburg, VA 20177. Put “Ask Tim” in the subject line or mail address.

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SkillsUSA Champions | Spring 2009 | Volume 43, No. 3
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