Active Advisor News
November 2013

Update from Tim Lawrence
Work Force Ready System Update

Tim LawrenceWe have finished counting the number of congressional visits made during the recent SkillsUSA Washington Leadership Training Institute. This year, students and advisors visited with 37 Senators, 72 Representatives and 1 Resident Commissioner, for a total of 110, and we received excellent feedback from the visits.

And, as you remember, SkillsUSA was featured on the PBS program "American Graduate Day" and aired live nationwide on Saturday, September 28, from noon - 7 p.m. EDT. The program spotlighted 20 organizations - including SkillsUSA - that help keep students on the path to high school graduation and successful futures. Among the SkillsUSA features were SkillsUSA alumnus Chris Jimmerson and his teacher, Alice Boss, both of Ypsilanti. No surprise, therefore, that SkillsUSA Michigan has posted the clip, so if you missed it, go to this link.

SkillsUSA will be participating at ACTE's CareerTech Vision 2013 Conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and the booth (#319) will be open on December 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on December 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, we have three sessions scheduled, and we hope if you're there, you'll stop by. Here they are – Enhance Your SkillsUSA Chapter on December 6 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Room N229 and Why SkillsUSA? from 2:45-4:15 p.m. in Room N224. And, Your "Easy Button" Teaching and Assessing Workforce Ready Skills and Career-ready Practices in the CCTC Standards on December 7 from 8:30-10 a.m. in Room N224.

Thank you for all you do for the great students we serve.


Final Reminder: Free
SkillsUSA Advisor Membership Incentives

Work Force Ready System imageWhen advisors register at least 15 student members plus one or more professionals by November 15, 2013, they will receive a free copy of Leveraging Your Leadership with Effective Chapter Meetings, The Teacher's Guide, SkillsUSA's brand-new guide for enhancing classroom instruction.

Also, instructors who submit a roster with 100-percent membership, plus one or more professionals, also will receive a SkillsUSA Program of Work calendar (value: $5.95).

Remember, the membership roster must be submitted online by November 15th to receive these free items.

And, sponsored by the Lowe's Charitable and Education Foundation, advisors will be eligible to win a $50 Lowe's gift card when they submit SkillsUSA membership if you are a professional member of SkillsUSA and have a minimum of 15 members in your training program.

Here is how it works: Register your members online at the SkillsUSA website, and then, each day, the national headquarters will draw the name of one lucky advisor and will notify winning advisors on Friday of each week. Advisor names will continue to stay in the drawing until drawn or until the program ends. The program will run until November 15, 2013.


Scholarship Opportunities
There are several scholarships opportunities available for students on the SkillsUSA website. Please share:


President's Volunteer Service Award
Because SkillsUSA is a certifying organization of the President's Volunteer Service Award, advisors, student members and registered alumni can earn recognition for community service activities and time spent as a volunteer.

This award is a presidential honor that recognizes the valuable contributions of volunteers nationwide who are answering a national call to serve others through their current volunteer activities or lifetime service. As a certifying organization, SkillsUSA can identify eligible recipients, verify their service hours and distribute the award to outstanding volunteers.

Given participation in ongoing service activities, advisors and students may already meet the requirements to receive the award. To qualify, SkillsUSA members, advisors or alumni can submit a record of their service hours. State directors are also encouraged to document service hours and apply for the award.

For details on qualifying hours and requirements for submission, visit this link. Applications must be received (not postmarked) by April 1, 2014.


National Conference Pin and T-shirt Contests
February 1, 2014 is the deadline for entries to the SkillsUSA National Conference Pin and T-shirt competitions. This event is open to all paid student members of SkillsUSA. This is a great way to have a student and advisor from your state recognized in front of a national audience. A plaque for the teacher and student, plus a school grant to the advisor of the winning student will be announced at a later date. Rules are in the membership kit and are also posted on the SkillsUSA website at this link. Questions may be directed to Heidi Walsh at 703-737-0615 or by email to hwalsh@skillsusa.org.


2013-14 SkillsUSA Championships
Technical Standards Contest Projects

The Technical Standards are valid for two years. These Standards are the result of many hours of work from a collaboration of industry partners, subject matter experts and SkillsUSA staff who worked diligently to create a user-friendly product. The current Standards provide our chapters and students with an up-to-date official competition guide for both the 2013 and 2014 SkillsUSA Championships.

After the Technical Standards are published every two years, we post changes/updates to the contests on our website on the "Contest Updates" page. If a posting appears on the updates page, it supersedes the Technical Standards as written.

If you have the 2013-14 Technical Standards, it may also be helpful for student training to order a 2013 Contest Project (Stock Number P68) as a single CD for $9.95 ea. Not all contests projects are available. Go to this link for a list of contests that have projects available for sale.

The 2013-2014 Technical Standards do not include the score sheets since they change from year to year. They are available at no charge by going to this link.


National Youth Safety Video Contest Reminder
CareerSafe, Safety Education for America's Future, is sponsoring the 2013-2014 National Youth Safety Video Contest. Students across the country are challenged to create a two-minute video demonstrating safety in the workplace. The contest kicked-off on October 15, 2013 and all submissions should be sent into CareerSafe by March 1, 2014.

The winning students will receive a SkillsUSA Prize Pack as well as a scholarship up to $2,500, and the winning school will receive a prize up to $5,000. For more information on the contest, please visit the CareerSafe website.


PDP Survey
At SkillsUSA, we strive to consistently improve our curriculum materials. We want to ensure that our materials stay relevant, are user-friendly and meet your needs as well as the needs of your students. To help us maintain that level of customer satisfaction, we are asking instructors who use the Professional Development Program (PDP) workbooks and Instructor's Guide to take a survey. We will use the results to revise the current program so it remains current and one of the leading sources for teaching employability skills. 

To take the survey, go to this link.

If you use the PDP Online, please do not take this survey. A separate survey specifically for the online version will be conducted at a later date.

Work Force Ready System imageThe transition to the new platform provider, K2Share, has been extremely positive and continues to provide additional benefits. Please send any feedback after using the new system to: www.skillconnect.org. We would love to hear how your experience has been.

Available assessments
Pretests, 10-question demonstrations and most end-of-program assessments are now available to purchase. Our complete line of end-of program assessments will be available mid-November. For a complete list of assessments and the blueprints that describe the standards, competencies and academic skills tied to each assessment, go to this link.

Skill Connect Certificates for assessments taken this school year (2013-14) are now available to print. To print a certificate, log-on and go to Voucher and Teacher Tools and click on Grade Book. Under the "Course Status" column, click "Completed." (Only the students who have passed the assessment are eligible to print a certificate.)

Pre and post grade book, standard grade report, competency and summary reports (aggregated data) are available for this year's testing.

  • Log-on and go to: Voucher and Teacher Tools and click on Reports. Select the report type, assessment area and the start and end dates in the enrollment date filter. NOTE: Completion Date Filter will only provide data on students who were successful in achieving the passing cut-score. The enrollment date filter provides data on all students.

Historical data from previous years will be available mid-November.

Training Webinars
Join us on Tuesday, November 19 at 4 p.m. EST, or on Thursday, November 21 at 5 p.m. EST for a webinar that walks you through the steps to place an order for the Skill Connect Assessments and provides basic steps for voucher distribution and accessing reports. You must register using the link below to participate in the webinar. To register to join a webinar, go to this link.

For additional information and to place your order, go to the Work Force Ready System website at this link.

Customer Support
Direct: 1-866-444-7779
Email: support@skillconnect.org
Help Desk Support Hours: Mon- Fri 8 a.m. -6 p.m. EST


WIN Scholarship Program for
Collision Repair/Refinishing Students

The Women's Industry Network (WIN) offers scholarships that will provide tuition assistance as well as educational opportunities and enrichment events to qualified applicants.

The College Student Tuition and Conference Scholarship Award is presented to students (male or female) enrolled in a postsecondary/college collision repair/refinishing technology program. Each scholarship recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship to continue their postsecondary education in collision repair, a one-year WIN membership, plus the registration fee and travel expenses to attend the 2014 Education Conference.

The High School Tuition Scholarship Award is presented to students (male or female) enrolled in a secondary collision repair/refinishing technology program who plan to continue their studies at a technical school or college. Each scholarship winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship to continue their postsecondary education in collision repair and a one-year WIN membership.

The deadline for applications is January 15, 2014. For scholarship requirement details and submission instructions, go to this page and click on scholarships.


Educated and Skilled to Lead
America Video Competition Reminder

"Educated and Skilled to Lead America" is VideoSkillsUSA's theme this year and the students' challenge will be to create a video that showcases how members are becoming educated. The video could show what their classroom or lab looks like, what they are learning, and their specific skills and how they show them off. This is their opportunity to tell their story.

Only high school and college/postsecondary students who are current registered members of SkillsUSA can enter and membership will be verified for each entry. The work can be done by an individual, a team or an entire class.

Winning video teams and/or their schools will receive prizes and recognition provided by SkillsUSA. The winning videos will be aired on the SkillsUSA website. The winning school will receive a $300 award. Up to two honorable mention awards of $100 each may also be distributed.

Complete contest details can be found here.


2014 Lowe's Grants Reminder
Lowe's logoCareerSafe Grants will be awarded to schools in the form of vouchers that allow students to take an online assessment and earn their OSHA 10-hour Construction or General Industry safety credential. Vouchers will be awarded based on SkillsUSA membership and use of vouchers in previous years. New applications will receive priority over schools applying for consecutive years; however, all are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2013. Vouchers will be awarded in January 2014.

Grant information and applications are available at our website. For questions, call Carol Lowery, Lowe's Grant Manager at 641-456-4515 or 641-512-0504.


"Start Something Today" Challenge Reminder
WebProfessionals.org, the organization that heads up the national SkillsUSA Web Design contest, would like to remind students and teachers that there is still time to participate in the "Start Something Today" challenge. This new competition, conducted completely over the Web, provides students with an award-winning start to launching a business idea, plan and pitch to business and industry professionals and win recognition and prizes.

Sponsored by WebProfessionals.org, the challenge is designed to inspire student entrepreneurs to actualize their business initiatives while sparking business creation and workforce development. The "Start Something Today" challenge is open to current student entrepreneurs, regardless of where they are in their education and career journeys.

For additional information and to participate, go to this link. The deadline for contest entries is December 1, 2013. For more information, contact Bill Cullifer at bill@webprofessionals.org.