Active Advisor News
September 2013

Welcome Back for a Brand New Year
Work Force Ready System Update

Tim LawrenceThanks to all of you, last year was filled with new records for SkillsUSA. Our membership of 335,975 was the largest in history. That number also includes a record number of alumni. By continuing to work together, we're looking forward to an even bigger and better year in 2013-14.

I'm happy to announce that SkillsUSA will be covered in a nationwide PBS special program entitled "American Graduate Day" on September 28, 2013. The seven-hour program will focus on community organizations that successfully keep students from dropping out of school. It will be a "call-to-action" program featuring a "dynamic mix of long-form programming, live breaks, and pre-taped segments to tell the story of community partners and how they provide support, advice and intervention services to at-risk students, families and schools. I encourage you all to watch it. For more information, go to: www.americangraduate.org/grad-day.

Work Smart and Hard
As many of you know, our keynote speaker during the 2013 National Leadership Skills Conference opening ceremony was Mike Rowe. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is promoting hard work and supports the skilled trades. Mike is a proponent of SkillsUSA and career and technical education. If you would like to learn more about his message "Profoundly Disconnected," or order the "Work Smart and Hard" poster for your classroom, go to: www.profoundlydisconnected.com.


Perkins Advocacy Alert and Message
U.S. CapitolSince 2010, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act funding has been cut by more than $140 million and because of sequestration, Perkins will lose an additional $58 million for the 2013-14 school year. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a funding bill that restores recent cuts made to Perkins by sequestration and provides funding at the FY 2012 level. As of late August, the House had not released its appropriations bill for education and workforce development programs.

SkillsUSA, in cooperation with the Association for Career and Technical Education, asks that our constituents write to their members of congress to ask them to increase funding for CTE - back to the FY2010 level.

An alert and message has been posted on the SkillsUSA Adovcacy site. To send a letter to your senators and to your representative, go to http://capwiz.com/skillsusa/home/. You can also enter the site by going to www.skillsusa.org, clicking on about us, advocacy and legislative and advocacy site. Enter your zip code and the rest is self-explanatory. Please spread the word, and take a few minutes to write to your members of congress and help CTE regain the Perkins funding it needs.


Free SkillsUSA Advisor Membership Incentives
When 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 they are a professional member of SkillsUSA and have a minimum of 15 members in their training program.

Here is how it works - they register their 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 they win or until the program ends. The program will run from September 16-November 15, 2013.


E-learning Opportunities
SkillsUSA is offering e-learning opportunities to all advisors. These 45-minute webinars will help prepare you for a great year. You will get practical answers and useful solutions to empower students to lead their chapter to success. Each e-learning session will be presented at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (EDT) on the scheduled day. To register, go to http://www.skillsusa.org/join/elearning.shtml. Participants will also receive a free resource item just for attending an e-learning session. The session dates follow:

  • Membership recruitment - Tuesday, September 10
  • Landing page and membership registration - Tuesday, September 17
  • Electing chapter officers - Tuesday, September 24
  • Managing successful chapter meetings - Thursday, September 26
  • Program of work development - Tuesday, October 1
  • Integrating SkillsUSA into the classroom environment - Thursday, October 3
  • SkillsUSA programs - Tuesday, October 8
  • Student leadership development - Thursday, October 10
  • Preparing for the SkillsUSA Championships - Tuesday, October 15

CTE Promotional Public
Service Announcements Available

During the 2013 SkillsUSA Championships, SkillsUSA asked state gold medalists in their Television (Video) Production contests to submit a public service announcement with messages of encouraging teens to enroll in CTE courses.

All of the submitted PSAs are now available to use at this link. We encourage you to use these videos in your community to encourage CTE participation.


New Educational Resources for 2013-14
Interstate Batteries logoRESOLUTE: Ethics at Work
As students enter the work force, they will face a variety of ethical dilemmas that require well-developed decision-making and problem-solving skills. The decisions they make will influence the quality of their work environment as well as the quality of their productivity. They will interact with a diverse group of coworkers, from various cultural backgrounds, as they work together to solve problems that have ethical implications. RESOLUTE: Ethics at Work cards are a collection of scenarios representing day-to-day dilemmas that workers of many occupations are likely to face on their jobs.

Results to Honor Cards
Most of us would agree that hearing the words "good job" or "nice work" is encouraging. But when we receive a compliment, praise or "thank you" that is targeted and specific, it can be even more meaningful to us. When we acknowledge the specific, positive actions and behaviors of our students, we help them to grow. The Results to Honor Cards are a user-friendly teaching tool designed to reinforce the character and leadership skills that lead to success in the classroom, workplace and other areas of their lives. The set consists of seven different cards, designed around SkillsUSA's Champions at Work seven key words- connected, motivated, respected, educated, involved, skilled and prepared.

Leverage Your Leadership with Effective Chapter Meetings
Meetings are vital to organize activities, plan and fulfill a chapter's program of work and learn essential lifetime skills. Hosting and facilitating effective chapter meetings is critical to overall chapter success. This booklet features six interactive lesson plans to help your students learn about their officer roles and how to apply them within the chapter. In 10-15 minutes, each lesson can be supported using enrichment activities.

To order these products and more, go to http://www.skillsusa.org/store/newproducts.html.

Work Force Ready System imageSkillsUSA is pleased to announce a partnership with K2Share as our new platform provider for the Work Force Ready System Skill Connect Assessments. K2Share is the same company that administers the CareerSafe program and the assessment for the 10-hour OSHA safety credential. We are excited about the new features that will be offered to our customers as a result of this change.

Our goal is to have pretest assessments available to order by September 16th with the post-tests available shortly after that date. Pricing remains the same at $20 per assessment or $10 per assessment for the number of SkillsUSA members in the previous school year. Please note that payment must be secured before the order can be processed. For details, visit our website here.

Our new phone number, email address and hours of operation for Assessment Customer Support
Direct: 1-866-444-7779
Email: support@skillconnect.org
Help Desk Support Hours: Mon- Fri 8 a.m. -6 p.m. Eastern time

Place your order and view a complete list of available assessments on our Work Force Ready System website.


2014 Lowe's GrantsLowe's logo
Lowe's enters a fifth year of generosity with another round of SkillsUSA grants in 2014. Two grant opportunities will be available.

CareerSafe 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. Vouchers will be awarded in January 2014.

The Schools In Need Grant program is to identify schools, classrooms or instructors who have a very basic need to improve the quality of the students' educational experience. Grants will be awarded ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

Grant applications should detail the need for classroom improvements, upgrading or providing tangible tools for learning technical skills, leadership development opportunities, or providing competition clothing that will enable students to compete at SkillsUSA events. In addition, those applicants who can outline their plan to "pay it forward" by planning and implementing a project or event that will allow them to use the tools or skills obtained, due to receiving the grant dollars, will stand a greater chance of receiving funding. The best projects will detail how the outcome will provide a life-changing experience for the beneficiaries of the grant dollars. Grant recipients will be announced and funds awarded in January 2014. Grant applications can be found here.


Questions About Starting
or Strengthening a Chapter

New this year, advisors can call or email the SkillsUSA Membership Hotline when they have questions about starting a SkillsUSA chapter or need assistance with ways to strengthen their existing chapter and engage more members. We have two operators who are ready to help at 800-355-8422 or by email to Debbie Peabody at dpeabody@skillsusa.org or to Marsha Strickland at mstrickland@skillsusa.org.


Educated and Skilled to
Lead America Video Competition

"Educated and Skilled to Lead America" is SkillsUSA'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.


"Start Something Today" Challenge
SkillsUSA is partnering with WebProfessionals.org for the new "StartSomething Today" Challenge. The challenge, sponsored by WebProfessionals.org, is designed to inspire student entrepreneurs to actualize their business initiatives while sparking business creation and workforce development.

This new competition, conducted completely over the Web, will provide students with an award-winning start to launching a business idea, plan and pitch to business and industry professionals and win recognition and prizes. The "Start Something Today" challenge is open to current student entrepreneurs, regardless of where they are in their education and career journeys.

All students who participate will receive free entrepreneurship training; free business plan development training; and mentoring. Students are responsible for writing their own business plans and pitching their businesses with a 3-5 minute YouTube.com video.

Recognition will be awarded to the first- and second-place winners in each category. Winners will receive free website support to market their business plan and/or products and will have their pitch introduced to potential investors.

For complete contest details, go to: http://startsomethingtoday.org. The deadline for contest entries is December 1, 2013. For more information, contact Bill Cullifer at bill@webprofessionals.org.