Active Advisor News: April 2020

Active Advisor News: April 2020

2020 NLSC and SkillsUSA Championships Canceled

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SkillsUSA has made the difficult decision to cancel its National Leadership and Skills Conference — including the SkillsUSA Championships — previously scheduled for June 22-26 in Louisville, Ky. At a later date this year yet to be determined, SkillsUSA will be holding virtual events consisting of state officer training, delegate sessions, national officer elections and select recognition programs. More specific information on these virtual events will be coming soon. All other activities and competitive events related to the national conference are canceled and will not be rescheduled.

What follows is a portion of the official statement from SkillsUSA executive director Chelle Travis explaining this decision in greater detail:

“Many factors led to this decision, but I’d like to share the two most impactful. First, there is nothing more important to SkillsUSA than the health and wellbeing of our members and stakeholders. With so much yet unknown about this virus and how long it might affect us, we could not in good conscience move forward with an in-person event this June.

Second, our national event is dependent on state participation. As of this writing, 27 states have canceled their conferences and would not be participating in our national event even if it was held as planned. Others are basing their decisions on whether or not their school systems reconvene this year, which becomes less likely each day.

SkillsUSA completely supports the difficult decisions our dedicated state directors have made over the last several weeks, and we commend them for their tireless work. Nevertheless, without robust state participation, holding our national conference is simply not a viable option.

I know the disappointment this decision will cause so many of you. It’s a disappointment shared by all of us. But we must rise above that disappointment and remember who we are. We are SkillsUSA. I assure each one of you: SkillsUSA won’t just survive this crisis. We’ll come through it stronger than ever. This setback is temporary, but the legacy, spirit and strength of this organization endures in each one of you.”

The full statement, along with a video from Chelle, can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/NLSC-announcement

SkillsUSA National Signing Day Canceled for 2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SkillsUSA also made the decision to cancel SkillsUSA National Signing Day, previously scheduled for May 8. The decision aligns with current guidelines from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal government, as well as stay-at-home mandates and other directives from state governments.

The decision to cancel National Signing Day follows SkillsUSA’s decision to cancel its 2020 National Leadership and Skills Conference this June. Although a variety of logistical factors influenced these decisions, including what would have been a distinct lack of state participation resulting from the pandemic, both were driven — first and foremost — by health concerns. “There is nothing more important to SkillsUSA than the health and wellbeing of our members and stakeholders,” said SkillsUSA executive director Chelle Travis.

Despite this setback for 2020, plans are already underway for next year’s event, currently scheduled for May 4, 2021. SkillsUSA and its National Signing Day partners are more dedicated than ever to build on the inspiring success of the 2019 National Signing Day event while continuing to shine a much-needed public spotlight on students pursuing careers in the skilled trades. 

New Offer Provides Complimentary Access to SkillsUSA Career Essentials for Your Virtual Classroom

The current pandemic has forced local administrators and teachers to quickly move their courses to virtual/online environments. To support schools rapidly working to find solutions to online learning, SkillsUSA recently announced a deep discount approach to providing schools with access to SkillsUSA Career Essentials curriculum bundles.

Now, thanks to the generosity of select partners, we are excited to be able to provide complimentary (free) access to those same resources for a limited number of students. These curriculum bundles are valued from $25 to $65 per access. As we do not foresee this opportunity repeating itself beyond the current health crisis, we hope many of you will be able to take advantage of it as quickly as possible.

For full details on this special offer, click here.

If you have further questions, please contact: careeressentials@skillsusa.org.

To participate in a one-hour overview of the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite resources, sign up using the online registration form.

If you would like to become a Career Essentials Certified Teacher, please register for this four-hour professional development here.

“Keep CTE Moving” to Help Students Continue Learning During COVID-19 Crisis

SkillsUSA has joined with Lincoln Electric, Tooling U-SME, Haas Automation, NC3, camInstructor, NCCER, The American Welding Society, Autodesk, Caterpillar Inc. and Sandvik to form a new career and technical education (CTE) instructional resource called the CTE Coalition. The goal of the coalition is to leverage shared experiences, connections and resources for the benefit of all CTE students who are facing unprecedented educational challenges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a first step in accomplishing that goal, the coalition quickly mobilized Keep CTE Moving, a new website providing free resources for CTE instructors and their students.

Keep CTE Moving allows those instructors and students access to hundreds of online classes, videos, and instructional materials in areas such as machining, welding, mechatronics, industry 4.0, and programming. All online materials — many available at no charge for the next 30 days — are produced by the coalition partners. These resources will help CTE faculty and students adapt teaching and learning to a new virtual environment with the flexibility to learn now and test hands-on skills later.

With this opportunity, tens of thousands of CTE students can keep learning, even while they may not be allowed to gather in a physical classroom or lab. Understanding the urgency for resources, coalition partners are also providing recorded sessions with CTE instructors highlighting best practices in how to transition to a virtual learning environment.

CTE instructors are urged to visit Keep CTE Moving regularly for new partners, more learning resources and guidance that will evolve over time. For more information and to access resources, visit www.ctecoalition.com.

Changes Coming to SkillsUSA Champions Magazine

Stakeholders will see some new changes to SkillsUSA Champions magazine this spring. Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis and the fact that most school systems are closed for the remainder of the year, SkillsUSA will not be publishing a summer edition of Champions. Instead, we are creating a dynamic new SkillsUSA Champions digital hub that will launch in May.

This digital storytelling hub will allow SkillsUSA to tell more stories more often about our students, teachers, alumni and partners. It will also allow members to easily share their own story leads and ideas. More details on this interactive microsite will be shared in late April.

In addition, beginning in fall 2020, Champions will be published in print format twice per school year: once in the fall and once in the spring. The fall printed issue will debut design changes to the magazine’s look and layout. We are excited about these changes and the ability to share more of our success stories with our members and the public in a new digital format, supplemented by our redesigned print editions.

In the meantime, if you have ideas or suggestions for content, story ideas or ways to boost online readership, please email director of communications Tom Kercheval at: tkercheval@skillsusa.org.

Calling All Demand-Side Success Stories

Teachers, has your CTE program filled a need for a local employer or business? Was the need filled by providing student interns or apprentices? Was it filled by ensuring that the company gained access to a solid pipeline of new talent? We want to capture those stories to help demonstrate how SkillsUSA and CTE are rising to meet the demands of business and industry in solving their workforce challenges.

If you’ve got a story to share, we’d love to interview you and your business partners to learn about the challenge that the business faced, the solution applied through the industry/education partnership, and the outcome and benefit of the partnership for the company.

To help get us your story, complete the short information form at https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/demand-side-innovationssuccess-stories/ so that we can get in touch with you for an interview. You could receive $100 in SkillsUSA merchandise and educational resources for your time and story lead.

Lowe’s Sponsors New Chapter Resource Grants

Lowe’s wants to ensure that new SkillsUSA chapters are ready to excel by providing them with a $1,000 grant for educational resources. The first 100 chapters that apply and qualify for the grant will receive a wealth of SkillsUSA resources (25 products). This opportunity is for newer SkillsUSA chapters started in the last two school years (2018-19 or 2019-20). The application deadline is April 15. Grant selection will take place in late April and resources will be shipped by mid-May.

To see a full list of the educational resources included in the grant and to apply, visit: www.skillsusa.org/new-chapter-resource-grant-sponsored-by-lowes.

SkillsUSA Scholarships and Programs — Deadlines Extended 

President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA)
This presidential honor is an award that recognizes the valuable contributions of volunteers across the country who are answering a national call to serve others through their current activities or lifetime efforts. With SkillsUSA’s focus on community service, many advisors and students have already met the requirements to receive the award. To qualify, SkillsUSA members, advisors or alumni must submit a record of service hours.

For details on qualifying hours and requirements, visit: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/awards/presidents-volunteer-service-award. Applications must be received by May 15.

Student2Student recognizes SkillsUSA chapters that are involved in a mentoring program in their communities. To enter, submit your mentoring project plan, description and outcomes. All entries must now be submitted by May 15. To download a Mentoring Guide, see last year’s winning project or complete your application, visit: www.skillsusa.org/programs/mentoring-student2student/.

Advisor of the Year
The SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year program recognizes Professional members who actualize the organization’s mission of empowering students to become world-class workers, leaders, and responsible American citizens. A SkillsUSA chapter is only successful with the support of an Advisor who has dedicated themselves to career and technical education by intentionally integrating the SkillsUSA Framework and ensuring students can articulate the skills they have developed. The deadline to submit state-level recipients is May 15.

For questions, please contact Taryn Zeigler at tzeigler@skillsusa.org.

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools
During this challenging time for educators, students and families, the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools team hopes to share good news and spotlight hardworking and passionate skilled trades teachers. That’s why the 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence is accepting applications until May 13. In 2019, the prize recognized 12 SkillsUSA instructors as winners. Learn more and apply at hftforschoolsprize.org.

Rees Scholarship Foundation
The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, an Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute Charitable Foundation, in partnership with SkillsUSA, is offering eight one-time, merit-based $2,500 scholarships to SkillsUSA students who are currently enrolled in a HVACR or a general construction program and who will be pursuing college/postsecondary career training in the HVACR industry. The scholarship will provide tuition support in the 2021-22 school year.

Applications must be submitted by May 15. Recipients will be informed on June 1. For more information and to apply, visit: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/scholarships-financial-aid/.

Scholarships with Approaching Deadlines

Scholarship opportunities are an important benefit of SkillsUSA membership. Students must be active, dues-paid SkillsUSA members to be eligible for a scholarship through SkillsUSA or its partners. Scholarships are offered in several areas. Some are based on merit, while others are related to financial need. Current opportunities include:

Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Scholarship
Through a donation from the Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Fund, SkillsUSA and the McMinn County Vocational Center SkillsUSA Alumni Association are offering a $500 scholarship to a SkillsUSA high school senior in memory of Sharon Melton Myers. The deadline for applications is April 15. To apply, go to: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/sharon-melton-myers-memorial-scholarship/.

#KeepCraftAlive Scholarship
Fine Homebuilding will be awarding at least twelve $2,500 scholarship awards to SkillsUSA high school or college/postsecondary students who will continue their education or certification in construction-related fields, including architectural drafting, carpentry, cabinetmaking, electrical and residential wiring, HVACR, masonry, woodworking and plumbing. Application deadline is April 17. To apply, go to: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/mo8vxup0ox6snb/.

To keep up with scholarship opportunities, go to:  www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/scholarships-financial-aid/.

Receive up to $2,500 to Pursue Career and Technical Education

More than 1,000 career and technical education scholarships of up to $2,500 each are offered through the Horatio Alger Endowment Fund. Scholarships are awarded to students who have overcome great obstacles in their lives and who plan to enroll in a career and technical education program at an accredited nonprofit postsecondary institution.

The CTE application is open through April 15 for high school seniors planning to enroll in the fall of 2020. To learn more and apply, visit: https://scholars.horatioalger.org/about-our-scholarship-programs/technical/.

Support for Delivering Online Instruction

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) recognizes the dramatic impact that dealing with COVID-19 is having on instructional efforts. ACTE and MaxKnowledge are offering a selection of free online courses to prepare CTE teachers to teach online, and the content is complimentary through May 1.

Click here to go to the “Online Teachers” section of “CTE Learn”, ACTE’s online learning network. From there, click on “Delivering Online Instruction” and select your course. Register or login and enter the key “MK-ACTE” to enroll. Contact support@ctelearn.org if you have questions or issues.