Active Advisor News: November 2017

Update from Tim Lawrence

Tim LawrenceSkillsUSA Team Receives Honors at Internationals
The SkillsUSA WorldTeam competed in October at the WorldSkills Competition. There were 1,251 total competitors from 58 member countries working in 51 occupational areas. All 11 members of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam were fierce competitors, and we are so proud of them.

While our team did not receive any gold, silver or bronze medallions at the closing ceremony on Oct. 19, we were honored to receive four Medallions of Excellence. These are awarded to competitors who earn 700 or more points from a maximum possible 800 points. Recognized were:

  • Chandler Vincent of Price, Utah, in Welding
  • Krzysztof Zamajtys of Bohemia, N.Y., in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
  • Asher Chicoine of East Hampton, Mass., in Plumbing and Heating
  • Kylie Burkey of Bristol, Tenn., in Hairdressing

Vincent also received the Best of Nation award, given to the competitor with the highest points for each country’s team. For the first time, SkillsUSA awarded all 11 competitors a SkillsUSA WorldTeam medallion to recognize their excellence in the 2017 program — these are true SkillsUSA Champions.

From the opening dinner to a warm welcome from a local girls’ school and throughout the Oct. 15-18 competition, the experience was unforgettable. To experience the unique Middle Eastern culture and meet workforce development experts from every corner of the globe truly expands your mind to new possibilities and perspectives. It was an incredible journey in so many ways.

Our Print Media Technology competitor, Chandler Kerr of Severn, Md., summed it up: “Coming up on the last day was bittersweet. The final goodbyes were emotional. We formed tight bonds and got to know each other very well. Everyone at the competition was so supportive and helpful. Thank you to my fellow competitors, the technical experts, those who managed all the events, and especially the SkillsUSA staff and everyone back home who supported me. None of this would’ve been possible without everyone’s involvement.”

In all, we had around 50 U.S. representatives and supporters join us in United Arab Emirates, including Kayleen McCabe, our former national conference keynote speaker; Carl Peters from Lincoln Electric; technical experts for each of our contests; several parents and family members of the competitors; and SkillsUSA board member Jen Worth from the American Association of Community Colleges.

Thanks to the hundreds of people here in the United States who followed our journey on social media. Our 11 competitors truly gave it their all. The next WorldSkills competition will be held in August 2019 in Kazan, Russia.

Wall Street Journal Covers WorldSkills

On the heels of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam’s return from United Arab Emirates, a story was published on the front page of the Oct. 29 Wall Street Journal about the WorldSkills Competition. The article, entitled “The Thrill of Victory in Welding, Baking and Bricklaying,” features a photo and some quotes from our Bakery competitor, Jordyn Baker. She and I were interviewed in Abu Dhabi by the reporter, Bill Spindle. See it here:

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

Register by Nov. 15 for These Incentives

Why register yourself as a professional member of SkillsUSA? It’s one of the best ways you can demonstrate to your students the importance of membership and the opportunities it provides.

SkillsUSA professional members, as a free member benefit, receive online access to these items when they have submitted a current and accurate email address along with their membership details: 2018 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards, our Jump into STEM! curriculum and SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Foundations. Once membership has been submitted, an email will be sent to the address on file that will include a pin number to access the items electronically.

As a special membership incentive, register at least 15 student members in your training program plus one or more professionals by Nov. 15, and you will receive a free educational resource item, Impact: Experiential Activities that Launch Productive Teams (value $9.95). Instructors who register with 100-percent membership plus one or more professionals will also receive a SkillsUSA Program of Work calendar (value: $5.95).

For more details on these incentives, see the membership kits or visit the SkillsUSA website: or you can begin to register yourself and your students at:

Learn About the Newly Released Career Essentials: Experiences

The new SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences curriculum is now available online. Replacing the Professional Development Program (PDP), Career Essentials: Experiences is one component in a suite of products. These turnkey solutions define, implement and measure career readiness in students.

SkillsUSA will host two webinars on this new product, taking you from ordering to reporting. Both training sessions will run on two different dates. To gain full knowledge of the product as soon as possible — and because there may be different roles in your school for ordering and implementing the curriculum — you may choose to attend both webinars or just the one that applies to your role. Please register ahead of time for the webinar that will benefit you, and share this information to other teachers and administrators in your school.

  • Career Essentials: Experiences — Overview and Ordering Process
    This presentation will introduce the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite and the new Career Essentials Assessment, Career-Ready. Topics covered: Career Essentials website overview, pricing and payment requirements, refund and exchange policy, IEP accommodations, creating your username/account in the system, steps to place an online order, and order management and customer support.

Dates and Times (You only need to participate on one of these dates)

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m. EST
Registration URL:
Webinar ID: 754-750-635

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m. EST
Registration URL:
Webinar ID: 405-687-275

  • Career Essentials: Experiences — Management Tools and Student Access
    This presentation walks you through the steps of implementing the Experiences to students and goes over the various management tools available. Topics covered: Fundamental and Advanced Experiences, verifying hardware/software requirements, accessing vouchers (to be provided to students to give access to the curriculum), teacher resources, creating a student account/username, redeeming vouchers for student use, exploring the student Learning Path, distributing vouchers to other teachers/administrators, reporting features and customer support.

Dates and Times (You only need to participate on one of these dates)

Thursday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m.-4:45 p.m. EST
Registration URL:
Webinar ID: 820-770-091

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 4 p.m.- 4:45 p.m. EST
Registration URL:
Webinar ID: 547-534-307

SkillsUSA looks forward to sharing this information with you. If you are unable to attend, the webinars will be recorded and archived on the website at:

For assistance, call the SkillsUSA Career Essentials Team at 1-866-444-7779 or email

Register Today for CEP Quality Chapter Application Webinar

You know you are having a great year in SkillsUSA, so why not be recognized for it? Did you elect officers, hold chapter meetings and engage in chapter activities? Then take it to the next level: Complete the Chapter Excellence Program Quality Chapter application and receive the recognition you have earned as a chapter. Join SkillsUSA for an easy to follow, 30-minute webinar that will take you step-by-step through the application process — after all, you’ve earned it!

Please register for the webinar “Completing the CEP Quality Chapter Application” on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 3 p.m. EST at:  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.

New Research Highlights SkillsUSA’s Value

Sixty-three percent of SkillsUSA members are planning to pursue their chosen CTE field, as compared with only 34 percent of students who are not members of a career and technical student organization (CTSO), according to new research.

Attracting the Next Generation Workforce: The Role of Career and Technical Education was written by the Manufacturing Institute (MI) based on surveys conducted by the Educational Research Center of America (ERCA) in collaboration with SkillsUSA and MI.

The survey’s purpose is to inspire dialogue between parents, educators, counselors and CTE students, thus better preparing students for future careers. It was conducted in classrooms nationwide between August and December 2016. In total, 56,894 high school students and 1,252 high school teachers responded, including many SkillsUSA members. Students participating in the survey were enrolled in at least one CTE program of study.

It would be expensive and difficult for SkillsUSA, as a nonprofit, to conduct this research without partners like ERCA and MI. This validated study lends extra credibility to the good work we are doing within SkillsUSA.

While CTE has long faced a perception challenge, this report indicates that educators’ opinions of CTE continue to change for the better. In fact, 82 percent of the teachers surveyed believe CTE prepares students for the workforce and continued education, compared with 78 percent of teachers in a similar survey in 2015.

These CTE teachers believe industry-recognized credentials are valuable to students, with 65 percent saying industry certificates are the most valuable educational credentials after a high school degree.

This winter, SkillsUSA is continuing the collaboration with ERCA and MI. Students who participate in the research may receive information from colleges, universities or other postsecondary institutions, or information about postsecondary scholarship opportunities.

If you want to be included in survey mailings, send your name, high school name and mailing address to Feel free to use these research findings in your own work.

Here is a link to the new report, which has SkillsUSA’s logo on the front:

The Best Way to Build a Successful SkillsUSA Chapter

SkillsUSA’s Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) recognizes your achievement in integrating the SkillsUSA Framework in chapter activities related to the program of work. As a chapter’s yearly action plan, the SkillsUSA program of work is at the heart of student learning and employability development. By using our framework as a guide, chapters have a blueprint for creating relevant activities that encourage participation and help students understand what they’re learning.

The SkillsUSA Framework’s focus on intentional learning turns the program of work into more than just a planning tool. Using the framework, the program of work becomes the vital conduit that links students to the application of personal, workplace and technical skills demanded by industry — the SkillsUSA trifecta for student success.

Within each of these three areas, there are specific Essential Elements. These are high-demand employability skills as defined by industry, and the benchmark for measuring student success during an activity. For example, if students learn the Essential Element of responsibility during a personal skills activity, the SkillsUSA Framework requires that a chapter be specific regarding the how and why students learned responsibility. This conscientious approach gives added meaning to the valuable experience students gain in planning, organizing and implementing activities. Most importantly, this approach actualizes SkillsUSA’s mission to “empower members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens” on the chapter level.

Every chapter is encouraged to participate in CEP, and there are three award levels to recognize program involvement. The first two levels are acknowledged by a chapter’s state SkillsUSA association, and the third level is recognized nationally through Models of Excellence. Each level is designed to give chapters a benchmark for success and future improvement, leading to stronger chapters and better prepared students. The more a chapter applies the SkillsUSA Framework, the greater the chance for CEP honors.

Start your Chapter Excellence Program application today and begin to earn recognition for your chapter. The online application is on the main page of the membership registration site once you have logged into your school account ( Questions? Use the resources below to introduce students to CEP:

Additional help is only a phone call or email away: 844-875-4557 or

Reminder: SkillsUSA PR Challenge is On!

Now is the time to begin your application and news coverage for the SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge. This online challenge encourages local chapters to demonstrate how they showcase SkillsUSA to the news media in ways that highlight CTE and student success.

The SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge is open until March 30. The media coverage period must be three months to six months, starting as far back as Sept. 1. Three schools will be selected as winners. One state officer team will also be recognized. Winners will receive a check payable to their school or state association.

  • SkillsUSA Media Champion (first-place school or section): $900
  • SkillsUSA Media Boss (second-place school or section): $300
  • SkillsUSA Media Whiz (third-place school or section): $200
  • State Advocacy Award (first-place State Officer Team): $900

For complete rules, go to:

Earn Presidential Honors

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 while volunteering.

This award is a presidential honor 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. 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 SkillsUSA directors are also encouraged to document service hours and apply for the award.

For details on qualifying hours and requirements for submission, visit: Applications must be postmarked by March 30.

Could Your Student Open Our Conference?

SkillsUSA is once again seeking talented student or adult performers to sing the national anthem at the opening ceremony during the 2018 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Audition videos can be submitted on CD or DVD and must be the singing of the national anthem. 

Please be sure each disc is marked with your name, address, school name and email address. Email submissions are not accepted. Send audition videos to Heidi Walsh, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. Questions may be directed to 703-737-0615 or Auditions must be received by Feb. 2.  SkillsUSA does not pay any travel expenses for the selected singer to attend the national conference. 

Take Up the Challenge! National Conference Pin and T-Shirt Design

Feb. 5 is the deadline for entries to be received to the SkillsUSA National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Challenge. 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. Rules are posted on the SkillsUSA website at: Questions may be directed to Heidi Walsh at 703-737-0615 or by email to

Focus Your Students on Safety

CareerSafe sponsors a National Youth Safety Video Contest, in which students across the country are challenged to create a two-minute video demonstrating safety in the workplace. All submissions should be sent to CareerSafe by March 1. 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, visit or the CareerSafe website at:

Showcase Your Program’s Amazing Work

Advance CTE encourages schools to apply for the 2018 Excellence in Action award to showcase the work of their students and instructors at the national level. This award honors innovative and high-impact programs across the 16 career clusters that prepare students for the real world. Applications are open to both high schools and postsecondary institutions.

To apply, go to: The deadline for applications is Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. ET. Applications submitted after this deadline will not be considered. If you have questions, email Katie Fitzgerald at

Mark Your Calendar: Dates of Future National Conferences

Here are dates of the annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference through the year 2020:

  • June 25-29, 2018 (54th)
  • June 24-28, 2019 (55th)
  • June 22-26, 2020 (56th)

Free Occupational Safety and Health Resources Available

The National Council for Workforce Education, the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Association for Skilled and Technical Sciences and SkillsUSA have advised and supported research on postsecondary CTE construction safety and health education. The research was conducted in 2015-16 by the University of California Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program and West Virginia University’s Injury Control Research Center, with funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), through CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. Free resources are now available for your use at:

 Photo ID Requirements to Change for Flights to NLSC — Nine States Affected

Beginning Jan. 22, travelers from nine states will no longer be able to fly with only their driver’s licenses for their identification. Residents of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington will have to use alternate ID forms (passport, military ID or permanent resident card) to pass TSA security checkpoints — even for domestic travel. The reason is because driver’s licenses from these nine states do not meet the federal government’s minimum-security standards. For states to pass these standards, they must verify every ID applicant’s identity, put anti-counterfeit technology in the production of the card and conduct background checks on those who issue driver’s licenses.

Starting in January, passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight. This will affect students and advisors traveling to the 2018 National Leadership and Skills Conference, so please plan accordingly.

For more information, go to: