Active Advisor News: October 2017

Tim Lawrence

Update from Tim Lawrence

SkillsUSA WorldTeam Heads to Abu Dhabi
The 2017 WorldSkills Competition is almost here. The SkillsUSA WorldTeam competitors, their experts and SkillsUSA staff will be leaving on Oct. 10 for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The competition runs four days from Oct. 15-18, and the awards ceremony will be held on Oct. 19. To get updates and see photos of the team and the competition, follow the SkillsUSA Facebook page and check out the SkillsUSA website at: WorldTeam information is here:

Competing for the United States:

  • Automobile Technology: Jonathan Robertson, Blue Springs, Mo.
  • Bakery: Jordyn Baker, Anchorage, Alaska
  • Bricklaying: Luke Dutton, Salisbury, N.C.
  • Hairdressing: Kylie Burkey, Bristol, Tenn.
  • Mechatronics (team): Joshua Whittington, Hogansville, Ga., and Corey Cleghorn, Tifton, Ga.
  • Plumbing and Heating: Asher Chicoine, East Hampton, Mass.
  • Print Media Technology: Chandler Kerr, Severn, Md.
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning: Krzysztof (Chris) Zamajtys, Bohemia, N.Y.
  • Web Design: Riley Johnson, Carrboro, N.C.
  • Welding: Chandler Vincent, Price, Utah
Betsy DeVos and SkillsUSA

Secretary of the Department of Education Betsy DeVos and SkillsUSA’s National Officer Team.

WLTI Students Showcase SkillsUSA on the Hill
We’ve closed the books on another successful Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI). The conference was held Sept. 24-27 in Alexandria, Va., and participation was higher than ever, with 494 coming from 28 states.

On Sunday, the group enjoyed SkillsUSA Framework and advocacy training, a legislative lunch panel featuring Karishma Merchant, senior education policy advisor for Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.); Sam Morgante, legislative director for Rep. S. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.); Mitch Coppes, legislative and regulatory affairs manager for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE); and Eric Gearhart, special projects consultant for SkillsUSA. The panel discussed ways to make an effective visit to Congress. In the evening, the group went on a night tour of Washington’s most famous monuments.

On Monday, states planned for the next day’s advocacy visits in the morning before departing for Washington to honor the fallen of 9/11 at the Pentagon Memorial. In the afternoon, states toured and explored the city on their own.

On Tuesday morning, everyone set off in red blazers for Capitol Hill. The day began with a “Rally for CTE” at Upper Senate Park. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Acting Assistant Secretary Kim R. Ford rallied the group for the congressional visits to follow and shared their support for SkillsUSA and CTE. State delegations visited with their representatives in the afternoon and then went to Arlington Ceremony for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. An evening celebration at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center topped off the day complete with a cookout, building tours, field games and a live band.

To hear audio of Secretary DeVos’ speech, go to: To read more about the CTE rally, the release is located at: To download the group photo taken at Upper Senate Park, or to find other WLTI photos, go to:

WorldTeam Trains in Washington, D.C.
From Sept. 10-13, the SkillsUSA WorldTeam to Leesburg, Va., to train with their experts and the SkillsUSA staff. On Sept. 12, the group traveled to Washington, D.C., and visited the United Arab Emirates Embassy for a cultural presentation designed to provide a better understanding of the country they will be visiting. After the presentation, the team visited the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) for a private briefing in the Secretary of Education’s conference room. Our good friend at the USDOE, Robin Utz, led the way for this important meeting. Leading the meeting was Acting Undersecretary of Education James Manning. Also participating were Israel Hernandez, the acting undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce; Kim R. Ford, acting assistant secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education; Sharon Miller, director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education; and Robin Utz, branch chief in the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. Here are the U.S. Department of Education photos from the event:

That’s all for now. Thanks for all you do for the great students we serve.

New Magazine Issue Highlights the Best of Membership

By now, SkillsUSA advisors should have received the fall issue of SkillsUSA Champions. Please direct your students to the digital edition of the magazine on the SkillsUSA website here: In addition to the news and motivational content in the print issue, the digital edition includes related videos, student presentations, direct links to external resources and other dynamic material.

The fall issue always focuses on the best of SkillsUSA and the promise of membership, and it can be helpful in recruitment. It includes articles about members from Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Virginia, Minnesota, Delaware, Connecticut, Nevada and Ohio. There’s also coverage of our national conference, new national officers, the SkillsUSA WorldTeam, gold medalists, Models of Excellence and other award winners. This issue provides an official introduction to the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite of products and the new SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge. A teacher’s guide to covering the issue with students has also been posted alongside the link to the digital edition. 

New Public Relations Challenge Opens

A new online challenge encourages local chapters to demonstrate how they showcase SkillsUSA to the news media in ways that highlight CTE and student success. The purpose of the challenge is to help students grow in their communication and teamwork skills while promoting SkillsUSA to a wider audience. The SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge will be open to March 30, 2018. The media coverage period must be three months to six months.

Student officers and advisors, state officers and state staff can join the new SkillsUSA Public Relations and Advocacy Facebook group, “Must Love Red.” This is a closed group that will provide resources for your public relations and advocacy efforts. We encourage your students to join this site at:

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

The SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge entry application is located on the “Must Love Red” Facebook page. You must complete an application and document all news coverage. For questions, contact Karen Kitzel, or 703-737-0607. For complete rules, go to:

A New Way to Highlight 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

New National Awards Showcase CTE Partnerships and Champions

Do you know a school or program that’s created a successful partnership with local business, industry or community groups? Or, is there an outspoken supporter in your community who’s championed the value of modern, high-quality CTE? Learn more about these new Association for Career and Technical Education awards:

All eligible nominations will be highlighted in a new showcase of best practices and success stories.

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 the CareerSafe website after Oct. 16 at:

Free Access to Autodesk Software for SkillsUSA Instructors

Autodesk, a SkillsUSA sponsor for over 20 years, is once again providing SkillsUSA students and educators with free access to their software. Autodesk shares our goal of preparing students in STEM-based careers and creating an industry-ready workforce. To register, visit the Autodesk Education Community at:

New Tools Help Instructors Embed Global Content into CTE Coursework

A new, free professional development course and toolkit, “Global Competence Through Career and Technical Education,” is available for instructors. This is a customizable, 10-12 hour, online course and toolkit for middle- and high-school school CTE instructors. It was created by Asia Society’s Center for Global Education in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education and Advance CTE, through funding from the PMI Educational Foundation. Educators can earn two continuing education units upon completion of the course. For more information, visit: or email Heather Singmaster, associate director, Asia Society at:

ESAB Student Contest Supports Schools

ESAB supports education and careers in the welding, cutting and manufacturing industries. Its WeldItForward student contest supports high school and postsecondary schools with a technical, vocational or engineering focus.

As the grand prize, ESAB is awarding its equipment filler metals and cash prizes — a retail value exceeding $20,000 to two schools. The first deadline is Oct. 9. For more information, go to: