Active Advisor News: October 2018

Update from Tim Lawrence

Tim Lawrence

WLTI Students Showcase SkillsUSA on the Hill
We’ve closed the books on another successful Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) Sept. 22-26. Participation was higher than ever, with 543 coming from 26 states.

State delegations arrived that Saturday for the opening session and dinner. On Sunday, the group enjoyed a day of training on the SkillsUSA Framework and advocacy, including “CTE Hot Topics.” A legislative lunch panel followed, featuring 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 Kerry McKittrick, legislative assistant for Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.). The panel discussed ways to make an effective visit to Congress. There was more training in the afternoon, and after dinner, the group went on a night tour of Washington’s iconic monuments.

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

On Tuesday, to show support for SkillsUSA and CTE — and to celebrate the passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act — we held a “Perkins Power: SkillsUSA Rally for CTE.” The rally, originally scheduled for the west front of the U.S. Capitol, was rescheduled at the last minute due to the rainy weather. We had a great lineup of speakers including: Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation and former assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor; LeAnn Wilson, executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education; Kate Kreamer, deputy executive director of Advance CTE; and Craig Stanton, deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education. Robin Utz from OCTAE also attended.

State delegations made over 100 congressional visits in the afternoon, including to Krishnamoorthi, a co-author of the Perkins legislation. Then the group went to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. An evening celebration at our National Leadership Center topped off the day, complete with a groundbreaking for a new addition to our facility, a cookout, building tours, field games and some dancing.

To download the group photo taken at U.S. Capitol, or to find other WLTI photos, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/washington-leadership-training-institute/

WorldSkills USA Team Microsite Launches
SkillsUSA has launched a microsite for the WorldSkills USA team with bios and photos. We are excited to field a team of 23 competitors to Kazan, Russia, to compete in 21 skill categories. There are 22 experts plus SkillsUSA staff supporting this team, which now includes a demonstration event in Cyber Security. The 45th biennial event will be held Aug. 22-27, 2019. Check out the microsite here: www.WorldSkillsUSA.org.

The official WorldSkills USA team launch will be on Oct. 4, and we want to ensure that we are building followers on the team’s social media channels. Please visit each of the following links and click on “subscribe,” “like” or “follow” so you don’t miss our updates.

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

New Magazine Issue Focuses on the Power of Membership

The fall issue of SkillsUSA Champions is in the mail to SkillsUSA advisors. Please direct your students to the digital edition of the magazine on the SkillsUSA website here: www.skillsusa.org/publications-news/skillsusa-champions-magazine/. 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. The latest edition includes articles about successful members and alumni who are “paying it forward,” and they come from Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, Delaware, New Jersey, Colorado and Illinois. There’s also full coverage of our national conference, new national officers, the new WorldSkills USA team, gold medalists, Advisor of the Year finalists and other award winners. This issue announces the first winners of 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.

Apply for ACTE Teacher and Lifetime Service Awards Now

The Association for Career and Technical Education is seeking nominations for the National Trade and Industrial Education Division Awards. The deadline has been extended to Oct. 15. Qualified individuals may be nominated in the following categories, and you may nominate yourself. If you nominate someone else, please inform that person.

  • Lifetime Service
  • Outstanding New Teacher Award
  • Outstanding Teacher Award

The winner in each category receives a $500 travel stipend to attend the ACTE CareerTech VISION conference in San Antonio, Nov. 28-Dec. 1. To download nomination information, go here: www.skillsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ACTE-Awards-2018.pdf

ACTE’s CareerTech VISION offers four days of professional development, networking opportunities and direct access to thousands of people representing all facets of career and technical education. SkillsUSA actively participates in this annual event, so look for us on the program.

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: https://careertech.org/excellence-action-award. The deadline for applications is Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. ET. Applications submitted after this deadline will not be considered. If you have questions, email awards@careertech.org.

Registration is Open — Enjoy the Benefits of Professional Membership

The SkillsUSA registration site is open for the new school year. If you need assistance with SkillsUSA membership or registration, hotline operators are ready to answer questions about starting a new chapter, ways to engage chapter members or strategies to strengthen an existing chapter. Operators are on call 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday (Eastern time). To reach the hotline, call 844-875-4557 or email operators@skillsusa.org. You can also chat online on the membership registration site.

Professional members receive these great benefits:

  • 2018-19 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards. The official competition guide for the SkillsUSA Championships contains rules for all national competitive events, including an overview, lists of technical skills and knowledge required, clothing requirements, eligibility and equipment lists. Note: Because of the constant need for updates, both the latest SkillsUSA Championships contest updates and the official SkillsUSA Championships scorecards are located online here: skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-championships/contest-updates/
  • Jump into STEM! Curriculum includes middle-school and elementary-school STEM career exploration activities that can be taught by high-school members. This is a great opportunity to expose students to STEM careers and recruit for career and technical education programs as well as SkillsUSA.
  • SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Foundations. This complete curriculum includes 29 lesson plans that support the SkillsUSA Framework and prepare students for workplace success. Career Essentials: Foundations is the first building block in the suite of products offered through the SkillsUSA Career Essentials.

SkillsUSA professional members receive all of these materials when they submit membership along with a valid email address. The 2018-19 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards and other materials are provided through a digital delivery system. National dues for professional members are $20 plus state dues, which vary. The complete listing of 2018-19 state dues and deadlines is online or in the mailed membership kits.

Becoming a professional member of SkillsUSA is one of the best ways to demonstrate to students the importance of joining a professional organization and the opportunities that membership will provide.

Help is Only a Call, Email or Chat Away!

Hotline operators are ready to answer your questions on how to start a new chapter, engage chapter members and strengthen an existing chapter. Operators are on call from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday and Thursday. Call the hotline toll free: 844-875-4557.

Don’t have time to call? Send the operators an email at operators@skillsusa.org or chat with them online at the membership registration site.

Encourage Chapter Excellence Participation

Our Chapter Excellence Program honors SkillsUSA chapters in the areas of personal, workplace and technical skills. It aligns with the SkillsUSA Framework and establishes a baseline for quality chapters, with incentives for top performers.

The program consists of three award levels. Each level is designed to give chapters a benchmark for success and future improvement, leading to stronger chapters and more prepared students. The first level of the program honors chapters for meeting standards as a “Quality Chapter.” The second level recognizes chapters that go beyond the basic requirements with bronze, silver and gold “Chapters of Distinction” awards. The third level will honor the best chapters in the nation with a “Models of Excellence” award at the 2019 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

In this program, the focus is on the achievement of the students as a result of chapter involvement, not on the number of activities completed or participation in competitions. The emphasis is on student efforts in assuming personal responsibility, integrity, work ethic and organization in chapter activities. The more a chapter applies the SkillsUSA Framework, the greater the chance for CEP honors. For more information on how to participate, see the membership kits or go to: www.skillsusa.org/programs/chapter-excellence-program/ 

Members Get Free Access to Autodesk Software

Autodesk, a SkillsUSA sponsor for over 20 years, is again providing member students and educators with free access to software. Autodesk shares SkillsUSA’s goal of preparing students in STEM-based careers and creating an industry-ready workforce. Visit the Autodesk Education Community at: www.autodesk.com/education.

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. 15 at: www.careersafeonline.com

Use SkillsUSA Advocacy Tools to Promote Your State Activities

The SkillsUSA advocacy site is a free resource for state leaders and advisors, and it has recently been expanded with more state contacts including your governor, lieutenant governor, state senators and representatives, state attorneys general and other local officials. You can also write to your U.S. members of Congress and contact the media.

By using our advocacy tools, you can let elected officials and local media outlets know about SkillsUSA and your upcoming activities. For example, you can email a letter of invitation, request a visit to your state house, publicize a local event to your media, or request an appointment with your U.S. senator or U.S. representative.

To write to elected officials, go to: www.cqrcengage.com/skillsusa/ and choose “Write to Your State Legislator or to Your Members of Congress.” Fill in your contact information, select the recipients, add a subject line, paste in your text and click “submit.”

To email a press release to local media, choose the media tab at the top of the webpage. Select your media outlets, click on “compose message” and “compose your own letter” and add your text. You can email up to five outlets at a time.

Some templates on the site have suggested text, but all can be edited by the sender.

We encourage you to help raise awareness of these resources. Thanks for being an advocate for SkillsUSA and career and technical education.

If you have questions, contact Jane Short at 703-737-0612 or jshort@skillsusa.org.