Update from Tim Lawrence
WLTI Students Showcase SkillsUSA on the Hill
At another successful Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) Sept. 21-24, participation was the highest ever, with 557 attending from 29 states.
State delegations arrived that Saturday and, after a brief conference opening, were bused directly to the National Leadership Center for dinner and a dedication of the new Champions Circle pavilion. The Heavy Construction Contractors Association was a major contributor of equipment, materials and labor for the Champions Circle, with an estimated donative value in excess of $180,000.
On Sunday, the group enjoyed a morning of training on the SkillsUSA Framework and advocacy. A legislative lunch panel followed featuring Sam Morgante, deputy chief of staff and legislative director for Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.); Kerry McKittrick, legislative assistant for Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.); and Nick Rockwell, senior legislative assistant for Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.). The panel discussed ways to make an effective visit to Congress and did an excellent job of informing the students what to expect visiting Capitol Hill. There was more training in the afternoon, and after dinner the group toured Washington’s monuments.
On Monday, participants planned for the next day’s advocacy visits before departing to tour and explore Washington on their own.
On Tuesday, to show support for SkillsUSA and career and technical education, we held a “SkillsUSA Perkins POWERR CTE Rally” to celebrate the launch of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The rally was held on the west front lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Speakers included Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and national officers Jay Clifton and Makenna Eccles. State delegations then went on to visit more than 130 congressional offices, and to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The conference closed Tuesday night with Statesman awards being presented.
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/.
SkillsUSA Career Essentials Credential Launches at National Press Club
On Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C., SkillsUSA held a launch event at the National Press Club to officially announce the SkillsUSA Career Essentials Credential. Speakers for the event included: Assistant Secretary John Pallasch from the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor; Principal Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones from the U.S. Department of Education; Rose Bauss, general manager, product quality and service support, Toyota USA; and former national officers Brandon Ramirez and Brooke Gatchell.
Also attending were other federal government officials and some of SkillsUSA’s corporate business partners. For a news release about the event, go to: www.prweb.com/releases/career_readiness_and_employability_credential_program_announced/prweb16583679.htm.
That’s all for now. Thanks for all you do for the great students we serve.
The fall issue of SkillsUSA Champions has arrived in your mailboxes. 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 our student leaders and national and international competitors. Featured members come from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio. There’s also full coverage of our national conference, our new executive director, Advisor of the Year and other award winners. This issue also includes highlights of the first SkillsUSA National Signing Day as well as the launch of the SkillsUSA Career Essentials Credential.
In addition to the news and motivational content in the print issue, the digital edition includes related videos and links to external resources. Please direct students to the digital edition of the magazine here, and share this link with others at your school.
An advisor’s lesson plan for this issue is here. This guide has two major parts: knowledge-based questions for guided reading, and activities to dig deep into the content of each article. Using this guide will further develop the skills of reading comprehension and critical thinking, as well as practice skills of the SkillsUSA Framework.
Apply Now for ACTE Teacher and Lifetime Service Awards
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is seeking nominations for its National Trade and Industrial Education Division Awards. The deadline is Nov. 1. Qualified individuals may be nominated in the following categories, or you may nominate yourself. (If you nominate someone else, please inform that person in advance.)
- 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 Anaheim, Calif., Dec. 4-7. 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 conference, so look for us on the program or visit our trade show booth. Award winners will be notified by Nov. 15.
To nominate someone for the Teacher and Lifetime Service Awards, go to:
For conference information, go to: www.acteonline.org/event/careertech-vision-2019/.
How the New Perkins V Law Directly Relates to SkillsUSA
On July 31, President Trump enacted law H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. This is the law that reauthorizes the 2006 Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and governs the federal investment in CTE.
To help chapter advisors understand the new legislation as it relates to SkillsUSA and other career and technical student organizations, following are a few important points.
First, the law defines career and technical education as a sequence of courses that:
- “Provide technical proficiency or a postsecondary credential, which may include an industry recognized credential, a certificate, or an associate degree”
- “Include competency-based, work-based, or other applied learning that supports the development of knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, employability skills, technical skills, and occupation specific skills …”
The SkillsUSA Framework embodies all of the above items. The SkillsUSA Career Essentials curriculum and Assessments provide blended instruction focused on project-based learning that lead to industry recognized credentials.
Second, a career and technical student organization, as defined in the law, “… means an organization for individuals enrolled in a CTE program that engages in CTE activities as an integral part of the program.”
CTSOs are not extracurricular or a club. CTSOs are for all CTE students.
If you have Perkins questions, contact Gene Dudley, SkillsUSA regional senior manager, at: email@example.com.
Encourage Your Students to Apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
Applications are now open for the 2020 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, honoring students in grades 5-12 for making meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service. Now in its 25th year, this program — sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) — celebrates young volunteers and generates positive publicity for your school.
Students who have volunteered over the past year can apply for an award by Nov. 5. Schools must then certify top applicants for state-level judging by Nov. 15. Qualifying certified applicants will receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award and will be eligible to earn a $1,000 scholarship or more, a medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for four days of special recognition events.
State-level honorees will be announced in February. In the meantime, your school can recognize top applicants for their volunteer service and hold them up as role models for their peers by presenting them with Prudential Spirit of Community Award certificates. Program details were mailed to school principals and are also available at: www.nassp.org/recognition/student-awards/prudential-spirit-of-community-awards/.
Celebrate National Apprenticeship Week
National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is Nov. 11-17. This national celebration was established by the U.S. Department of Labor to bring together leaders in business, labor, educational institutions and Americans interested in apprenticeships to showcase the positive impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Join the celebration by hosting apprenticeship graduation, business open house, high school career fair, skills competition or industry roundtable or submit a proclamation supporting NAW and apprenticeship. Learn more about NAW at: www.apprenticeship.gov/NAW.
Members Get Free 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.
Cybersecurity Education Award Nominations Sought
On Oct. 7, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a call for nominations for a new Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award. The U.S. Department of Education created the award in consultation with the deputy assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism at the National Security Council and the National Science Foundation.
Beginning in the spring of 2020, the award will be presented each year to two educators, one elementary and one secondary, who instill in their students the skills, knowledge and passion for cybersecurity and related subjects.
Recipients of this honor will be publicly recognized as a leader in the field of cybersecurity education, as well as receive professional development opportunities.
Educators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, all U.S. territories, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools and tribal areas are eligible. Anyone may nominate an educator, and self-nominations are permitted.
The nominations close on Jan. 31, 2020. For the specifics on how to apply, please visit: www2.ed.gov/documents/presidential-cybersecurity-education-award.pdf.
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.
Department of Education Data Shows Benefits of High School CTE
On Sept. 27, the U.S. Department of Education released a new interactive “data story” that illustrates career and technical education in American high schools and outcomes for students who participate. The data shows that CTE participation, especially in focusing studies by taking two or more CTE classes within the same career cluster, is positively correlated with both future employment and future earnings.
While 77% of students take at least one CTE class while in high school, only 37% of participants focus their studies on a single career cluster. Eight years after their expected graduation dates, students who focused on CTE courses while in high school had higher median annual earnings than students who did not.
The top three most prevalent career clusters in high schools are: Arts, Audiovisual Technology and Communication; Business Management and Administration; and Health Science.
The data story is a compact resource for learning more about CTE at the national and state levels. Highlights include:
- Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in CTE are critical subjects for the U.S. economy, and STEM and STEM-related career clusters represent one-third of all CTE concentrations in high school (35%). The percentage of concentrations in STEM and STEM-related career clusters varies widely by state.
- About three-fourths of all public school districts offer dual credit in CTE, that is, any CTE course that can earn both high school and postsecondary credit (73%). The percentage of public school districts that offer dual credit CTE courses is higher among districts with larger enrollments and in cities.
- Descriptive data related to the education and labor market outcomes of CTE concentrators and non-CTE concentrators show more favorable outcomes for CTE concentrators. For example, the median annual earnings eight years after high school graduation are $23,950 for CTE concentrators, compared to $20,015 for non-concentrators — a difference of nearly $4,000.
To see the data story, go to: www2.ed.gov/datastory/cte/index.html.
The SkillsUSA Store Goes Social
SkillsUSA has a new social media account for the SkillsUSA Store. Make sure to follow the new store account so you don’t miss coolest and newest SkillsUSA clothing, accessories and gift items. To see future promotions for these products, follow @skillsusastore on Instagram and earn chances to win free prizes.
- Instagram account name: @skillsusastore
- Instagram hashtag: #SkillsUSAStore #ShopSkillsUSA
- URL: instagram.com/skillsusastore/
Help SkillsUSA’s Inclusion and Diversity Efforts
SkillsUSA strives to be an inclusive organization that is welcoming to all who want to be members. This is our official statement of inclusion and diversity, which is on our website and applies to all members nationwide:
“In keeping with a tradition of respect for the individuality of our members and our role in workforce development, SkillsUSA strives to ensure inclusive participation in all of our programs, partnerships and employment opportunities. In SkillsUSA, diversity encompasses differences in ethnicity, gender, gender expression and identity, language, age, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, physical and mental ability, thinking styles, experience and education.”
We strive to make all members, partners and employees feel welcomed and valued in the SkillsUSA family. SkillsUSA believes in treating all people with respect and dignity. We want SkillsUSA to be regarded as a “membership organization of choice” that encourages all individuals to be involved. If you want to share this statement with members, it is posted here: www.skillsusa.org/about/values-vision/.
Definition of SkillsUSA Official Attire Updated
Wearing official SkillsUSA attire adds a sense of unity and identification, as well as enthusiasm, to meetings, ceremonies, presentations and activities. Members are encouraged to strictly follow the guidelines for official attire during ceremonies, visits with dignitaries, officer campaigns and similar occasions.
Students may select the attire that best fits the gender with which they identify. This is a personal choice as long as the SkillsUSA guidelines are followed. This also applies to competition uniforms for the SkillsUSA Championships as long as clothing meets the stated contest guidelines.
If you want to share these guidelines with members, a description of official attire is listed below and posted here: www.skillsusa.org/about/history-brand-resources/emblem-colors-and-official-attire/.
SkillsUSA Official Attire
- Red SkillsUSA blazer, windbreaker or sweater, or black or red SkillsUSA jacket
- Button-up, collared, white dress shirt (accompanied by a plain, solid black tie), white blouse (collarless or small-collared) or white turtleneck, with any collar not to extend into the lapel area of the blazer, sweater, windbreaker or jacket
- Black dress slacks (accompanied by black dress socks or black or skin-tone seamless hose) or black dress skirt (knee-length, accompanied by black or skin-tone seamless hose)
- Black dress shoes