Executive Update: April 1, 2019

Important Dates
May 5-11: SkillsUSA’s Week of Service
May 8: SkillsUSA’s 54th Anniversary
May 8: SkillsUSA National Signing Day with Klein Tools

Executive Director’s Report

Good News for Membership
I’m excited to report this is another record-breaking membership year. The SkillsUSA membership deadline was March 1 for national competitors and voting delegates, but membership remains open for all others, including professional members. Total combined paid professional and student membership as of today is 366,062. Compared to last year’s total of 361,031 (not including alumni or honorary life members), there are an additional 5,031 members. We’ll keep counting until April 15, when we publish the final membership report for the year.
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SkillsUSA in the News
SME recently asked me to write a guest article for their publication about SkillsUSA and the skills gap. The article, “Real-World Experiences Build a Better Workforce,” was published on the AdvancedManufacturing.org website March 11. To see it, go to: https://advancedmanufacturing.org/real-experiences-better-workforce/

WorldSkills USA Team Trains at 3M
On March 11-12, the WorldSkills USA team members and their experts traveled to St. Paul, Minn., for two days of training at 3M’s headquarters.

The first day was spent in team-building activities, scenario training and learning what to expect in Kazan. On Day Two, the competitors enjoyed information sessions, mentor discussions and a tour of the 3M Innovation Center, followed by a reception and dinner with the SkillsUSA Foundation. They heard presentations by Mojdeh Poul, executive vice president of the Safety and Graphics Business Group at 3M, and 3M’s director of Sustainability and SkillsUSA Foundation chair, Maureen Tholen.

Our sincere thanks to 3M for providing this amazing opportunity for the WorldSkills USA team members and their experts, and for their lead sponsorship of the team. Attending from the SkillsUSA staff with me were Dave Worden, team leader Heidi Walsh and Craig Moore.

SkillsUSA Foundation Discusses Building ROI
On March 13, the SkillsUSA Foundation held its quarterly meeting at 3M. Participants included Tony Ambroza, Carhartt; Rose Bauss, Toyota Motor North America Inc.; Leo Breaux, CBRE; Jerry Ellner, Universal Technical Institute; Pam Evans, GE Appliances (a Haier Company); Steve Hidden, Miller Electric Mfg. Co. Inc.; Kathy Mannes, Jobs for the Future; Greg Rintala, Snap-on Industrial; Robin Cronbaugh, CareerSafe LLC; Denise Vaughn, Ferguson Enterprises; and Maureen Tholen, 3M.

We had some great discussions included building ROI for partners, NLSC preparation, SkillsUSA Career Essentials credentialing and WorldSkills USA team support. I also provided an overview of the SkillsUSA history, structure, Perkins funding and my succession. We all enjoyed a tour of the 3M Innovation Center.

Many thanks to our friends at 3M and especially to Maureen Tholen and Donna Fleming Runyon for their support. SkillsUSA staff members Amy Serafino and Cathy Arrington, who coordinated the meeting, joined me along with Kelly Horton and Dave Worden.

State Conference Tour Begins with South Carolina
On March 14, I headed to Greenville, S.C., to attend the SkillsUSA South Carolina State Leadership and Skills Conference, my first for the season. I provided a welcome at the opening ceremony, toured competitions and worked with industry partners. Staff member Gene Dudley attended as part of his support of SkillsUSA Region 2 and was fully engaged in the conference.

SkillsUSA FY18 Annual Report Released
The new SkillsUSA annual report is now available in print and for digital download. The report recaps the FY18 year and highlights our growth and success across many national programs, as well as providing a look at organization statistics. If you want printed copies, let me know; I am glad to send some to you. Download it here: www.skillsusa.org/about/annual-report/.

Partnering Efforts Explored with ASTS
I recently hosted Sidney Delepine, Alex Gromada and Bill King from the Association for Skilled and Technical Sciences (ASTS). Sidney is the president-elect. We discussed ways SkillsUSA could assist with their membership growth, including a workshop at our national conference, a membership letter mailing and other awareness-building opportunities. ASTS was founded in 2006 by merging the National Association for Trade and Industrial Educators (NATIE) and National Association of State Supervisors for Trade and Industrial Education (NASSTIE) into one organization as a means of unifying and strengthening the two groups to benefit students of trade and industrial (T&I) courses of instruction.

FY20 Federal Budget Proposal Decreases Education, Labor Funding
Advance CTE sent out an initial report on President Trump’s budget proposal for FY20 as it relates to education funding. Here are a few highlights. The budget includes flat funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant at its FY19 enacted level of $1.3 billion. Overall, the president’s budget proposes a 12 percent decrease overall for the U.S. Department of Education and proposes 29 programs for elimination. The proposal also includes a 9.7 percent decrease overall for the U.S. Department of Labor. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education will stay on top of this and let us know if they need our help to contact Congress. There are more details in the summary found here: www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget20/summary/20summary.pdf.


  • On March 5, we had our first all-staff National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) meeting of the year. We’ll be in Louisville again in June for our 55th NLSC.
  • Our Office of Education reports that the adult learner SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences course is in development. The first two units are finalized and are awaiting the identification of a new learning management system where they will be housed. The third and fourth units are nearly complete.
  • Staff member Kim Hegedus has been researching avenues and programs that could provide direct marketing into middle- and high-school classes to build awareness of SkillsUSA.
  • Staff member Kim Hegedus and technical committee chair Chip Harris are in the process of designing training videos in parliamentary procedure. The videos will be used at NLSC to help national delegates understand what to expect in their sessions.

That’s it for now. Thank you for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

National Week of Service is May 5-11

As part of our annual program of work, SkillsUSA is asking all chapters to conduct and promote a community-service project during the National Week of Service, May 5-11. This helps commemorate the founding of SkillsUSA (May 8, 1965).

Connect with SkillsUSA via social media by posting photos of your activities online. Advisors should email a brief description of their chapter events to Gayle Silvey at gsilvey@skillsusa.org. In return, we’ll send the chapter advisor or officer a SkillsUSA logo gift item valued at $15 to say thanks.

We encourage participants to publicize your events locally with our media guide. To locate media resources for your community, including contact information for area newspapers, use our SkillsUSA Advocacy Site. Go to the site at: www.cqrcengage.com/skillsusa/?0.

On the site, first click on Media, enter your ZIP code, and choose up to five outlets at a time. Then click on Compose Your Own Letter. To see the full contact information for each outlet, click on the name of the newspaper.

Photos Needed for Retirement Tribute

Friends: As most of you are aware, Tim Lawrence, the executive director of SkillsUSA, will be retiring in February 2020. For his exemplary service, and as one of only three executives during the history of SkillsUSA, the SkillsUSA board of directors, SkillsUSA Foundation and the SkillsUSA staff are planning special tributes throughout the year, the first of which will be held during National Leadership and Skills Conference’s opening ceremony.

Please help us celebrate Tim. If you have special photos of Tim with teachers and students, attending your SkillsUSA state events over the years, or of fun and memorable experiences with him, please email them to the national headquarters team at CelebrateTim@skillsusa.org. We need to collect and organize them no later than April 15, 2019, at noon ET. Our timeline is very tight, and we will be unable to receive images after this time. Thank you in advance for your support!

Share This Survey with Youth

SkillsUSA has agreed to participate in an international study with OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), WorldSkills and the G-20 nations to gather data from our youth in the age range of 18-24 who are high school graduates.

To add data from United States students/graduates is imperative for us and OECD to take a global look at how our youth perceive the future of work and the rising influence of automation and artificial intelligence. If you have students or graduates in the 18-24 age group, could you ask them to take 10 minutes to complete the survey at the link below. Also, for your colleagues — even family — who know students/graduates in this range please ask them to please send to as many of their friends, classmates and colleagues as possible that are 18-24 and ask them to take part in the survey. The survey can be taken by CTE or non-CTE students/graduates.

The deadline to complete the survey is April 5. Remember, this is only a 10-minute commitment. THANK YOU so very much for your help with this important international research. Here is the link to the survey for your students and graduates and to forward and share with others: www.research365.net/survey/private/a590e61a178590fd156df8b24ff47c27a27d873c.

Be on the Lookout for a Communications Survey from SkillsUSA

At SkillsUSA, we are committed to continually assessing member needs and improving our work. Stone Ward Communications of Chicago is working with SkillsUSA to conduct research that will help us determine the best ways to develop and deliver printed and digital member communications and resources, including SkillsUSA Champions magazine.

A scientifically selected group of state association leaders, SkillsUSA instructors, students and business partners will be invited to complete a survey to provide insight and feedback. We want your honest assessment of what we do well and what we could be doing better to address your informational needs. Following the survey, further research will include one-on-one interviews, focus groups and other qualitative research.

In the survey, SkillsUSA instructors will be asked if they are able to connect us to counselors, administrators and parents of their students, to conduct further research. This step is crucial to obtaining information from all stakeholders and supporters of the organization. Each group will be surveyed separately, followed by interviews or focus groups at a later date.

We know your time is valuable, so the questionnaire should only take about 10 minutes to complete. Responses go directly to the research company and are confidential. For sharing their opinions and providing us with an accurate email address at the end of the survey, we will give those who respond by the deadline the chance to enter a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card.

Please watch your inbox and complete your survey. Thank you for your participation.

Alumni Association Seeks Awards Nominees

The SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association will once again be presenting two awards at the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky.:

  • The Pioneer of Excellence Award recognizes Alumni and Friends members and/or business and industry partners who have been a “Pioneer of Excellence” for over five years for the alumni association
  • The Outstanding Alumni and Friends Achievement Award is for Alumni and Friends members and/or business and industry partners who have demonstrated a “Commitment for Excellence” for up to five years for the alumni association

To apply, please find the applications here: www.skillsusa.org/alumni-association-announces-awards-availability/.

Applications must be received, not postmarked, to the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center by April 5. Please mail to: SkillsUSA Alumni Executive Board, c/o Taryn Zeigler, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176.

Professional Development Coming for State SkillsUSA Directors 

State SkillsUSA directors: SkillsUSA will hold professional development training for state leaders on May 13-16. The sessions will cover curriculum, best practices of state associations, implementation plans and key topics, including:

  • A 2.5 hour session on Perkins V, conducted by attorney Michael Brustein. He specializes in education and workforce law and is an expert in Perkins legislation. States will then create an action plan. To learn more about Brustein, go to: bruman.com/attorneys-staff/michael-brustein/
  • The new SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences Exploratory and Adult Learner curricula will be unveiled, and training conducted on the SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences Fundamental and Advanced sets
  • The new 2.0 version of the Chapter Excellence Program will be ready soon, and new dynamics will be revealed that assist teachers in understanding the integration of the SkillsUSA Framework

The national headquarters will provide all educational resources for the training and cover all expenses for state directors with the exception of travel to Leesburg. If assistant state directors or other state staff members attend, they must cover their own travel and lodging. The training is May 14-15 and until noon on May 16 at the Comfort Suites and the SkillsUSA National Leadership Center in Leesburg, Va. Plan to arrive on Monday, May 13. Lodging will be arranged after you register. Flights should depart at 3 p.m., or later on May 16.

There is a complimentary hotel shuttle service from Washington Dulles International Airport. Once you have gathered your bags, call the Comfort Suites at 703-669-1650 for a shuttle pick up at 2H.

For questions, please contact gsilvey@skillsusa.org or 404-216-6040. This will be an incredible networking and learning opportunity. Complete your registration by April 19 here: www.surveymonkey.com/r/SDMAY19. 

Annual Corporate Form Update Needed Soon

State SkillsUSA directors: The annual corporate form and instructions have been uploaded to your website at: www.skillsusa.net/directors/. Please fill out the form and return to Sandy Moore by fax to 703-777-8999, or scan your document and email it to smoore@skillsusa.org. Forms can also be mailed to Sandy Moore, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. Returning this form ensures your state’s vote at the corporate meeting this June in Louisville.

If you returned your form to Sandy and have not received a reply back, it is possible your form was not received, and you should contact her as soon as possible. Forms are due by April 26.

Advance CTE Industry Signature Campaign to Double the Investment  

Advance CTE represents state leaders responsible for secondary postsecondary and adult career and technical education across the country. Like SkillsUSA, Advance CTE is always looking for opportunities to advocate on behalf of career and technical education students, and its new “I Support CTE” campaign does exactly that.

The year-long campaign, launched in February, aims to collect signatures from employers to urge Congress to double the federal investment in CTE programs. Looking for sign-ons from small businesses to large corporations in every state and industry, Advance CTE hopes to collect the first 10,000 signatures by April. Please spread the word. To sign on, go to: http://isupportcte.org/?page_id=35.

Advance CTE is also looking to receive stories of what successful CTE looks like in your state and why you believe it’s important to increase the federal investment. To learn how to submit a blog or testimonial, email ISupportCTE@careertech.org.

To learn more about the campaign, go to: http://isupportcte.org/?page_id=588.

CTE Professional Development Training Offered for Teachers and Administrators

State SkillsUSA directors: SkillsUSA will offer professional development training to state associations this summer. We encourage you to set up sessions now for your teachers and administrators. We have two topics to highlight but can customize training based on your needs:

SkillsUSA Career Essentials Suite
With federal legislation calling for career-ready students, school systems are working hard to prove they are graduating prepared students. Whether you already know about the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite or need the basics, this session will highlight how to engage students in defining, implementing and measuring their career readiness. SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences addresses every point in a student’s educational journey. Newly added are the exploratory set for middle school students and the adult learner version. Together, curricula and assessments work to culminate in students earning the new industry-recognized SkillsUSA Career Essentials credential. Each individual who earns the credential establishes and maintains a career readiness portfolio that demonstrates transferrable career readiness skills and the ability to successfully contribute to his or her place of work.

Take Your Chapter to the Next Level with the Chapter Excellence Program
Are you ready to take your SkillsUSA chapter to the next level? The SkillsUSA Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) is the best way to develop a successful SkillsUSA chapter, and there are new tools to make the process easier. Discover the new step-by-step teacher’s guide to integrate the SkillsUSA Framework into chapter program of work activities, engage students in the process and complete the online application to receive recognition for your success.

These training sessions can be stand-alone or integrate into your CTE summer professional development conference. Each is designed to be two sessions of six hours each with at least 20 teachers or administrators present for the training. SkillsUSA will handle requests on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have questions or need additional information, contact Courtney Ferrell at cferrell@skillsusa.org.

To schedule state training, complete the SkillsUSA request form: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/training-request-form-zoicm3e1g93zrj/.

Registration for NLSC Courtesy Corps Open

SkillsUSA needs more than 200 National Courtesy Corps (NCC) members for the 2019 National Leadership and Skills Conference. The work of this group supports the technical committees and is deeply appreciated. This is a great opportunity for students to network with industry partners and experience the national conference.

NCC members receive free conference registration plus housing, local transportation, meals and entertainment. Each member is given several free shirts to wear during the week. All NCC participants are housed at the University of Louisville’s Community Park in Louisville, Ky. This campus is about 12-15 minutes from the Kentucky Exposition Center. SkillsUSA works to enhance the experience each year.

NCC members are responsible for their own transportation to and from Louisville and should arrive on Saturday, June 22, by 4 p.m. so they can start to work in the contest areas on Sunday, June 23. Departure is Saturday, June 29.

Advisors must supervise their participating students. SkillsUSA will provide individual schedules for students and advisors listing work assignments and breaks. There will be an advisors-only session to review student duties and responsibilities.

Dorothy Loges from Missouri is the NCC chair. Questions can be directed to her at: Dorothy.loges@bisonpride.org. To register, go to: https://w3.smartreg.com/webreg/SKILLSUSA19/.

SkillsUSA Scholarship Opportunities Now Open for Applications

Applications for several scholarships are now open to benefit SkillsUSA students in pursuit of higher education or certification in their chosen field. Help spread the word so SkillsUSA students can take full advantage of these opportunities:

For additional scholarship information, continually check the website at: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/scholarships-financial-aid/.

Subscribe to Key Deadlines Calendar

State SkillsUSA directors: You can subscribe to the key deadlines calendar to be sure you are aware of upcoming deadlines. Visit the state director site, and in the right-hand column you’ll see a link to subscribe to the calendar, or you can visit this link: http://bit.ly/2SxTIqR. If you use a Google calendar, it will automatically be added to your calendar view. If you use another system, see your calendar software for instructions on how to add a Google calendar to your system. Coming soon, SkillsUSA be adding the same functionality to our national calendar.

Use Press Release Templates to Promote State Conference 

On the SkillsUSA advocacy site, there is a news release template for state conference participants, instructors and parents to tell local media about their participation and accomplishments. Users can send an email to up to five media outlets at a time. Go to: www.cqrcengage.com/skillsusa/. If you have questions, contact Jane Short at 703-737-0612 or jshort@skillsusa.org.

Parking Sales Online Only at KEC 

State SkillsUSA directors:  Please notify your state delegations that no parking passes will be sold on site at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) during the 2019 national conference — all parking passes will be sold only online. There will be no Ticketmaster fees associated with the pre-purchase of parking passes. Parking passes can be purchased online at: www.ticketmaster.com/search?q=skills+usa+parking.

Daily parking passes can be purchased daily at the KEC gate, but the fee will be higher. There are no refunds for parking pass purchases. If there are difficulties with the website, contact Dale Gann at 502-224-9705 or Dale.Gann@kyvenues.com.

For more information on daily parking fees at the gate for buses and cars, go to: www.kyfairexpo.org/Parking.html.

Meeting Space Full at KEC for State Associations

State SkillsUSA directors: The Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) is now full during the National Leadership and Skills Conference. There is no additional meeting space for state delegations to use for orientations on Monday afternoon or evening, or for recognition events on Friday evening.

If you have already reserved your space, its use is free; however, there will be a charge for food service and audiovisual equipment.

Global Youth Service Day Looking for Participation 

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is April 12-14. It celebrates and mobilizes the millions of young people who improve their communities through service. GYSD is celebrated in more than 100 countries with young people working together to address the world’s most critical issues and help their communities thrive. Through service to their community, youth gain powerful skills like empathy, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication — skills they need to be successful in school, work, and life. GYSD. Find project ideas and planning tips at www.GYSD.org.

New Clothing Offers Announced for State Officers 

State SkillsUSA directors: Gear up your state officer team in one swoop at a great price with a “Custom State Officer Package” from E Group. Each package includes one polo, one button-down, one packable jacket, one fleece jacket, one High Sierra backpack and one sport duffel plus a boxed pen and journal set in your choice of colors.

All apparel will be embroidered with your SkillsUSA state logo and “State Officer Team,” and all hard goods will be decorated with the SkillsUSA logo over “State Officer.” There is a minimum of six packages per order. To get additional information and pricing or place an order, contact Kim DeVenuto at kdevenuto@egroupengage.com or 703-674-5465.

April Educational Resources Bundle Released  

State SkillsUSA directors: SkillsUSA is offering special pricing on a select bundle of educational materials. April’s bundle pricing includes the Champions Serving Others: An Easy Guide to Community Service Projects and the Leveraging Your Leadership with Effective Chapter Meetings Booklet and Teacher’s Kit. The bundle price is $14.95, a savings of $4.95. Order Stock No. BAPR2019.

Champions Serving Others: An Easy Guide to Community Service Projects (P41) is a guide is designed to simplify planning and carrying out a community service project. The PDF contains documents, templates and exercises that will help you identify and carry out your community service project in a timely and effective manner.

Leveraging Your Leadership with Effective Chapter Meetings Booklet and Teacher’s Kit (P63 LYL) is a student booklet that covers why meetings are important, successful meeting basics, ways to enhance meetings and tips for holding large meetings. The companion Teacher’s Guide features six lesson plans to help your student learn about their officer roles and how to apply them within the chapters.

Due Dates

April 1: Student2Student entries due
April 1: National Technical Honor Society Scholarships applications due
April 1: Hypertherm grant applications due
April 5: Pioneer of Excellence Award and Outstanding Alumni and Friends Achievement Award applications due
April 5: OECD Survey deadline
April 15: Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Scholarship applications due
April 15: Retirement tribute photos due
April 19: State SkillsUSA director registrations due for professional development training
April 26: Annual Corporate Form updates due

May 1: Nominations due for ACTE Business-Education Partnership and Champion for CTE awards due
May 1: Marsha Daves Scholarship application deadline
May 1: Fine Homebuilding #KeepCraftAlive Scholarship application deadline
May 10: Harbor Freight Tools for Schools National Championship Scholarship application deadline
May 15: mikeroweWORKS Foundation Travel Scholarship applications due

June 1: National officer applications due
June 7: GAERF 2019 Student Design Competition entry deadline

National Staff Travel

April 1: Washington, D.C./ White House, 2019 Prison Reform Summit/Gene Dudley
April 1-3: New Orleans/Coalition on Adult Basic Education Conference/selected staff
April 3-6: Portland, Ore./Equipment & Engine Training Council meeting/Dave Worden
April 4-5: Lake Charles, La./SkillsUSA Louisiana College/Postsecondary State Leadership and Skills Conference/Gene Dudley
April 4-6: Linn, Mo./Missouri State Leadership and Skills Conference/Courtney Ferrell
April 8-9: Louisville, Ky./NLSC planning meeting/Heidi Walsh
April 8-10: Washington, D.C./Advance CTE Spring Meeting/Gene Dudley
April 9-10: Miami/American Welding Society 100th Anniversary Celebration/Dave Worden
April 9-11: Greensboro, N.C./North Carolina State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 11-13: Grand Island, Neb./Nebraska State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 12-13: Virginia Beach, Va./Virginia State Leadership and Skills Conference/Lee Ross
April 14-15; Birmingham, Ala./Alabama State Leadership and Skills Conference/Gene Dudley
April 16-19: Columbus, Ohio/Ohio State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 17-18: Dallas/NCCER Workforce Development Committee meeting/Amy Serafino and Cathy Arrington
April 17-20: Orange Beach, Ala./Alabama Career Technical Administrators Conference/Gene Dudley
April 22: Decatur, Ala./Calhoun Community College Adult Education Meeting/Gene Dudley
April 23-24: Alachua, Fla./NCCER Meeting/Gene Dudley
April 25: Birmingham, Ala./Alabama Workforce Conference/Gene Dudley
April 28-30: Tulsa, Okla./Oklahoma State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence

May 1-2: Napa, Calif./NCCER Board Meeting/Tim Lawrence
May 7-10: Washington, D.C./Brustein and Manasevit Spring Forum/Gene Dudley
May 14: Reston, Va./National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations meeting/Tim Lawrence

June 4-6: Birmingham, Ala./Alabama Adult Education Conference/Gene Dudley