Executive Update: April 15, 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

Board Approves Budget, Selection Process
On March 20-21, SkillsUSA’s board of directors held a productive meeting in Sacramento, Calif.

Before the meeting, board president Jen Worth, staff members Kelly Horton and Gayle Silvey, California SkillsUSA director Clay Mitchell and I met with the vice chancellor of the California Community College system, Sheneui Weber, to discuss SkillsUSA engagement with the state’s 116 community colleges. Sheneui joined the board for dinner that evening.

The finance, program and governance committee meetings were hosted by American River College, and we were welcomed to campus by the college president, Dr. Thomas Greene. Dr. Greene also joined the board for coffee on Thursday morning.

The full board met all day on March 21. Among the highlights, the board:

  • Approved SkillsUSA’s FY20 strategic plan and budget
  • Approved a revised job description for board members
  • Approved a new process for a board nominating committee, including officer elections and a matrix for selection of industry partners to serve on the board
  • Reviewed the SkillsUSA Career Essentials curricula and assessments
  • Approved a new gender-inclusive policy for SkillsUSA official attire

Thank you to state SkillsUSA director Clay Mitchell for his hospitality, providing local transportation and for the inspiring message from SkillsUSA California officer Aby Soto. A big thank-you also goes to the board members for their leadership and participation. The next board meeting will be held June 26 during the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC).

CTSOs Network with Senators on Capitol Hill
On March 26, SkillsUSA participated in a Capitol Hill reception for career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) organized by the Association for Career and Technical Education. The reception was held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building for members of Congress and their staff. Each CTSO designated a speaker and had a space to demonstrate projects. Joining me from SkillsUSA were national officers Preston Prince and Ula Uluiviti as well as staff members Courtney Ferrell and Hayley Uffelman.

Preston spoke about our mission and the SkillsUSA Framework. He and Ula did a fantastic job representing us. We visited with Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) and Sen. Tom Young (Ind.). It was great to see SkillsUSA board member Dean Baker there. This was also a networking opportunity with several state SkillsUSA directors, including Rick Kalk (S.C.), Crystal Latham-Alford (Texas), Kent Seuferer (Iowa), Brandon Hudson (Tenn.) and Debbie Belfry (Minn.); Association for Career and Technical Education staff; the other CTSOs; and Robin Utz from the U.S. Department of Education. Thank you to Courtney and Haley for all the great planning and logistics. Their work made the event shine.

National Media Coverage Anticipated for National Signing Day
Klein Tools, sponsor of SkillsUSA National Signing Day on May 8, has arranged for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers and his father Tony (who is a retired electrician) to be spokesmen for the event. Klein has arranged for a satellite media tour with national coverage. There will be a live feed from Silicon Valley CTE Center in San Jose, Calif., and at several other schools across the country. I will be there, along with WorldSkills USA competitor Ethan Harrison.

Leading CTE Expert Presents to SkillsUSA Staff
On March 28, we were thrilled to welcome George Arrants, one of the nation’s top experts on industry advisory councils for career and technical education, to make a presentation to SkillsUSA staff. George is a former high-school and community college automotive technology instructor. He has co-authored instruction manuals for schools and worked with the U.S. Department of Labor. where he led the automotive strategic development team that advised the agency’s “High Growth Job Training Initiative.” He works with instructors and administrators to develop partnerships with local business and industry through advisory committees. An entertaining and knowledgeable speaker, George spoke about the need for quality advisory boards and the skills gap. Staff enjoyed his presentation and gained knowledge. Joining us for the event were staff and administrators from The Academies of Loudoun (Va.), Frederick Career and Technology Center (Md.) and James Rumsey Technical Institute (W.Va.). Check out the podcast of the presentation.

Business Partnerships Team Continues to Accelerate Fundraising
Chief partnerships and development officer Amy Serafino reports that corporate partnerships and individual contributions continue an accelerated upward trend. SkillsUSA is currently at $2.6 million raised to date, against the revenue goal of $4.4 million. This is a year-to-date increase of $1.3 million.

New and renewal partnerships closed in March include: UTI, $38,000; Marine Corps Scholarship, $11,000; Goodheart-Wilcox, $25,000; mikeroweWORKS, $50,000; Fine Homebuilding, $40,000; and Rogers, $30,000 — for a total of $124,000.

Staff Shares Progress with Other CTSOs
On March 20, the National Coordinating Committee for Career and Technical Student Organizations met at the Technology Student Association headquarters in Reston, Va. Representing SkillsUSA, staff member Craig Moore reported on a successful SkillsUSA Week and CTE Month; the progress of the SkillsUSA Career Essentials career readiness credential; the WorldSkills USA team training at 3M headquarters in St. Paul, Minn.; the development progress of SkillsUSA CONNECT member portal; the Klein Tools sponsorship of SkillsUSA National Signing Day; and integration of the SkillsUSA Framework into our national competitive events.

Goodbyes and Hellos
Longtime SkillsUSA staff member Ann Schreiber retired March 29 after 33 years at the national headquarters. She held many key communications roles over the years, most recently as associate director of the Office of Communications, and was instrumental in creating many of the products we have today. Staff honored Ann with a department lunch on March 27, a full staff reception on March 28 and, at her request, a donation to the newly founded “Hope Fund” for SkillsUSA students in need. Ann will be greatly missed.

New employee Tiffany Govender has joined the communications team. Tiffany is a former SkillsUSA member and national competitor. A graduate of the graphic design program at James Rumsey Technical Institute in Martinsburg, W.Va., she has a bachelor’s degree in visual communications from Salisbury (Md.) State University, earned certification in fundraising and development from Boston University, and has just completed her master’s in humanities from Hood College in Frederick, Md. Tiffany brings association experience in strategic communications, digital and print materials, and has strong photography and design skills.


  • On March 20-21, Eric Gearhart attended the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) in Orlando, Fla. He co-presented the keynote with Mark Poeschl, CEO of National FFA, and introduced SkillsUSA to 325 AEMP members.
  • On March 21-24, staff members Courtney Ferrell, Heidi Walsh and Tom Kercheval were in Charlotte, N.C., where our national officers trained in advance for NLSC. The officers engaged in practice job interviews with recruiters from Aerotek, a global recruiting firm. This professional development activity was their final step in finishing the SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences advanced course. The officers also prepared for their NLSC roles, including leading the opening and awards ceremonies and delegate sessions.
  • Staff member Jane Short reports that the individual releases for the WorldSkills USA team have been created and are on the website at: worldskillsusa.org. The releases were sent to all competitors’ local, state and national legislative representatives, their state CTE director and their hometown media. SkillsUSA has engaged the strategy firm Maroon PR to promote the team and pitch stories to the national news media.

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

Jobs That Bring Joy: New Issue of SkillsUSA Champions

A new issue devoted to SkillsUSA champions and their fun and fulfilling careers has been mailed to chapter advisors and professional members. Please direct students to the digital edition on the SkillsUSA website homepage or using this link: https://read.nxtbook.com/mercury/skillsusa/champions_summer_2019/index.html

The Summer issue spotlights health students whose careers changed direction after they became patients themselves. Alumni from coast to coast tell how SkillsUSA opens doors in network broadcasting. Another former member, who had to grow up early, says he’s become a kid again while working at Walt Disney World.

Throughout the issue, there are articles about current and alumni members from Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Minnesota, Indiana, Georgia, Louisiana, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Oklahoma, New York and Oregon. A teacher’s guide to covering the issue with students is posted alongside the homepage link to the digital edition.

In addition to the news and motivational content in the print issue, the digital edition includes related videos, direct links to external resources and other dynamic material that’s responsive to all devices.

Plan Now to Serve May 5-11 

As part of SkillsUSA’s annual program of work, we ask local chapters to plan, promote and conduct a community service project during the SkillsUSA National Week of Service, May 5-11. This commemorates SkilsUSA’s founding on May 8, 1965.

Share your photos and activities on social media using the hashtag #SkillsUSAWeekofService. Advisors or chapter officers can email a brief description of their chapter events and photos to Gayle Silvey at gsilvey@skillsusa.org. In return, we’ll send you a SkillsUSA logo gift item valued at $15 to say thanks.

Help build awareness of SkillsUSA in your community by publicizing your events. To locate contacts for your local area newspapers, use the SkillsUSA Advocacy Site. Go to the webpage, click on the Media tab, enter your ZIP code, and choose up to media five outlets at a time. Next, click on Compose Your Own Letter, and paste in your press release or an invitation to cover your events. To see contact information for each media outlet, click on the name. The Advocacy Site is located here: www.cqrcengage.com/skillsusa/?0. 

NTHS Selects Its Final Four 

The National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) has announced the four latest recipients of $1,000 scholarships. Each year, two scholarships are awarded to SkillsUSA high school members and two to college/postsecondary members. To be eligible, students must be active, dues-paying members of both SkillsUSA and NTHS. This year’s recipients:

  • College/Postsecondary — Kayla Amagliani, Northwest Mississippi Community College, Senatobia, Miss.
  • College/Postsecondary — Jennifer Perez, Southern Regional Technical College, Thomasville, Ga.
  • High School — Lindsey Millerd, Waipahu (Hawaii) High School
  • High School — Skylar Pinto, Middle Bucks Institute of Technology, Jamison, Pa. 

Magazine Offers Recognition to Our Photographers

State SkillsUSA directors: Please let advisors and students know they can submit photos for our “Image” page in SkillsUSA Champions. The photos should show SkillsUSA members in action. Photography or graphic arts students may already have photos that are suitable. We currently do not have a photo selected for the Fall 2019 issue. Winning photographers will receive a $150 prize check for their chapter and, of course, the thrill of seeing their work in print. For details, email Tom Hall at thall@skillsusa.org. 

Help Launch the SkillsUSA Hope Fund

The SkillsUSA Hope Fund was established in 2019 to provide emergency scholarships for individual students in crisis to further their trade education, and for chapters affected by natural disasters. The fund is building during 2019, and we anticipate opening scholarships in 2020. We encourage our SkillsUSA staff, state SkillsUSA directors, board and foundation members, teachers and all stakeholders and supporters to consider making a donation to help the fund launch. To donate, go to: hopefund.skillsusa.org. 

SkillsUSA Job Opening in Conference Management Services

SkillsUSA is growing again! There is a new a job posting at the national headquarters for a program manager in conference management services. Interested applicants should submit a résumé and cover letter to Missy Wilson at mwilson@skillsusa.org on or before April 24. Download the full job description here: www.skillsusa.org/category/careers/.

State SkillsUSA Director Professional Development Registration Deadline Soon

State SkillsUSA directors: SkillsUSA will hold professional development training for all state leaders. 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. The sessions will cover curriculum, best practices of state associations and implementation plans. Some key topics include:

  • 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.

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. For complimentary hotel shuttle service from Washington Dulles International Airport, gather your bags and then call the Comfort Suites at 703-669-1650 for a shuttle pickup at 2H.

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

Annual Corporate Form Update Deadline Soon

State SkillsUSA directors: The annual corporate form and instructions have been uploaded to your website at: www.skillsusa.org/directors/. Please fill out the form and return to Sandy Moore by fax to 703-777-8999, or 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 and have not received a reply, it is possible your form was not received; please contact Sandy as soon as possible. Forms are due by April 26. 

Use Press Release Templates to Promote State Conferences 

On the SkillsUSA advocacy site, there is a press release template for state conference participants, instructors and parents to tell local news 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. 

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/.

 Crisis Contacts Needed for NLSC

State SkillsUSA directors: Please email your cellphone number as well as the names and phone numbers for up to three crisis team members for this year’s National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC). If you cannot be contacted in the event of an emergency at NLSC, we will call the team members on your list. We need your cell number and a maximum of three crisis team members.

Remember, do not turn off your cellphones during your week in Louisville, as the ability to reach you is crucial. Please email the NLSC crisis team names and phone numbers to Jane Short at jshort@skillsusa.org no later than May 15.

Register for Activate, Leverage and Engage Training

State SkillsUSA directors: As you begin to plan for our National Leadership and Skills Conference, please share these incredible pre-conference leadership opportunities with your teachers and students. SkillsUSA’s Leverage is designed specifically for state officers, while Activate makes a terrific training ground for younger chapter leaders, and Engage is the optimal training for advisors.

Registration is $165 per person. SkillsUSA’s Activate, Leverage and Engage will be held June 22-24 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC).

Leverage, Active and Engage fliers have been added to our website. We encourage state SkillsUSA directors to download and print them for distribution to teachers and students. Here are the links:

‘Meet the Employer’ Sponsored by Magna International

 SkillsUSA will be conducting a Meet the Employer event for SkillsUSA students at the National Leadership and Skills Conference on Friday, June 28, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All student members, regardless of graduation date and curriculum, are encouraged to attend and bring résumés. We anticipate over 50 employers will staff booths in the East Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center. Magna International, 3M, CBRE (commercial real estate services), Centuri Construction, Ferguson, IAA, NASSCO, Spirit AeroSystems, Textron Aviation and Nissan were the first companies to sign up. Meet the Employer will include career development seminars for attendees.

A flier about Meet the Employer can be downloaded and shared with your students who are coming to Louisville in June: http://MeettheEmployer.skillsusa.org. 

Prepare Delegates to Vote on New Constitutional Amendments

New constitutional amendments will be presented to the high school, middle school and college/postsecondary House of Delegates during the National Leadership and Skills Conference in June.

If you have delegates representing your state at the National Leadership and Skills Conference, please ensure they arrive with a strong familiarity with the motions that will be discussed during their business meetings. To see them, go to: http://bit.ly/2019Amendments

To assist with preparing your delegates to vote on these motions, training videos will be posted in the near future on the SkillsUSA delegate sessions webpage at: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/national-leadership-and-skills-conference/delegate-sessions/.

If you have questions, contact Kim Hegedus at khegedus@skillsusa.org.

Registration Open for NLSC Courtesy Corps

SkillsUSA needs more than 200 National Courtesy Corps (NCC) members for our national conference. The work of this group supports the contest 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. All NCC participants are housed at the University of Louisville’s Community Park, about 15 minutes from the Kentucky Exposition Center.

NCC members are responsible for their own transportation to and from Louisville, Ky., 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 and all members must abide by the Code of Conduct for the National Leadership and Skills Conference. 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. SkillsUSA works to enhance the NCC experience each year.

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/.

Reminder: Advance CTE Industry Launches Signature Campaign 

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

The year-long campaign to collect signatures from employers is designed 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 soon. To sign on, go to: http://isupportcte.org/?page_id=35

Advance CTE is also looking to receive CTE success stories from states state and hear 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, 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/. 

GAERF Announces Student Design Competition

 An 11th-annual student design competition has been launched by the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF), in conjunction with its managing organization, the Association for PRINT Technologies. All students are invited to enter who are attending recognized secondary or postsecondary institutions in the continental United States and studying graphic communications/printing, advertising, graphic design or interactive media.

The GAERF 2019 Student Design Competition, with “GREETINGS!” as the theme, challenges students to design and produce a printed greeting card for the occasion of their choice. One secondary and one postsecondary winner will be identified for each of the first-, second- and third-place awards. The first-place award is $2,000 plus an all-expenses-paid trip for the student and instructor to attend PRINT 19 in Chicago Oct. 3-5. The second-place award is $1,500, and the third-place award is $1,000. The entry deadline is June 7. 

For more information about the contest, go to: www.printtechnologies.org/GAERF-SDC.

Save with April Educational Resources Bundle

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 19: State SkillsUSA director registrations due for professional development training
April 24: Applications due for SkillsUSA position in conference management services
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
May 15: NLSC crisis contact information due

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

National Staff Travel

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 7-9: San Jose, Calif./SkillsUSA National Signing Day at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education Center/Tim Lawrence and select staff
May 7-10: Washington, D.C./Brustein and Manasevit Spring Forum/Gene Dudley
May 14: Leesburg, Va./National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations meeting/Tim Lawrence
May 17: Cleveland, Ohio/Lincoln Electric/Tim Lawrence

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