Executive Update: December 1, 2017

Important Dates
Dec. 11-12: SkillsUSA Board of Directors’ Meeting via webinar
Jan. 13-14: Scoring Boot Camp, Leesburg, Va.
February 2018: Career and Technical Education Month
Feb. 4-10: SkillsUSA Week
Feb. 16-19: National Certified Trainer training, Atlanta, Ga.

Executive Director’s Report

Speaking to Leaders of the Construction Industry
As a voting member of the NCCER board of trustees, I met with the group Nov. 9-10 at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill. The keynote speaker at the welcome dinner was Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of Opportunity America, a think tank in Washington, D.C. She addressed recent funding decisions of the federal administration and the disparity between higher education and CTE funding. Her presentation covered the President’s executive order on apprenticeship, the newly appointed U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Council, and the challenges and opportunities for the construction industry in expanding and securing federal approval of apprenticeship programs.

There were over 30 executives from the commercial and industrial construction industry at the board meeting. NCCER CEO Don Whyte invited me to speak to the full board about SkillsUSA’s Skills Build America campaign. Steve Greene, NCCER vice president and Skills USA Foundation member, also asked me to show our FY17 Year in Review video, which includes a thank-you to NCCER for its support. The video moved the audience, and as I hoped, it grounded the group’s thinking around our students and their rising workforce.

I presented three core components of the campaign and discussed how the SkillsUSA Framework and our Career Essentials curriculum prepare CTE graduates to be job-ready Day One. The presentation also included a Mike Rowe video and several campaign backgrounders. NCCER CEO Don Whyte and board president Chip Reed reconfirmed NCCER’s $1 million pledge to the campaign. It’s refreshing to see this board’s belief in and commitment to SkillsUSA.

Automotive Executives Interested in Our Assessments
I’m also a voting member of the AYES/NATEF/AYES board, and on Nov. 13, I traveled to San Diego for the joint board of directors meeting. It was great to spend quality time with executives from GM, Toyota, Chrysler, CarMax, Nissan and other automotive support companies and associations. Also attending were SkillsUSA Foundation member Dave Zellers and Toyota executives Rick Lester and Tom Trisdale, a former national officer. CEO Tim Zilke, a SkillsUSA Foundation member, invited me to present to the joint board on our Career Essentials, and I received great feedback. ASE is interested in assisting us in validating our SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Assessments as an industry-recognized certification.

The main order of business at the meeting was board approval of the consolidation of NATEF and AYES into one organization with a new name: the ASE Education Foundation. We voted to approve new bylaws, administrative procedures and the new name. SkillsUSA was a part of the discussions throughout the meeting. Tim Zilke and his team are incredible supporters of our mission, and we look forward to continuing and expanding our partnership.

SkillsUSA Hosts 84 Lumber Visit to Frederick CTC
SkillsUSA hosted a school tour at Frederick (Md.) Career and Technology Center on Nov. 17. The purpose was to show our friends from 84 Lumber how a career and technical school integrates SkillsUSA into the curriculum, and to highlight some of the specific training programs, especially the construction trades. The group included Steve Radick, vice president of public relations for Brunner, a Top-75 U.S. advertising agency, and some of his team that serves on the 84 Lumber account, as well as Judy Dinelle, building ambassador for 84 Lumber. We toured the school and then met at SkillsUSA headquarters to discuss common goals and objectives around education. It was an excellent meeting, and we always love showing industry what is happening in today’s career and technical schools and showcasing strong SkillsUSA programs. These partnerships are truly the lifeblood of SkillsUSA at every level. Special thanks to lead advisor, Lynne Sclar, and officer team advisor, Lera Straits, of Frederick CTC for facilitating the tour.

CTSO Directors Collaborate
On Nov. 20, SkillsUSA welcomed the National Coordinating Council of Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC–CTSO) to the National Leadership Center for its monthly meeting. The NCC–CTSO council members consist of the executive directors of the nine career and technical student organizations. We had representatives from the majority of the CTSOs with us. There were a range of presentations, including an expansion of HOSA into China. We discussed the “other CTE” or chronic traumatic encephalopathy in football players, which has been highlighted recently in the national news. Perkins legislation was also discussed. The bill is still stalled in the U.S. Senate, and whether the U.S. secretary of education would remain the authority or whether the states would have authority appears to be the issue that is creating a difference of opinion between the House and the Senate. ACTE and Advance CTE hope to see movement by spring. These are great meetings to share common issues and concerns and to find synergy in our collective work.


  • From Oct. 24-27, Kelly Horton and Gayle Silvey, along with a videographer, photographer and graphic designer, traveled to College Station, Texas, for a video and photo shoot at two of the 2016-17 Models of Excellence schools. They visited A&M Consolidated High School and Rudder High School because both schools could offer great insights to other SkillsUSA chapters about how to organize to ensure student leadership and growth through the development of Framework skills. Advisors, students, alumni and administrators were interviewed about the benefits of participation in the Chapter Excellence Program. The videos and photography will be used on an array of upcoming projects including membership kits, Chapter Excellence Program promotion and educational resources.
  • From Nov. 13-17, Kelly Horton, Gayle Silvey, Kim Hegedus, Gene Dudley and Taryn Zeigler visited Campbell & Co. in Chicago for messaging training. Andy Brommel and Christina Black led the group through the delivery of the messaging PowerPoint deck they helped SkillsUSA create. They also discussed how the information could be used with different stakeholder groups.
  • We have tracked about 150 press clippings to date on the SkillsUSA WorldTeam and the WorldSkills Competition that came directly from our press releases. Our PR team of Jane Short and Karen Kitzel created individual releases for each WorldTeam member as well as pre- and post-competition releases for the full team and sent these to hometown, trade and local media outlets
  • It is still early in the school year, but three state SkillsUSA directors have already led their states to surpass last year’s total membership. We are seeing very positive numbers, and our membership is at 217,715 members. Last year’s total membership was 163,086 at this time. The state directors with record membership are: Clay Mitchell, California; Heidi Griffen, Connecticut; and Josh Klemp, Rhode Island.

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

Support SkillsUSA’s Mission

Jobs in the skilled trades continue to rank No. 1 among the top 10 most difficult to fill. By supporting SkillsUSA’s mission, you ensure that we can deliver our career-readiness programs students need and employers want. A financial gift to SkillsUSA enhances our programs and services to 18,000 teachers and more than 300,000 students each year. Best of all, 95 percent of our expenses directly benefit SkillsUSA members. That means not just a larger pool of skilled workers, but the employees industry wants to hire first.

SkillsUSA is a unique opportunity to strengthen the future of industry and open up great futures for America’s young people. Imagine your one-time or ongoing donation making a difference. To make your tax-deductible gift, visit: www.skillsusa.org/get-involved/donate/.

Coming Soon: State Association Director Webinars

“Preparing for CEP Success through Recognition, Judging and Scoring” Webinar
Whether you are new to the Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) or have been an avid supporter since its inception, make sure you are ready for success by attending the “Preparing for CEP Success through Recognition, Judging and Scoring” webinar. In the span of an hour, we will cover steps to take to ensure all chapters participate in the CEP and are recognized for their ability to create a successful SkillsUSA chapter. We will also dive into judging and scoring so you are prepared to honor participants at your state leadership and skills conference.

This webinar will be held on Dec. 5 at 1:30 p.m. EST. To register, go to:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8396327473918029313. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

“Completing the CEP Chapter of Distinction Application” Webinar
Once your chapters have completed the Chapter of Excellence Quality Chapter application, they are only a few steps away from distinguishing their chapter as a Chapter of Distinction. Be sure and tell your chapters not to miss the opportunity for them to be recognized and honored for exemplary performance as well as the opportunity to receive $2,000. This year, 24 chapters will be recognized as Models of Excellence and each will receive a $2,000 chapter grant.

Join us for the “Completing the CEP Chapter of Distinction Application” webinar to learn more about a CEP Chapter of Distinction. This webinar will be held on Dec. 5 at 3:30 p.m. EST. To register, go to: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1961259750478988803. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.

Apply for SkillsUSA Lowe’s 2018 State TeamWorks Grant 

State association directors will be receiving an email next week including the SkillsUSA Lowe’s 2018 state TeamWorks grant program application. As of Dec. 1, SkillsUSA does not have a definite approval that these grants will be funded, but with state conferences starting in February, SkillsUSA needs to get these processed. This is a competitive process,  and the pool of funds will be capped at $225,000.

All applications must be received by close of business Dec. 30. No extension of time will be permitted. Only state association directors or their designees may apply. These grants are only for state-level 2018 TeamWorks competitions, and only one per state will be awarded.

 Reminder: Scoring ‘Boot Camp’ to be Held in January

State association directors: SkillsUSA will be holding a Conference Management System “boot camp” with programmer Mark Williams on Jan. 13-14 in Leesburg, Va. The training is for state association directors and anyone who works with the state scoring system.

The training will take place beginning at noon on Jan. 13 (lunch included) and will end at noon on Jan. 14 (a portable lunch will be provided). Please plan your travel accordingly.

We have reserved a room block at the Comfort Suites, 80 Prosperity Ave., Leesburg, VA. Meals and training will be provided by SkillsUSA. Attendees are expected to pay for travel and lodging. To reserve a room, call the Comfort Suites at 703-669-1650. There is a complimentary shuttle service to the hotel and back from Washington Dulles International Airport.

To register, go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/CMS2018. Registration must be received by Dec. 22. If you have questions, contact Susanne Kahler at skahler@skillsusa.org or 703-737-0616.

National Certified Training Coming Up in February

State association directors: SkillsUSA will offer “National Certified Trainer — Foundations and Career Essentials” training Feb. 16-19 in Atlanta. Here is what will be offered:

Foundation Training
This is the required first badge for the National Certified Trainer program. During this training, participants will learn foundational facilitation techniques and will receive individual coaching and feedback. Participants will leave with the ability to host a successful workshop on the SkillsUSA Framework. They will have the opportunity to receive the Foundation Badge and attend future National Certified Trainer trainings.

Career Essentials Suite Training
This is the next badge after completion of the Foundation badge. This training will focus on the new SkillsUSA Career Essentials curriculum and available resources. Participants will leave with the ability to facilitate a successful two- to three-hour workshop on the suite and will receive the Career Essentials Badge.

If you know someone in your state who you think would be a good fit for these offerings, we encourage you to register them. Consider individuals who are committed to providing training, are open and receptive to feedback, and have the ability to travel within your state. For both events, there will be pre-training and post-training assignments to complete.

SkillsUSA will cover the cost of all meals and training for a total of two participants per state. State associations will be responsible for the cost of travel, hotel, and ground transportation. More participants will be permitted for an additional fee. All attendees must be professional members of SkillsUSA.

A room block has been confirmed at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel (165 Courtland St., N.E., Atlanta, GA 30303). Reservations can be made by calling 1-866-932-7269 and asking for the SkillsUSA rate. The cost is $124 per room per night, which does not include applicable state and local taxes, currently 16.9 percent (sales tax 8.9 percent and occupancy 8 percent) with a state hotel assessment fee of $5 per room/per night.

Flight arrangements should be made to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Arrival can be anytime on Feb. 16 and departure anytime on Feb. 19. The Atlanta light rail MARTA provides service just blocks away from the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel for $2.50 each way. Available shuttles and cabs cost between $17-$30.

To sign up, go to: www.surveymonkey.com/r/BFNTTMH. Registrations are due by Jan. 19. Please contact cferrell@skillsusa.org or 703-334-1668 if you have any questions. We are looking forward to hosting an incredible learning opportunity! 

Nominations Open for Honorary Life Membership, Outstanding Career and Technical Educator

If you would like to nominate someone for SkillsUSA’s national Honorary Life Membership or Outstanding Career and Technical Educator, please submit your nomination by going to the following assigned links and completing the online application. The deadline for both applications is Feb. 23.

If you have any questions, please contact Gayle Silvey at gsilvey@skillsusa.org or 404-216-6040.

Keeping It Official

Just announced — A SkillsUSA red jacket has been added to the official product line. The new jacket features a fresh, sleek design complete with and embroidered SkillsUSA logo. The red jacket will be available for pre-order this March.

As a reminder, members are encouraged to strictly follow the guidelines for official attire during ceremonies, visits with dignitaries, officer campaigns and similar occasions. Following is a reminder of what is considered approved official SkillsUSA attire.

Official attire for women:

  • Red SkillsUSA blazer, windbreaker, sweater or black/red SkillsUSA jacket
  • White collarless or small-collared blouse or white turtleneck, collar not to extend over the blazer lapel or the sweater, windbreaker or jacket
  • Black dress skirt (knee-length) or black dress slacks
  • Black sheer (not opaque) or skin-tone seamless hose
  • Black shoes

Official attire for men:

  • Red SkillsUSA blazer, windbreaker, sweater or black/red SkillsUSA jacket
  • White dress shirt
  • Plain, solid black tie
  • Black dress slacks
  • Plain black socks
  • Black dress shoes

Interested in Becoming a Mentor to a New State SkillsUSA Director?

State association directors: Are you interested in using your experience as a state association director to help someone else? Have you ever considered serving as a mentor to a new state association director? Now is the time to explore the possibilities in serving as a mentor by completing a quick application. Applicants will be sent a mentor guide to prepare them to serve and then notified when there is a new state association director. To complete an application, go to: www.surveymonkey.com/r/SDmentor. If you have questions or need additional information, contact Gayle Silvey at gsilvey@skillsusa.org.

Accident Medical Insurance Coverage Offered to State SkillsUSA Directors

 State association directors: When you are preparing for your state SkillsUSA events and conferences, please keep in mind you can purchase accident medical insurance through the national headquarters for all participants at a rate of $0.75 per participant. This is a secondary coverage policy that provides accidental-death-and-dismemberment and medical-treatment benefits for covered participants injured as the result of an accident. Please note that medical treatment for illness is not covered under this plan.

If you wish to purchase this secondary insurance for your state events and activities, please contact Missy Wilson at the national headquarters at 703-737-0608 or mwilson@skillsusa.org to make your request and obtain the necessary form for completion prior to the event(s). 

Chapters Earn Recognition for Service Through Presidential Honors

SkillsUSA is a certifying organization of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, allowing advisors, student members and registered alumni to earn recognition for community service activities and time spent while volunteering.

This award is a presidential honor that recognizes the valuable contributions of volunteers across the country who are answering a national call to serve others through their current activities or lifetime efforts. As a certifying organization, SkillsUSA can identify eligible recipients, verify their service hours and distribute the award to outstanding volunteers.

Given participation in ongoing service activities, advisors and students may already meet the requirements to receive the award. To qualify, SkillsUSA members, advisors or alumni can submit a record of their service hours.

For details on qualifying hours and requirements for submission, visit:

www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/awards/presidents-volunteer-service-award. Applications must be postmarked by March 30. 

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/.

Reminder: SkillsUSA PR Challenge is On!

State association directors: Please pass this on to your advisors:

Now is the time to begin your application and news coverage for the SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge. This online challenge encourages local chapters to demonstrate how they showcase SkillsUSA to the news media in ways that highlight CTE and student success.

The SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge is open until March 30. The media coverage period must be three months to six months, starting as far back as Sept. 1. 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

For complete rules, go to: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-pr-challenge/

2018 NLSC Awards Ceremony Keeps Earlier Start Time

With an overwhelming positive response from last year, SkillsUSA will keep the 5 p.m. start time for the 2018 NLSC Awards Ceremony. This earlier start time allowed states to move final-celebration meetings to earlier in the evening after a busy week. If you have questions on the Awards Ceremony, email Heidi Walsh at hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

Due Dates

Dec. 1: “Lights, Camera, Save!” video contest entry deadline
Dec. 4: National Advisor of the Year applications due
Dec. 15: Campus and Total Participation Plan affiliations due to State Association Directors
Dec. 22: Conference Management System Boot Camp registrations due
Dec. 30: Lowe’s 2018 State TeamWorks Grant applications due

Feb. 2: NLSC National Anthem audition videos due
Feb. 5: National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Contest entries due
Feb. 15: State Dues and Deadlines forms due
Feb. 23: Honorary Life and Outstanding CTE Educator nominations due

March 1: National Membership deadline
March 1: CareerSafe Youth Safety Video Contest entries due
March 30: SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge ends
March 30: President’s Volunteer Service Award submissions due
March 30: SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge ends

April 1: National Technical Honor Society scholarship applications due
April 1: State Deadline to advance Gold Chapter of Distinction applications for selection as Models of Excellence
April 15: Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Scholarship application due
May 1 Marsha Daves Memorial Scholarship applications due
May 18: Hotel planner to Louisville Housing Bureau
May 18: National Conference registration due
May 18: Activate, Leverage and Engage Registration due
May 18: State association NLSC registration appointment request due
May 18: State hotel delegation reservations due

Staff Travel

Dec. 4: Ontario, Calif./Training/Courtney Ferrell
Dec. 4-5: Montgomery, Ala./State Secondary CTE Director meeting/Gene Dudley
Dec. 5-9: Nashville, Tenn./ACTE CareerTech Vision 2017/select staff
Dec. 13-15: Jackson, Tenn./Mississippi DOE meeting/Gene Dudley

Jan. 16-17: Little Rock, Ark./Board Training/Tim Lawrence
Jan. 19-20: Boston/Massachusetts Board Training/Tim Lawrence
Jan. 29-31: Scottsdale, Ariz./Tech Force Foundation meeting/Tim Lawrence

Feb. 11-14: Chandler, Ariz./Construction Users Roundtable Conference/Tim Lawrence

March 1-2: Bangor, Maine/Maine State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
March 14-15: Orlando, Fla./SkillsUSA Foundation meeting/Tim Lawrence
March 19-21: Chattanooga, Tenn./Tennessee State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
March 21-22: Tucson, Ariz./SkillsUSA Board of Directors’ Meeting/select staff

April 4-5: Burlington, Vt./Vermont State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 15-20: Colorado Springs, Colo./Colorado State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 23-24: Birmingham, Ala./Alabama State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 25-27: Hutchinson, Kan./Kansas State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 29-May 2: Pensacola, Fla./Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence