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Executive Update: January 1, 2021

Executive Update: January 1, 2021

Welcome to 2021

We hope everyone enjoyed the holiday break and had a pleasant New Year. We are feeling hopeful to move forward into 2021 with optimism about SkillsUSA and career and technical education. We will continue to be agile as the world has and will continue to change. Flexibility and adaptability are among our strengths as an organization!

National Officers Ready to Serve at Your State Events

SkillsUSA’s national officers are ready and willing to serve at your state conference by speaking at events, introducing partners or other stakeholders or facilitating workshops. Complete a request form today to get assistance for your conference while providing an incredible opportunity for a student leader: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/national-officer-request-form/.

Advisor Professional Development Available

Preparing for the SkillsUSA Championships is an excellent opportunity for SkillsUSA Framework skill development in students. This is the time of year when many people are preparing for SkillsUSA Championships and we have resources to help.

  • The Local Career Competition Guides include practical advice within five categories: prework, planning, implementation, celebration and evaluation. There is also a section on how to host a virtual competition successfully. The Local Career Competition Guides are a benefit of SkillsUSA professional membership and can be accessed at Absorb.SkillsUSA.org under Professional Membership Benefits.
  • Four SkillsUSA Championships Coaching Guides have also been developed to support preparation for SkillsUSA Championships. From training timelines to learning objectives and activity templates, the tools and tips within these resources will strengthen the coaching experience. To check out the SkillsUSA Championships Coaching Guides, visit shop.skillsusa.org.

This month, advisor professional development resource training is available afternoons or evenings to suit your schedule. Register HERE to attend. January’s sessions are as follows:

  • 12 – Championship Coaching Guide, 4-4:30 p.m., and 7-7:30 p.m. (ET).
  • 19 – Local Career Competition Guide, 4-4:30 p.m., and 7-7:30 p.m. (ET).
  • 26 – Championship Coaching Guide, 4-4:30 p.m., and 7-7:30 p.m. (ET).

State Farm Grant Opportunity for Teachers in California, Florida, Michigan, New York and Texas

State Farm has a new grant opportunity called State Farm Teacher Assist. The program will give a total of $500,000 to teachers in California, Florida, Michigan, New York and Texas. Forty teachers in each of these states will win a $2,500 grant to implement their innovative ideas.

The submission phase opens on Jan. 11 at 4:00 p.m. local time, and ends on Jan. 15, or when 200 submissions are reached in each of the five states. The winning teachers will be announced by State Farm on Feb. 1.

For more information or to apply, go to: https://newsroom.statefarm.com/state-farm-teacher-assist-homepage/.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Tools for Educators

Some SkillsUSA advisors may be eligible for federal assistance in forgiving their federal student loan debt. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Recently, enhancements were made to two tools related to Federal Student Aid (FSA). The PSLF Help Tool and Loan Simulator can help borrowers more easily determine their eligibility for the PSLF Program. Completion of the help tool will take roughly 30 minutes and advisors will need their most recent W2 and their employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). New enhancements also include a new, single PSLF Form combining the employment certification form and the forgiveness application to make the process easier!

The Best Way to Build a Successful SkillsUSA Chapter  

The Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) recognizes achievement as it relates to the integration of the SkillsUSA Framework in chapter Program of Work (PoW) activities. As a chapter’s yearly action plan, the Program of Work is at the heart of student learning and employability skills development. By using the Framework as a guide, chapters have a blueprint for creating relevant activities that encourage participation and foster an understanding of the student learning attained during each activity. The Framework’s focus on intentional learning turns the Program of Work into more than just a planning tool.

Every chapter is encouraged to participate in CEP and there are three award levels to recognize program involvement. The first two levels are acknowledged by a chapter’s state association and the third level is recognized nationally. Each level is designed to give chapters a benchmark for success and future improvement, leading to stronger chapters and more prepared students.

Resources, templates, planning tools, teacher’s guides and more are online at www.skillsusaconnect.org/advisor-chapter-excellence-program. Even better, schedule a one-on-one coaching session with our CEP and PoW coach, Kelli Engelbrecht.  Learn how to integrate the SkillsUSA Framework, articulate your SMART goals and select and evaluate your Essential Elements within your CEP application. Reach out to Kelli to schedule a time to meet (https://calendly.com/skillsusakelli).

For questions or help, call or email the SkillsUSA Customer Care Team: 844-875-4557 or customercare@skillsusa.org.

Plan Now for 2021 SkillsUSA Week 

State SkillsUSA directors, please pass this on to your advisors:

SkillsUSA Week is Feb. 7-13 and you can participate many ways: honor your community supporters, connect with local business and industry professionals, or make a presentation about SkillsUSA at a school board meeting.

We encourage you to celebrate all week by planning activities that follow the daily schedule of events that will be held by local chapters nationwide:

Monday, Feb. 8, Recognition Day. Celebrate and honor members, advisors, administrators, business partners, community leaders and supporters who make a meaningful impact on your CTE program and SkillsUSA chapter.

Tuesday, Feb. 9, Give Back Day. Rally around your school and community by focusing on ways for your chapter to give back.

Wednesday, Feb. 10. Partner Day. Invite local business and industry leaders to connect with chapter members as you highlight the importance of developing the career-readiness skills found in the SkillsUSA Framework.

Thursday, Feb. 11, Advocacy Day. Amplify CTE in your community by conducting a local public relations activity, such as presenting to school board members, administrators or community leaders.

Friday, Feb. 12, SkillsUSA Day. Celebrate SkillsUSA by wearing your favorite SkillsUSA shirt, planning a celebration activity or by posting your Framework story on social media using the hashtag: #SkillsUSAWeek

For a packet of resources including information on how to request time on a school board meeting agenda with talking points, a guide to celebrating SkillsUSA in your chapter, resources to help you engage local business and industry leaders, and a link to send fill-in releases using the Advocacy Site, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/skillsusa-week.

Visit the SkillsUSA Store at www.skillsusastore.org to order SkillsUSA Week T-shirts and other logo products to support your celebration.  

Marsha Daves Memorial Scholarship Opportunity is Open

The Marsha Daves Memorial Scholarship is open to current SkillsUSA state officers who are high school seniors or non-senior college/postsecondary students. For more information and to apply, go to: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/scholarships-financial-aid/. The deadline for applications is Feb. 1.

Proposed Bylaw Amendment Motions Submissions 

Current SkillsUSA members can submit proposed bylaw amendments for middle school, high school and college/postsecondary divisions. Bylaw amendment motions must be submitted by Feb. 1 by 5 p.m. ET.

SkillsUSA’s National Executive Council and board of directors will review all submissions during the March 2021 board meeting. All motions will be distributed to state SkillsUSA directors no later than April 15. Motions will then be presented for vote at the official business meeting of the House of Delegates during the 2021 NLSC.

Bylaw amendments are governed by Article XII of the high school and college/postsecondary bylaws and Article X of the middle school bylaws.

For more information and to view the bylaws, click here. The motion form is located here.

If you have questions, contact Tyler Chaffin at tchaffin@skillsusa.org.

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

Nominations are open for both the SkillsUSA Honorary Life Membership and the Outstanding Career and Technical Educator awards. Honorary Life Membership is SkillsUSA’s highest recognition for outstanding service that advances the purposes and goals of the national organization. The Outstanding Career and Technical Educator Award honors individual educators for their service and dedication to career and technical education and SkillsUSA.

To nominate someone for Honorary Life Membership or Outstanding Career and Technical Educator, submit applications at the following links. The deadline is Feb. 15.

If you have questions, contact Laura Rauch at lrauch@skillsusa.org.

Focus Students on Safety

Once again, CareerSafe will sponsor the National Youth Safety Video Contest.  Students across the country are challenged to create a two-minute video demonstrating safety in the workplace. All submissions must 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 details visit the CareerSafe website at: www.careersafeonline.com/scholarships/video-contest.

2020-21 Advisor of the Year

State SkillsUSA directors: This year’s Advisor of the Year (AOY) information and resources are located on SkillsUSA Connect. Please note: there are two different state director guides. One guide is designed specifically for state associations that intend on using the AOY section of the SkillsUSA Register site to collect and judge state-level AOY applications. The other guide is designed specifically for state associations that will be selecting their AOY recipient using their own process/methods and will be submitting their state winner into the National AOY program.

To access the information, log into SkillsUSA CONNECT and go to: www.skillsusaconnect.org/advisor-of-the-year-sd-hub.

A couple of reminders…

  • As a state association, you have complete authority to manage your Advisor of the Year program at the state-level, using whatever process, methods and timelines that work best in your state. You are still able to submit your state Advisor of the Year recipient from the previous school year or the current school year. However, in order to be eligible to achieve the regional or national level award, advisors must be current Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) Level 2 recipients and paid professional members during the 2020-21 school year.
  • An exception to eligibility requirements may be made if the Advisor has retired during or prior to the year in which they are being submitted for National AOY consideration. The Advisor must have been a paid Professional member and met the minimum CEP requirement during their last year of teaching. A letter from an administrator stating the date of retirement must be submitted to Taryn Zeigler at tzeigler@skillsusa.org.

The deadline for state association directors to submit or “advance” their state recipient is April 1.

We are excited to honor and celebrate your advisors across the country! If you have any questions, please contact Taryn Zeigler at tzeigler@skillsusa.org.

Cybersecurity Education Award Nominations Sought

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a call for nominations for the Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award. Now in its second year, the award is presented annually to one elementary educator and one secondary educator who instill in their students the skills, knowledge and passion for a cybersecurity career. Any educator whose subject matter includes cybersecurity can apply. Recipients of this honor will receive acknowledgement by the President of the United States and the U.S. Secretary of Education, public recognition and professional development opportunities.

Anyone may nominate an educator, and self-nominations are permitted. The nominations close on Jan. 31. For the rules, terms and conditions and specifics on how to apply, please visit www2.ed.gov/documents/presidential-cybersecurity-education-award.pdf.

Apply for a Student Tuition Grant  

Saf-Gard Safety Shoe Co. is awarding an education grant for skilled trades students who are just starting out in their field. Three students will be chosen to receive a $1,000 grant to go toward trade school tuition. Students who apply will respond to a prompt created by Saf-Gard and then send responses and photos to a designated contact for a weekly blog update. The deadline to apply is Jan. 13. For more information, visit: www.safgard.com/sole-education.

Due Dates

Jan. 13: Saf-Gard Safety Shoe Co. Grant Application Deadline
Jan. 15: State Farm Teacher Assist Grant opportunity deadline
Jan. 31: Cybersecurity Education Award nominations due
Feb. 1: Marsha Daves Memorial Scholarship applications due
Feb. 1: SkillsUSA Bylaw Amendment Motions submissions due
Feb. 15: Honorary Life Member and Outstanding Career and Technical Educator nominations due
March 1: National Youth Safety Video Contest submissions due
April 1: Advisor of the Year State SkillsUSA Director submissions due