Executive Update: July 1, 2020

Executive Update: July 1, 2020

NLSC Virtual Recognition Session Videos Available

SkillsUSA recognized key supporters and leaders on June 26 during the 2020 National Leadership and Skills Conference Virtual Recognition Sessions. There were three 30-minute segments at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. EDT to recognize the Pin and T-shirt Design Challenge winners, awards for Advisor of the Year, Outstanding Educator, President’s Volunteer Service Award, Student2Student, Alumni, Honorary Life and Models of Excellence. We also heard a retiring address from Jarod Harris, SkillsUSA’s national high school parliamentarian, and announced the new 2020-21 SkillsUSA National Officer Team.

If you missed it, you can view the archived versions on our YouTube or Facebook page. Be sure to share these links, too!


National Officers Elected for 2020-21

In response to the cancellation of NLSC due to the global pandemic, the 2020 SkillsUSA delegate sessions and national officer candidate events and elections were held virtually. The community portion of the new SkillsUSA portal, now in development, was used as the single location for delegates to find business session information and resources, as well as a platform to get to know the national officer candidates.

Virtual campaigning took place for this year’s election. The hashtags #SkillsUSA2020Candidate and #SkillsUSA2020Delegate were used as a complement to the portal information, to assist candidates in connecting with delegates across the country between June 15 to 24 on social media.  

Delegate business sessions and a “Meet the Candidate” session were hosted on June 23-24 via Zoom. Voting for the new national officer positions was then conducted via an online system. 

Twelve SkillsUSA students were elected as national officers and the new team will begin virtual training until in-person events can resume. Here is the new team:

High School Officers

  • Ryan Tinder, Canadian Valley Technology Center, El Reno, Okla. (At Large)
  • Tarik Barnes, Cleveland (Texas) High School (At Large)
  • Cecelia Lausten, Sebeka (Minn.) Public School (At Large)
  • Abigail Jensen, Wasilla (Alaska) High School (At Large)
  • Kayla Ketterling, Cheyenne (Wyo.) Central High School (At Large)
  • Aliyana Martin, Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School, Easton, Mass., Region 1 Vice President
  • Alexis Gamez, Leesburg (Fla.) High School, Region 2 Vice President
  • Abberah Nasir, Fairfield Career Center, Carroll, Ohio, Region 3 Vice President
  • Dianna Serrano, Townview Law Magnet, Dallas, Texas, Region 4 Vice President
  • Andi Soliz, Dysart High School, El Mirage, Ariz., Region 5 Vice President

College/Postsecondary Officers

  • Xiomara Schultz, Tulsa (Okla.) Technology Center (At Large)
  • Sarah Romanko, University of Texas at Dallas (At Large)

Virtual Leverage Training for State Officers Takes Place

In response to the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, and the cancellation of the in-person National Leadership and Skills Conference, SkillsUSA is offering this year’s Leverage training free of charge as a virtual experience for all state officer teams.

In order to assist state associations during these times of disconnect, this unique leadership training opportunity has been expanded from an in-person, 2.5-day conference to a summer-long cohort of state officer teams and their facilitators. The experience consists of four live facilitator-led sessions, five e-module segments, application activities and a final celebration event.

To date, 48 state associations have signed up their state officers teams, totaling over 340 registered students. SkillsUSA partner Centuri is generously sponsoring 10% of this program.

Learners will focus on these three Essential Elements of the SkillsUSA Framework:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Job-Specific Skills

As a result of Leverage training, state officers will be able to:

  • Demonstrate high-quality, effective facilitation and communication skills.
  • Analyze the situations and environments they find themselves in and apply appropriate leadership, communication and job-specific skills.

Fine Homebuilding Scholarship Winners Announced

Fine Homebuilding has awarded 14 #KeepCraftAlive scholarships to SkillsUSA members studying in construction-related fields who plan to continue their education for the 2020-21 academic year. The $2,500 scholarships can be used for further education including community college, undergraduate programs or industry certifications. The scholarship fund was created by Fine Homebuilding to address the skills gap and disparity between the employment demands of a growing housing industry and a shortage of trained qualified labor. The 2020 winners are:

  • Alabama — Wesley Boyd (carpentry) and Joseph McDaniel (carpentry) from Gadsden Community College
  • California — Wayson Lee (carpentry), Folsom High School
  • Georgia — Zebulon Floyd (construction), Savannah Technical College
  • Idaho — Johnathan Lockwood (HVAC), Kootenai Technical Education Campus
  • Kentucky — Alaina Davis (carpentry), Murray-Calloway Area Technology Center and Paul Mobley (electrical), Boone County Area Technology Center
  • Michigan — Paige Wooden (electrical), Wilson Talent Center
  • North Carolina — Jennifer Key (masonry), Columbus Career & College Academy
  • New York — Seth Hellings (HVAC), Charles H. Bohlen, Jr. Technical Center
  • Texas — Annellise Chavez (carpentry), Construction Careers Academy and Eli Smart (HVAC), Silsbee High School
  • Utah — Masen Holmes (electrical), Uintah Basin Technology College-Vernal
  • Wyoming — Jeremy Hartt (electrical), Guernsey-Sunrise High School

SkillsUSA “Fall Agility” Plans in Progress

This fall, SkillsUSA will launch new student and teacher agility plans that have been created to engage members in new ways as we begin to emerge from the many effects of the global pandemic of 2020.

Faced with the possibility that many of our in-person local, state and national programs may not take place as usual, the Office of Education team brainstormed new ways to actively engage students. New virtual programming is being designed to create a sense of community, provide recognition and provide opportunities for individual growth. The three themes emerged from member research conducted to better understand what students and teachers most wanted from their participation in SkillsUSA.

Teachers will have an opportunity to participate in virtual professional development and activities that allow them to strengthen their chapter, program and instructional delivery. SkillsUSA’s plans include a virtual Fall Leadership Conference that can be delivered as a stand-alone opportunity for members or can be customized by state associations.  

The SkillsUSA agility plan addresses concerns by our state associations and local chapters that membership may be affected by changing school environments in the fall which could include fewer additional activities, hybrid learning or online learning, as well as reduced field trips and travel by students and teachers. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Chapters Selected as ‘Model of Excellence’ Winners

During the 2020 National Leadership and Skills Conference Virtual Recognition Session, three SkillsUSA chapters were awarded first place in their respective components in the SkillsUSA Models of Excellence program. This is part of our Chapter Excellence Program (CEP), sponsored by Kreg Tools, to promote the application of SkillsUSA Framework personal, workplace and technical skills within chapter activities.

To be selected as one of 24 national finalists, each chapter had to achieve CEP gold status through a detailed application process and participation in online interviews.

The program focuses on honoring the best SkillsUSA chapters nationwide based on student efforts. These chapters triumphed in their respective SkillsUSA Framework components:

  • Personal Skills: Students at Cheyenne Central High School in Wyoming excelled in personal skills by creating and hosting an “Outstanding Alumni” reunion and recognition event. The SkillsUSA Framework skills of professionalism, responsibility, and adaptability and flexibility were used as members reached out to exceptional alumni and honored them at a well-organized networking opportunity. Alumni were able to share their professional experiences while learning more about the chapter’s current programs and successes.
  • Workplace Skills: Kofa High School in Arizona was tops in the workplace skills component for participating in a chamber of commerce mixer to promote CTE, SkillsUSA and business partnerships. Students capitalized on the framework skills of communication, teamwork and leadership by preparing and delivering presentations at the event, designing hand-crafted charcuterie boards for table centerpieces, and facilitating classroom tours to inspire business leaders to join the advisory board. 
  • Technical Skills: In the technical skills component, SkillsUSA members from Lynn Vocational Technical Institute in Massachusetts were commended for supporting children, K-5 with social and emotional learning (SEL) needs by creating “calm down kits.” Members shined in the framework skills of safety and health, service orientation and professional development by presenting school-wide SEL workshops and enlisting the support of 535 peers in creating 25 kits for children to reduce stress and improve classroom participation.

Got Champions?                               

The SkillsUSA Champions magazine staff is looking for stories for upcoming editions of the magazine and the new digital hub. If you know of a SkillsUSA student, advisor, industry representative or alumnus whose story would be motivating and inspirational, please email the director of communications Tom Kercheval at tkercheval@skillsusa.org. 

“Essential Skills, Essential Workers” Summer Campaign

SkillsUSA and Centricity (SkillsUSA’s merchandising partner) have launched a summer communications campaign dubbed “Essential Skills, Essential Workers.” The campaign is designed to promote positivity in the wake of the current pandemic while reminding the nation of the vital role the skilled trades continue to play in the American success story.

The current health crisis has sparked newfound appreciation for many professionals who have traditionally been undervalued by society. SkillsUSA, however, has consistently championed the value and dignity of all workers since its founding in 1965. Healthcare specialists, plumbers, electricians, automotive technicians and workers in so many other skilled areas have always been essential. We hope this is a moment in time when we can make significant progress in elevating the public’s perception of the value of career and technical education, along with SkillsUSA’s unique positioning as a champion of all skilled workers.

As part of the awareness campaign, Centricity will release a series of SkillsUSA “Essential Skills, Essential Workers” merchandise, from mask headbands and hand sanitizers to T-shirts and water bottles to highlight the skills we bring to our national needs. New stories are released weekly to support the campaign at: www.skillsusachampions.org.

SkillsUSA Seeks “Essential Skills” Stories

Please continue to send us your state’s stories about SkillsUSA chapters that are building or donating personal protective equipment (PPE) in light of the current pandemic.

In addition to healthcare stories, we also seek essential workers in fields such as automotive technology, culinary arts, welding, cabling or other areas where CTE skills are supporting communities during the current crisis.   If you know of any students, advisors or chapters who are helping, please share those stories and contact information so we can get the details. Photos are also greatly appreciated! Send your materials to Jane Short at jshort@skillsusa.org.