Executive Update: July 15, 2019

Important Dates
July 23-28: Summer National Officer Training, Dulles, Va.
Aug. 15-19: State Directors Association Annual Professional Development and Training Conference, Herndon, Va.

Executive Director’s Report

NLSC Hits New High in Attendance
We’ve just returned from our largest SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) ever, with registration at 11,136 and a final contestant count of 6,417. This is an increase of 255 paid registrants over last year and does not include judges, exhibitors and other volunteers. Louisville Tourism estimates around 19,000 total attendance during the week. This event changed many lives for the better. Check out the 2019 Week in Review recap video here:

Deputy Secretary Zais Attends NLSC
We were honored to have U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Mick Zais attend the conference this year for the first time. We demonstrated CTE at its best, and this can help shape future policy and programs in Washington. Deputy Secretary Zais attended the Call to Post, the opening ceremony and the corporation meeting, spoke at the Models of Excellence dinner and toured the SkillsUSA Championships. See his interview with SkillsUSA here:

Other Special Guests Participate
We were also honored to have other dignitaries with us including: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin; Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton; Cierra Mitchell, acting division chief at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship; and Robin Utz, branch chief of College and Career Transitions at the U.S. Department of Education’s Division of Academic and Technical Education at the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

Conference Media Coverage Expands
Our PR team of Jane Short and Karen Kitzel worked hard to get outstanding local media coverage of this year’s conference, with a total of 63 hits in the Louisville market (up from 57 last year). Coverage highlights included:

  • SkillsUSA Championships (tech committee chairs from Commercial Baking, Culinary Arts and Automotive Service Technology as well as SkillsUSA TECHSPO)
  • Nine national officers on camera (a record)
  • Seven members of the WorldSkills USA team featured
  • SkillsUSA Kentucky state officer team (local angle)
  • Roger Wilkerson, Tom Boyer and Mackenzie Oestreich on camera as past national officers/alumni
  • SkillsUSA Career Essentials credential breakfast with Governor Bevin
  • Service project building bicycles

In case you missed seeing us on the news, here are some links. On June 27, WDRB’s Keith Kaiser broadcasted a live remote from the SkillsUSA Championships floor with five segments from 5 a.m.-9 a.m. Here are two of those video clips:

To see the full local media report and view all the clips, go to: www.skillsusa.org/publications-news/press-room/

Press Release Blast Nationwide
After conference, our PR team distributed a total of 9,197 press releases. These went to hometown media for all national medalists and Skill Point certificate recipients, including the two weekly newspapers and two daily papers closest to each ZIP code. This distribution went twice, so as not to miss anyone. Our team is handling lots of calls and emails from reporters following the news blast.

The PR team also sends lists of all national winners and Skill Point certificate recipients to senators, congressional representatives, governors and state CTE directors, encouraging them to recognize these outstanding students. This national advocacy effort is so important to getting word to our lawmakers and leaders about SkillsUSA and CTE.

Social Media Gains
Members are talking and sharing on social media in larger numbers than ever before. According to Web and Technology Senior Manager Craig Moore and Communications Specialist Hayley Uffelman:

  • During the 2019 NLSC, we gained 967 followers on Facebook, 235 followers on Twitter and 149 followers on Instagram.
  • Our posts made over 1 million impressions.
  • For the period of April-June, we had 976,773 page views and 761,561 unique page views.

National Officers Elected for 2019-20
Our new national officers will arrive soon for training and will be formally introduced to you. Meanwhile, here is a link to our new national team of student ambassadors: www.skillsusa.org/about/national-officers/.

National Medalists Announced
A complete list of 2019 SkillsUSA Championships medalists is available at: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-championships/results/.

Photos of national medalists grouped by contest, and taken on stage and backstage at the awards ceremony, are now available. These photos may be downloaded, printed, published or shared. Here is the link to winners’ photos: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-championships/medalist-photos/.

NLSC Ceremonies Online
Did you miss a session or want to share one of the keynote speeches? To view the archived opening and awards ceremonies, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/national-leadership-and-skills-conference/national-conference-daily-photos-and-videos/live-conference-videos/. 

See What SkillsUSA Started?
At NLSC, we honored many individuals for distinguished achievement: eight Honorary Life members, five Outstanding Educators and six Advisor of the Year finalists including Advisor of the Year Jason McCuish of Lynn (Mass.) Vocational Technical Institute. Maureen Tholen (3M) was honored with our industry partner Torch Carrier award, and the Ernie Gary Volunteer of the Year award went to SkillsUSA Championships volunteer Mark Galland. Each of these individuals has served SkillsUSA for many years, and most credit SkillsUSA with igniting a passion to serve others. Read about the 2019 honorees in the SkillsUSA Awards and Recognition Book at: www.skillsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-Awards-Book.pdf

I was honored to receive the WorldSkills Fellowship Award from Simon Bartley, president of WorldSkills on Tuesday evening before the opening ceremony. This award is conferred by the WorldSkills board of directors to individuals “in recognition of an outstanding contribution to WorldSkills and a commitment to inspiring and advancing the prospects of young people around the globe.” This was only the second WorldSkills Fellowship Award presented in the 73-year history of the organization.

Appreciation for Making It Happen
A big thank-you goes to our SkillsUSA staff for the excellent work they did leading up to and during conference to make our 55th National Leadership and Skills Conference the best ever! The pieces of the puzzle came together beautifully, with records set and lives changed. It was a spectacular week for students, teachers and partners: Activate, Leverage and Engage training; Chapter Excellence and Models of Excellence events; the delegate sessions; amazing performances by our national officers; the SkillsUSA Championships; all of our partner events; SkillsUSA TECHSPO; coverage of the conference by our communications team; the beautiful opening and awards ceremonies; the WorldSkills USA team appearances; and incredible news media coverage. I sincerely appreciate all the long hours, lack of sleep and the dedication of our team. People are often surprised to learn that a staff of 35 manages a conference for 19,000 attendees and an association with more than 360,000 members.

New Members Join SkillsUSA Board of Directors
I want to thank our board of directors for their dynamic leadership during the 2019 NLSC.

Special thanks to all corporate members who participated in the annual corporation meeting during NLSC. At that meeting, Bryan Upton from the Alabama Department of Education was elected as the new Region 2 board representative, Robert Kornack from the Ohio Department of Education was elected to serve Region 3, and Clay Mitchell from the California Department of Education was reelected to the Region 5 board position.

The board also held officer elections following the corporate meeting. Congratulations to Jen Worth from the American Association of Community Colleges for her reelection as board president; to Sam Bottum from Snap-on Incorporated for his reelection as board vice president; to Sarah Heath, Advance CTE president and state CTE director from Colorado, for her election as board secretary.

New board members from business and industry are Tony Ambroza, chief brand officer from Carhartt; Jason Scales, business manager, Education, from Lincoln Electric; and Rose Bauss, corporate manager, Product Quality and Service Support, from Toyota Motor North America.

While welcoming all the new board members, we were pleased to honor four outstanding leaders, including three former board presidents as they completed their terms of office: James King, Tennessee Board of Regents; Brent Kindred, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction; and Chris Arvin, Caterpillar Inc. All served full nine-year terms, and each led for two years as board president. Darren Gibson of Oklahoma, SkillsUSA State Directors Association chair, also completed his term, and Peyton Holland from North Carolina will be replacing Darren on the board. These four individuals provided a combined 29 years of service to our board and led many new initiatives during their tenure.

I want to say in closing that I have appreciated the opportunity to serve this organization, especially at NLSC. I was truly humbled by the tribute at the opening ceremony and the video Tom Kercheval and my family put together as a salute for my final NLSC as executive director, narrated by none other than Mike Rowe. In case you missed it, here is a link to the video:

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

Registration Opens Soon for WLTI 

SkillsUSA’s Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) will be held at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., Sept. 21-25. This experience is designed for all SkillsUSA students and advisors who want to grow in the essential elements of professionalism, communication and leadership and passionately advocate for career and technical education (CTE).

Please take a look at the Director Guide for the 2019 WLTI here: www.skillsusa.net/directors/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/WLTI-State-Director-Guide-2019.pdf.

WLTI registration opens on Aug. 1, and both conference and hotel reservations must be made no later than Aug. 29, at 11:59 p.m.

State SkillsUSA directors, please encourage all members to attend.

Please email WLTI@skillsusa.org with any WLTI-related questions.

Deadline Approaching for WLTI Scholarship

The SkillsUSA Student Leadership Development Scholarship was established in 2007 with financial support from Robert L. Flint, former Caterpillar executive and SkillsUSA board president (1998-99). The scholarship provides financial support for a total of four students who are recognized for having strong leadership potential and who would greatly benefit from national leadership training but do not have the sufficient resources to participate in the Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI).

Only state SkillsUSA directors may submit applications for scholarship candidates. Each state association, including both high school and college/postsecondary in applicable states, may submit one application online at: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/student-leadership-development-scholarship-wlti/. State SkillsUSA directors should solicit the lead chapter advisor for nominations, and then choose one nominee’s application to submit to the SkillsUSA headquarters. Once nomination applications are received at the National Leadership Center, a panel of SkillsUSA staff and leadership trainers will evaluate the applications and select the top candidates.

Each WLTI scholarship is for $800. This amount covers registration, lodging (four nights, double room), all meals, $50 spending money, bus transportation to all conference activities

The deadline for applications is July 23.

Find Medalists, Photos, Scores and Sample Press Releases

The complete list of SkillsUSA Championships winners is now available at: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-championships/results/.

For individual scores for contestants only, go to: www.skillsusa-register.org/rpts/EventScoreDetails.aspx. To access these scores, you must have a contestant number and date of birth.

Reminder: A sample editable press release is available on SkillsUSA’s advocacy webpage. This template can be used by state SkillsUSA directors, instructors, parents and others to contact the media about students who competed or participated in some other way (e.g., as a delegate or Courtesy Corps member) during the national conference. The press release can be sent to five media outlets at a time. The site can be reached by going to: www.cqrcengage.com/skillsusa/. 

Trade-specific press releases for each contest area are at: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/national-leadership-and-skills-conference/press-kit/. Please feel free to use these when publicizing competitors’ results at the 2019 championships. 

Photos of national medalists grouped by contest, and taken on stage and backstage at the awards ceremony, are now available. These photos may be downloaded, printed, published or shared. Captions for the backstage photos will be available soon. Here is the link to the photos: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-championships/medalist-photos/.

Chapters Selected as ‘Model of Excellence’ Winners

At the National Leadership and Skills Conference, 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), in partnership with apprenticeship.gov and Crescent 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. All finalists completed interviews and participated in activities while in Louisville.

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: In California, Norwalk High School members excelled in personal skills by creating awareness and delivering results through a campuswide “Energy Conservation Competition.” The SkillsUSA Framework skills of responsibility, adaptability and flexibility, and self-motivation were used as members supported energy conservation while holding teachers and classmates accountable in their efforts as they took a proactive approach to address this important issue.
  • Workplace Skills: Geary High School in Oklahoma was tops in the workplace skills component by designing, producing, packaging and marketing CNC-lasered SkillsUSA metal tumblers for fundraisers and promotions. Students capitalized on the framework skills of computer and technology literacy, job-specific skills and service orientation by ensuring SkillsUSA brand standards were met while supplying a quality, affordable product delivered with excellent customer service.
  • Technical Skills: In the technical skills component, SkillsUSA members from Massachusetts’s Lynn Vocational Technical Institute were commended for thinking outside the box and creating and publishing their own book to help children understand career and technical education (CTE) entitled Tech Goes to Tiger Town. Members became well versed in the framework skills of computer and technology literacy, job-specific skills and service orientation by learning and acquiring new computer-based program skills, writing press releases and educating others about CTE with the creation of their book.  

National Officers Elected for 2019-20 

Fifteen SkillsUSA students were elected as national officers at NLSC. Following the conference, these officers began preparing for their year of service at post-election training held in Carrollton, Ky. The national officers will come together again later in July for their summer training near our national headquarters, where individual offices for those elected at large will be determined. Here is the new team:

High School Officers

  • Melissa Moreno, San Luis (Ariz.) High School (At Large)
  • Skylar Rearick, Lyman High School, Longwood, Fla. (At Large)
  • Justin Newton, Webster County Area Tech Center, Dixon, Ky. (At Large)
  • Jarod Harris, Seward (Neb.) High School (At Large)
  • Makenna Eccles, Porter (Texas) High School (At Large)
  • Anika Koopman, Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, Upton, Mass., Region 1 Vice President
  • Devon Cushing, Troup High School, Lagrange, Ga., Region 2 Vice President
  • Austin Huddleston, Upper Valley Career Center, Piqua, Ohio, Region 3 Vice President
  • Ashley Olenkiewicz, Porter (Texas) High School, Region 4 Vice President
  • Miguel Nunez, San Luis (Ariz.) High School, Region 5 Vice President

College/Postsecondary Officers

  • Taytum McGill, Northeast Alabama Community College, Rainsville, Ala. (At Large)
  • Karlisle Wilbur, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I. (At Large)
  • Jay Clifton, El Centro College, Dallas (At Large)
  • Emma Cates, Indian Capital Technology Center, Muskogee, Okla. (At Large)
  • Lance Myers, Chattanooga (Tenn.) State Community College (At Large) 

Focusing on the Future of Construction

The global construction industry is facing many challenges. To discover how it fits into emerging trends, Constructech will hold its Technology Days conference Aug. 21-22 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago, Arlington Heights, Ill. Topics will include building sustainable cities of tomorrow, leveraging innovative mobile technology, constructing future infrastructure and building a stronger workforce. While all of these challenges create greater opportunities for the construction community, they are nonetheless forcing the industry to take a greater look at digital transformation and project delivery. For attendee or exhibitor conference details, go to: https://constructech.com/tech-day/.

To see Tim Lawrence’s recent interview with Peggy Smedley of Constructech TV, go to:

Lowe’s Generation T: Join the Movement 

SkillsUSA is a founding partner in Generation T (“Gen T”), a national movement to address the widening skilled trades gap and inspire a new generation to consider skilled trades careers. Committed to rebuilding and changing public perceptions of the skilled trades in America, Gen T seeks to drive enrollment in skilled trades education and build a pipeline of skilled trade workers to offset the anticipated gap of 3 million jobs by 2028.

SkillsUSA joins more than 60 Gen T organizations across the country who are facilitating the education and training needed to populate the skilled trades industry, close the job skills gap and shape a new perception of the skilled trades. One key component of the movement is a first-of-its-kind national marketplace of skilled jobs, available on the Gen T website, that connects people to prospective training opportunities.

In February 2018, Lowe’s announced the “Track to the Trades,” a new workforce development initiative that aims to provide innovative career alternatives and financial support or employees to pursue a skilled trade. The Lowe’s Foundation is working to “bring shop class back” to high schools in select markets via a donation strategy in which key vendors make in-kind donations to these high school partners and military transition organizations.

Here is a recent article about Gen T on the Lowe’s website: https://newsroom.lowes.com/news-releases/generation-t/.

Lowe’s has asked SkillsUSA to spread the word about this opportunity for students and local communities. For more information about Generation T and to join the movement, visit: www.skillsusa.org/programs/generation-t/.

Due Dates

July 23: Washington Leadership Training Institute Student Leadership Scholarship applications due
Aug. 29: Washington Leadership Training Institute registration and hotel reservations due

National Staff Travel

July
July 14-16: Athens, Ga./Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education Conference/Sylvia Phillips
July 15-17: Chattanooga, Tenn./Tennessee CTE Institute/Gene Dudley
July 16-17: Appleton, Wis./Keynote at Miller Electric Instructors Conference/Tim Lawrence
July 19-21: Springfield, Mo./Missouri Association for Career and Technical Education Conference/Sylvia Phillips
July 22-24: Hanceville, Ala./SkillsUSA CTE Instructor Professional Development/Gene Dudley
July 23-26: Norfolk, Va./Virginia Association of Trade and Industrial Educators (VATIE) Conference/Tim Lawrence
July 23-28: Dulles, Va./Summer National Officer Training/Courtney Ferrell
July 24-25: Charlotte, N.C./Generation T Business Partner Summit/Sylvia Phillips
July 24-26:  Jackson, Miss./Mississippi Association for Career and Technical Education Conference/Gene Dudley
July 29-31: Birmingham, Ala./Alabama Association for Career and Technical Education Conference/Gene Dudley

August
Aug. 3-7: Barrigada, Guam/technical assistance to restart SkillsUSA association/Gene Dudley
Aug. 8-11: Lincoln, Neb./National Officer Facilitator Training/Courtney Ferrell and Anita Foor