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Executive Update: July 15, 2020

Executive Update: July 15, 2020

New Theme for 2020-21 Announced

The SkillsUSA theme for the 2020-21 school year is:

SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, Empowered to Succeed

The topic to be addressed by contestants in the 2021 SkillsUSA Chapter Display, Prepared Speech and Promotional Bulletin Board competitions is our theme, “SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, Empowered to Succeed.”

As you prepare summer conference materials and back-to-school packets, please use the theme artwork where appropriate. The full theme is “SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, Empowered to Succeed,” and this new art should only be used in conjunction with the SkillsUSA logo. This will help ensure the annual theme is interpreted correctly. To download artwork, visit: www.skillsusa.org/about/theme/.

SkillsUSA Celebrates Career Essentials Certified Teachers

Last June, the following individuals achieved their Career Essentials Certified Teacher status, becoming part of a national network of educators committed to preparing learners for success in the workforce:

  • Colorado: Laurel Light, Justice High School; Joe Scancarello, Center for Work Education and Employment.
  • Maryland: Eric Millham, Dr. James A Forrest Technology & Career Center; Melissa Palmer and Anna Taitano, North Point High School for STI.
  • New Mexico: Mary Anderson, Deming High School.
  • New York: Melanie Giamanco, Cattaraugus-Alleganey BOCES.
  • Oklahoma: Lee Turner, Tulsa Tech — Broken Arrow Campus.
  • Tennessee: Wendy Hopper, Tennessee College of Applied Technology — Jackson Campus.
  • Texas: Juliet Thompson-Wisdom, MacArthur High School.
  • Virginia: Shelishia Broadus and Christopher Bryant, Alternative Education Center; Dushunna Scott, Amelia-Nottoway Technology Center; and Kathryn H. Smith, Bedford County GED. 

As a SkillsUSA Career Essentials certified teacher, these educators are now equipped to use the Career Essentials curriculum as a turnkey tool to equip learners to define, implement and measure their career-readiness skills. To acknowledge their commitment, we maintain a digital map of certified teachers at: https://mycareeressentials.org.

The SkillsUSA Career Essentials certified teacher training is designed for individuals who intend to implement a Career Essentials Experience course in the year ahead. To learn more about this free professional development opportunity, please visit www.careeressentials.org/professional-development/career-essentials-certified-teacher/. 

USDOE Seeks to Advance Technology in Rural High Schools

The Rural Tech Project is a $600,000 challenge to advance rural technology education and prepare students for the careers of today and tomorrow. The U.S. Department of Education invites high schools and local educational agencies to propose technology education programs that use competency-based distance learning. This project is open to any publicly funded school or local education agency that delivers education to a rural community and to students in grades 9-12.

After both phases of the project are complete, the Rural Tech Project will compile the insights from all finalists and share lessons learned as a resource for other rural communities who might adapt similar models.

Phase 1 of the Rural Tech Project is open to any publicly funded school or local education agency that delivers education to a rural community and to students in grades 9-12. The judging panel will recommend up to five finalists to receive an equal share of the $500,000 prize pool and progress to Phase 2.

No matter where students live, where they want to work or what they want to do, we recognize that today’s learners will need advanced technology skills. However, traditional teaching models may not effectively deliver transferable technology skills, especially in rural communities.

For more information on this innovative challenge, visit the Rural Tech Project. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 8 at 5:59 p.m. EDT.

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.  

NLSC Virtual Recognition Session Videos Available 

SkillsUSA honored many individuals on June 26 during the 2020 National Leadership and Skills Conference Virtual Recognition Sessions. Honored during the three 30-minute segments were the Advisor of the Year, Outstanding Educators, Models of Excellence winners, Outstanding Alumni, Honorary Life recipients, President’s Volunteer Service Award winners, Student2Student mentoring winner, and Pin and T-shirt Design Challenge winners. Viewers also heard a retiring address from Jarod Harris, SkillsUSA’s national high school parliamentarian. Finally, the newly-elected 2020-21 SkillsUSA National Officer team was announced.

If you missed it, you can view the archived versions on our YouTube or Facebook pages. Feel free to share these links:  

Segment 1:

Segment 2:

Segment 3:

APEX Awards Abound

We’re proud to announce that SkillsUSA earned several awards in the 2020 APEX (Awards for Publications Excellence) competition: three for SkillsUSA staff and one for the SkillsUSA Massachusetts state association.

SkillsUSA Massachusetts director Karen Ward and her staff member Carol Olsen won in the “Print Media, Catalogs, Directories and Guides” category for the “Advisors Handbook.”

SkillsUSA staff member Hayley Uffelman earned an APEX Award of Excellence in the “Social Media” category for social media sites. Her entry included SkillsUSA’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts as well as the new WorldSkills USA Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

SkillsUSA staff member Karen Kitzel earned two APEX Awards of Excellence, one in the “Feature Writing” category for features published in SkillsUSA Champions magazine and a second in the “Script and Speech Writing” category for scripts written for the executive director.

SkillsUSA is recognized this year alongside such familiar names as AARP, Ford Motor Company, NASA, National Association of Realtors and The Walt Disney Company. In 2020, there were 1,183 total entries for communications in 100 subcategories. The APEX judges stated that they were often were more impressed by the quality of creative ideas and concepts than they were by the expense entailed in execution. Many of the award-winning entries are classic examples of good ideas, imaginatively executed, despite limitations due to tight budgets, limited resources and small staffs.

The sponsor, Communications Concepts Inc., helps publishing, PR and marketing professionals improve their programs and reports on business writing and communications. The awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and success in achieving overall effectiveness and excellence.

SkillsUSA Still 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) to help fight the current pandemic. Our summer “Essential Skills, Essential Workers” campaign runs through the end of August.

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.