Executive Update: June 1, 2019

Executive Update: June 1, 2019

Tim Lawrence

Important Dates
June 22-24: Activate, Leverage and Engage Training, Louisville, Ky.
June 24-28: National Leadership and Skills Conference, Louisville, Ky

Executive Director’s Report

Media Coverage Worth Millions for SkillsUSA National Signing Day
We are still basking in the glow of the media coverage from SkillsUSA National Signing Day on May 8. There were 634 print and broadcast stories, almost 300 million impressions and a total media value of $38.5 million. See a media highlights recap below:

The event was a huge success. More than 300 schools and an estimated 3,000 students participated across the country. Our partner Klein Tools took the lead, providing T-shirts, hats, backpacks and Klein pliers as gifts as well as pledge cards, signs, tablecloths and water bottles.

Klein invited NFL quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to be the Signing Day spokesperson at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education Center in San Jose, Calif. He addressed the group alongside his father, Tony Garoppolo, a career electrician. I also spoke, as did the principal of Silicon Valley CTEC, Klein Tools president Mark Klein and Klein’s vice president of marketing Greg Palese.

Other CTSOs Share News about Moves, Growth, Appropriations
On May 14, the National Coordinating Committee for Career and Technical Student Organizations met at SkillsUSA headquarters. I reported on a successful SkillsUSA National Signing Day and updated the other executive directors on our membership and how we are working to drive alumni growth at the local level. I also shared our latest WorldSkills USA team video:

Here is a summary of news reports from other CTSOs and affiliate members:

  • Business Professionals of America (BPA) announced a new logo and tagline, a new strategic plan and work in progress on a new mission statement. Since their office building has been sold, BPA is seeking office space in the Washington, D.C., area. They doubled the amount raised for conference sponsorships this year.
  • Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) reports that membership is up and their annual conference has grown. This year’s conference will be held in Anaheim, Calif., and next year their 70th anniversary conference will be in Washington, D.C.
  • The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) discussed the FY20 appropriations in the House, now moving to the Senate. Read more here: https://ctepolicywatch.typepad.com. ACTE announced plans for their second annual CTE Month-NASA HUNCH video challenge. The 2019-20 theme for student-produced videos, two minutes or less in length, will be “Working on the Moon and Beyond” with a deadline of March 1. The next CareerTech VISION conference will be held in Anaheim, Calif., and they expect it will be a big year for attendance.
  • Robin Utz from the U.S. Department of Education announced they are implementing a CTE Advisory Panel, as codified in Perkins V. She also announced that Innovation and Modernization grants are due June 14. The purpose of the grants is to innovate and modernize CTE programs, and everyone who receives Perkins funds can apply. For more information, go to: https://cte.ed.gov/grants/funding-opportunities

State SkillsUSA Directors Train at National Headquarters
On May 14-16, over 30 state SkillsUSA directors and state staff came to the National Leadership Center for professional development training. Others joined via Zoom. Sessions covered curricula, best practices for state associations and implementation plans.

A three-hour session on Perkins V was led by attorney Michael Brustein, who specializes in education and workforce law and is an expert in Perkins legislation. Our national staff unveiled the new SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences exploratory and adult learner curricula and provided training on the SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences fundamental and advanced sets courses. An additional topic was understanding the integration of the SkillsUSA Framework in the new version 2.0 of our Chapter Excellence Program.

Two New Employees Join Headquarters Staff
It is a pleasure to announce that SkillsUSA has filled two staff positions. On May 6, we welcomed Dennis Peaton as a SkillsUSA Championships program specialist. On May 13, we welcomed Josie Wolfe to SkillsUSA as a fundraising manager.

Peaton, a former SkillsUSA member and cabinetmaking competitor from Maryland, has more than 12 years of experience in program organization and logistical coordination. As a state conference manager with SkillsUSA Maryland, he supported coordination and management of schedules, meeting and event logistics, budgets and project tasks.

Wolfe, also from Maryland, is a former SkillsUSA medalist in Commercial Baking and college/postsecondary national president. She has attended four national conferences, three Washington Leadership Training Institutes and has been featured in SkillsUSA Champions magazine. She can provide a firsthand perspective on the difference the organization makes in the lives of students.

Fundraising Trends Upward
Amy Serafino, our chief partnerships and development officer, reports that corporate partnerships and individual contributions continue an upward trend. The department is currently at $3.9 million raised to date, against the revenue goal of $4.4 million. This is a YTD increase of $2.1 million over this time in 2018.

New and renewal partnerships closed in May include: Broan; Carhartt; CareerSafe; Charles Koch Foundation; GE Appliance, a Haier Company; Koch Industries; National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA); Robert Bosch Tool Corp.; Tremco Roofing & Building Maintenance; the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Labor, for a total of $650,350.


  • SkillsUSA Maryland director Chuck Wallace and his team brought their new state officers to SkillsUSA headquarters for training May 20. It was delightful to have the students spend the day with us.
  • A total of 1,279 teachers responded to a survey for our communications audit. This was an excellent response rate of 17.05 percent from the 7,500 survey invitations sent out. The winner of an incentive drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card was Samuel Cordero, an architectural technology teacher at Dr. Heriberto Domenech Vocational High School in Puerto Rico. State SkillsUSA directors and students are responding to separate surveys about SkillsUSA communications, and further conversations will take place at NLSC. SkillsUSA will use these evaluations to improve our national communications including our e-newsletters, website posts and SkillsUSA Champions

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

Got Champions?

At the national conference, the staff of SkillsUSA Champions magazine will be on the lookout for interview subjects and cover models.

If you know of a SkillsUSA student, advisor, industry representative or alumnus who will be at conference and whose story would be motivating and inspirational, please email Tom Hall at thall@skillsusa.org. He’ll then set up a specific time to meet with the magazine staff.

In addition, if you have a student who is going to the national conference and he or she could be a potential cover model, there will be designated “photo studio” hours. Please let Tom know, and he will contact you with the available times. Four students’ photos will be chosen to appear on SkillsUSA Champions covers next year. The remaining photos will appear in various materials, from the membership poster to other promotions. Our magazine staff looks forward to meeting your Champions at conference!   

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.

Lowe’s chose SkillsUSA to help with the effort because SkillsUSA membership is a critical link to success in the workplace — whether students plan to go to work after high school, earn a technical certificate, attend community college or a four-year university, or enter an apprenticeship program. SkillsUSA will work to attract more students into construction, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and appliance repair programs, focusing on students in these trade areas in five states.

Five SkillsUSA membership specialists began work last September to visit schools, hold workshops and plan special events to help change public perception of the skilled trades. They are sharing the critical demand for technical skills, promoting the opportunities available in trade careers and highlighting the value of career readiness skills.

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.

Lowe’s has asked us 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/.

Crisis Contact Information Needed

State SkillsUSA directors: We still need cellphone information for many state SkillsUSA directors and crisis teams for NLSC. Please email them ASAP to Jane Short at jshort@skillsusa.org. It is imperative we receive this information soon. 


Auction Returns to NLSC 

At each year’s National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), an auction committee conducts a fundraiser to help support the National Courtesy Corps. If you have unique items to donate, bring them with you to the conference and drop them off at the Courtesy Corps headquarters in the North Hall of the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) or the SkillsUSA Championships office trailer (just outside the East Wing behind MakerSpace at door E8). If you prefer, you may mail the items ahead of time to: David Worden, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176. If you have questions, please call 703–737-0611 or email dworden@skillsusa.org.

The auction is open to everyone so please attend and bid on anything that suits your fancy, Friday, June 28, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., in Room B105 of the KEC South Wing.

New Theme for 2019-20 Announced; Artwork Available

The SkillsUSA theme for the 2019-20 year is:

SkillsUSA: Champions at Work
I’m Ready

As you prepare summer conference materials and back to school packets, please consider using the theme and its artwork where appropriate. Because this year’s full theme is “SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, I’m Ready,” this new art should only be used in conjunction with the slogan art (SkillsUSA: Champions at Work). The new art for “I’m Ready” should be placed to the right or below the slogan art, and it should be no larger than the slogan art. This will help ensure the annual theme is interpreted correctly. Please do not use the new art by itself. It should be displayed only with the slogan art, and not with the main SkillsUSA logo or your state logo. Again, this will help ensure the full wording of the theme is conveyed. To download artwork, visit: www.skillsusa.net/directors/2019/05/28/new-theme-for-2019-20-announced-and-artwork-is-available/.

Use Your State Logo to Promote a Stronger Image

A reminder to state SkillsUSA directors: If you have any questions as you prepare national conference materials or logo wear for your state delegations, please contact Tom Hall, director of the Office of Communications, at thall@skillsusa.org.

Using SkillsUSA’s graphic identity consistently is a way to build public recognition. Please use your official state logo. All official state logos can be downloaded from the new SkillsUSA Brand Center at: www.skillsusabrandcenter.org. These state logos follow the graphic standard for adding type to the trademarked SkillsUSA logo.

It’s important to follow SkillsUSA’s graphic standards (listed at: www.skillsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/SkillsUSA-Graphic-Standards-18.pdf). For example, don’t add any extra type or art to your official state logo. Run your logo in only one color when it’s used against a color background.

At this time of year, we get questions about T-shirt designs for your state delegations. A common question is how to present the state logo correctly while having a unique design to show pride in your state. In such cases, keep your state logo apart from the new art; for example, put the logo on the front or sleeve while putting the state art on the back. Or, keep enough space between the logo and new art so that it’s clear they are two separate elements. Be as creative as you like with your new art. The name “SkillsUSA” can be spelled out in any typeface to match your design — just keep it one word. (Don’t try to match the typeface in the logo or use the type itself without the top “flag” part of the logo, which violates our graphic standards.)

Remember, these shirts probably will be worn in public after the conference is over, and by keeping a consistent graphic identity, they’re another opportunity to make SkillsUSA more recognized.  

Help Others by Donating Blood During NLSC

During our national conference, SkillsUSA will host a blood drive Thursday, June 27, from 8-a.m.-2 p.m. The drive is sponsored by the Kentucky Blood Center, and the bloodmobile will be parked outside the North Wing Lobby of the Kentucky Exposition Center.

To schedule an appointment in advance, call 800-775-2522. All blood donors receive a free T-shirt. Donors 18 and older will be entered into a summer drawing to win a Toyota Tacoma truck. Note: Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and must be at least 16 years of age with a signed parental permission (form is located here: www.skillsusa.net/directors/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/blood-drive-16-year-old-consent-form.pdf) or 17 years of age without parental permission. A state-licensed photo ID is required at the time of donation.

Your blood donation may be the only match for a patient’s unique need. Please donate so that when your specific type is needed, it will be ready to save a life. When you donate with Kentucky Blood Center, your blood serves patients in local hospitals. 

NLSC Information You’ll Need to Know 

How to Get Your Registration Materials/Parking
State SkillsUSA directors: If your registration appointment is on Saturday, June 22, please park in Lot A at the Gate 1 entrance to Kentucky Exposition Center, which is the closest available to the registration office. There is no charge for parking on Saturday and Sunday, which are conference “move-in” days. Beginning Tuesday, June 25, parking fees will be charged. State SkillsUSA directors will receive parking passes during their registration appointment. Additional parking information for the general public and for state- and school-chartered buses can be found at: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/national-leadership-and-skills-conference/registration-and-logistics/parking/. Please plan on bringing an extra person to registration to assist you in carrying your conference materials. 

Dress Code for Award Winners to Be Strictly Enforced
Photos of medalists and industry supporters are used in trade and SkillsUSA publications. It’s important that all members demonstrate their professionalism by looking the part. Therefore, the national board of directors has ruled that all contestants receiving medals at the Awards Ceremony must be dressed in official SkillsUSA attire or SkillsUSA Championships work clothing. 

Please leave behind any cameras, purses, hats, blinking lights, flags, glow sticks or any other conference regalia. If you bring these types of items to the stage, you will be asked to remove them and we cannot guarantee their return.

Download the Conference App and PDF of the NLSC Program
In keeping with these digital times, there will no longer be a separate printed conference program for the national conference in Louisville. All attendees should download the official conference mobile app. The app includes the entire conference program including contestant schedules, trade show information and exhibitor list, general session information, special events, entertainment, participant tracks, attendee bus shuttle schedules, messaging/alert features and search features. The app can be downloaded by searching “2019 SkillsUSA NLSC,” and the QR code will be in the printed Awards and Recognition book and on signs at Kentucky Exposition Center.

A condensed version of the NLSC program will be included in the printed Awards and Recognition book, available on site. There is also a PDF of this program now available on the SkillsUSA website.

SkillsUSA Championships Clothing and Tools App Updated

SkillsUSA has updated the “SkillsUSA: Clothing and Tools” app for the 2019 SkillsUSA Championships. For each contest, the app includes an overview, eligibility and clothing requirements, and safety guidelines. It also lists the tools, equipment or materials that contestants must provide. The app is free for students, instructors and SkillsUSA business partners and is available in both the Apple Store: http://apple.co/2dtlb8d and the Google Play Store: http://bit.ly/2e5fRec. The app was created and sponsored by Pearson (www.pearsoned.com).

Note: This student resource that does not replace the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards. The app connects users to SkillsUSA’s membership site, where educators must join as professional members to receive the full book at no charge. 

NLSC Courtesy Corps Members Needed

SkillsUSA needs more than 200 National Courtesy Corps (NCC) members for our national conference. The work of this group supports the contest technical committees and is deeply appreciated. This is a great opportunity for students to network with industry partners and experience the national conference.

NCC members receive free conference registration plus housing, local transportation, meals and entertainment. Each member is given several free shirts. All NCC participants are housed at the University of Louisville’s Community Park, about 15 minutes from the Kentucky Exposition Center.

NCC members are responsible for their own transportation to and from Louisville, Ky., and should arrive on Saturday, June 22, by 4 p.m. so they can start to work in the contest areas on Sunday, June 23. Departure is Saturday, June 29.

Advisors must supervise their participating students, and all members must abide by the code of conduct for the National Leadership and Skills Conference. SkillsUSA will provide individual schedules for students and advisors listing work assignments and breaks. There will be an advisors-only session to review student duties and responsibilities. SkillsUSA works to enhance the NCC experience each year.

Dorothy Loges from Missouri is the NCC chair. Questions can be directed to her at: Dorothy.loges@bisonpride.org. To register, go to: https://w3.smartreg.com/webreg/SKILLSUSA19/. 

State Pins Requested

For the national conference, SkillsUSA’s Alumni and Friends Executive Board requests 169 state lapel pins from each state association or territory. The pins will be used to create two full pin sets for each state association.

Additionally, nine sets will be given to the first-, second- and third-place middle school, high school and college/postsecondary medal winners of the national Pin Design (State Conference) competition. Six sets will be placed in the Friday auction.

Please drop off your pins at the Alumni Booth in the North Wing Lobby of the Kentucky Exposition Center by 10 a.m. on Monday, June 24. State pin sets must be signed for and picked up at the state association breakfast on Friday, June 28.

Awards Ceremony Passes Only Available in Advance and Online

Extra tickets for the awards ceremony on Friday, June 28, may only be purchased in advance and online this year. No passes will be sold on-site at the conference.

You must have a conference name badge or a ticket to enter the awards ceremony, and no on-site ticket sales will be available. Online sales begin June 3, but sign up now for a reminder alert. Tickets are $10 each, plus a service fee, and a credit card is required. Buyers can download their admission ticket onto smartphones or print out a paper ticket to show at the entrance to Freedom Hall. The number of awards ceremony tickets available is limited due to seating availability at Freedom Hall. Additionally, there are parking fees at the entrance of the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC). Alert your parents and other supporters of this new policy so they buy Awards Ceremony tickets in advance.

To sign up for alerts or buy Awards Ceremony tickets, go to: http://bit.ly/NLSC19Awards.

For information about KEC parking, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/national-leadership-and-skills-conference/registration-and-logistics/parking/.

SkillsUSA Shoe Drive Saves Lives Through Clean Water

Did you know that more than 685 million people lack access to clean drinking water? SkillsUSA is once again partnering with internationally recognized nonprofit WaterStep to help save lives through safe water. WaterStep collects and sells gently-used shoes to fund water projects around the world.

SkillsUSA encourages each student and advisor coming to Louisville to bring just one pair of shoes to conference to donate to this worthy cause. Let’s step up our global influence at the National Leadership and Skills Conference June 24-28 in Louisville and help eliminate unsafe drinking water. Please pass this request along to your delegation.

For more information about how donating your shoes saves lives, go to: www.waterstep.org. Watch this video to learn more about the WaterStep shoe program: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2035075745001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAB2oUxGjE~,utVw2c5hsy-toSRZ-5n964-ATUIy2fgD&bctid=4522271076001. 

NLSC Digital Media Kit, Winner Photos and Press Releases Coming

Want to know what is new at the National Leadership and Skills Conference or find conference statistics? The 2019 digital media kit is online. To download it, go to: http://bit.ly/NLSCPress.

Onstage and backstage photos of national medalists, with captions, will be posted after NLSC. These photos may be downloaded, printed, published and shared. If published, use “Photo courtesy of SkillsUSA” as the credit. Photos will be posted on or before July 15 here: http://bit.ly/NLSCPhotos.

For a list of winners by contest or state, along with contest scores, go to: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-championships/results/. For individual scores for contestants only, go to: www.skillsusa-register.org/rpts/EventScoreDetails.aspx.

Press releases specific to each specific trade or contest area are now available in the press room. Use these when publicizing your students’ participation as a competitor, delegate or National Courtesy Corps member at the NLSC. Download them at: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/national-leadership-and-skills-conference/press-kit/

By June 15, a new, editable sample press release will be added to SkillsUSA’s advocacy site. It’s a template to be used by state SkillsUSA directors, instructors, parents and others to help get the word out to the media about the students who competed or participated in some other way (e.g., as a delegate or National Courtesy Corps member) during the NLSC in Louisville. 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/. Please encourage your teachers, parents and others to use and spread the word about this valuable tool. 

NLSC Offers Two Entertainment Options for Attendees

Champions Night: Louisville Bats Game
On Wednesday, June 26, SkillsUSA Champions Night is moving to Louisville Slugger Field for a fun-filled night at the ballpark, where the Louisville Bats will take on the Toledo Mud Hens. There will be giveaways all evening, and SkillsUSA will be featured throughout the game.

Each paid attendee will receive an admission ticket with a $5 pre-loaded value to use at the gift shop or the concession stand, as well as a baseball hat. SkillsUSA attendees will have many opportunities to be involved in activities in between innings and to receive additional free items at random the entire night, including two free NASCAR tickets. Game time is at 7 p.m., and the event will be held rain or shine. Plan to arrive by 6:45 p.m. to hear SkillsUSA Vermont director Jane Donahue Davis sing the national anthem, and watch SkillsUSA New Hampshire director Josh Brunk officially start the evening’s activities. There will also be free gifts from select inning sponsors.

Shuttle bus transportation to the stadium will begin approximately 5:30 p.m. and run until the close of the event. There will be no shuttle service available from all downtown hotels, since the event is within walking distance. Game tickets will be distributed to state SkillsUSA directors during scheduled registration appointments.

A SkillsUSA logo shirt, appropriate attire and the official conference name badge are required to enter. A donation of $1 is being asked of attendees at the entrance. This donation will be used to offset the cost of the new Champions Circle Amphitheater at the National Leadership Center in Leesburg, Va.

SkillsUSA Night Returns to Kentucky Kingdom
On Thursday, June 27, from 6 p.m.-10 p.m., join your SkillsUSA friends and colleagues at Kentucky Kingdom. Fun is required at this traditional night following the SkillsUSA Championships. The park is open only to SkillsUSA attendees.

Tickets for registered participants will be distributed by the state SkillsUSA director at each state’s delegation orientation meeting. Additional tickets will be on sale in the Kentucky Exposition Center’s North Wing Lobby for $20. Transportation is provided from state hotels through the close of the event. A SkillsUSA logo shirt, appropriate attire and the official conference name badge are required for admittance. A $1 donation at admission will support Feed Thy Neighbor, a Louisville program to help the homeless.

‘Meet the Employer’ Sponsored by Magna International

SkillsUSA will be conducting a Meet the Employer event for SkillsUSA students at the National Leadership and Skills Conference on Friday, June 28, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All student members, regardless of graduation date and curriculum, are encouraged to attend and bring résumés. We anticipate over 50 employers will staff booths in the East Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center. The first companies to sign up are Magna International, 3M, CBRE (commercial real estate services), Centuri Construction, Ferguson, IAA, NASSCO, Spirit AeroSystems, Textron Aviation and Nissan. Meet the Employer will include career development seminars for attendees.

A flier about Meet the Employer can be downloaded and shared with your students who are coming to Louisville in June: http://MeettheEmployer.skillsusa.org. 

Prepare Delegates to Vote on New Constitutional Amendments 

New constitutional amendments will be presented to the high school, middle school and college/postsecondary House of Delegates during the National Leadership and Skills Conference in June.

If you have delegates representing your state at the National Leadership and Skills Conference, please ensure they arrive with a strong familiarity with the motions that will be discussed during their business meetings. To see them, go to: http://bit.ly/2019Amendments

To assist with preparing your delegates to vote on these motions, training videos will be posted in the near future on the SkillsUSA delegate sessions webpage at: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/national-leadership-and-skills-conference/delegate-sessions/

If you have questions, contact Kim Hegedus at khegedus@skillsusa.org.

Due Dates

June 1: National officer applications due
June 1: National Leadership and Skills Conference crisis contact information due
June 7: GAERF 2019 Student Design Competition entry deadline

National Staff Travel

June 4-6: Birmingham, Ala./Alabama Adult Education Conference/
Gene Dudley
June 6: Brandenburg, Ky./Advisor Training/Courtney Ferrell
June 22-24: Louisville, Ky./Activate, Leverage and Engage Training/SkillsUSA
June 24-28: Louisville, Ky./National Leadership and Skills Conference/
SkillsUSA staff
June 26-July 2: Carrollton, Ky./Post-election National Officer Training/
Courtney Ferrell

July 23-28: Dulles, Va./Summer National Officer Training/Courtney Ferrell