Executive Update: June 15, 2020

Executive Update: June 15, 2020

Important Dates
June 26: NLSC 2020 Virtual Recognition Sessions at 3, 5, and 7 p.m. EDT

Follow-Up to SkillsUSA’s Official Statement From SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis on Our Commitment to Our Members

Dear SkillsUSA members and supporters,

On June 4, I delivered an official statement reflecting SkillsUSA’s position on longstanding racial inequities and injustice in our country. Words alone, however, quickly ring hollow without specific, measurable actions to support them. With that in mind, I want to share some of the specific actions SkillsUSA has already taken related to our commitment to inclusion and diversity, along with some of the actions we’re currently preparing to take.

  • Multicultural Sensitivity and Awareness is one of the 17 Essential Elements that make up the SkillsUSA Framework. As part of the revision of our Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) curriculum last fall, it was determined that Multicultural Sensitivity and Awareness would be one of the three Essential Elements addressed as part of WLTI’s week of intense leadership training. The revised curriculum will launch during this year’s event.
  • Training modules that directly address Multicultural Sensitivity and Awareness are implemented within our Career Essentials online curricula. Some of the competencies covered are “Demonstrate awareness of issues important to different cultures,” “Demonstrate a willingness to learn about the perspectives of others,” “Proactively address potential sources of cultural conflict” and many more.
  • SkillsUSA recently commissioned a research project designed to help us address gaps and next steps in creating innovative student programming in the area of Multicultural Sensitivity and Awareness. Those results will help shape the next generation of SkillsUSA programming.
  • We are forming an advisory committee — made up of a diverse group of SkillsUSA alumni — to ensure that we address Multicultural Sensitivity and Awareness within all our programs.
  • We are working right now to develop a holistic and comprehensive organizational plan designed to strengthen and better reflect our commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality. The first stage of that development will incorporate facilitated discussions with our board, staff, students, alumni, partners, instructors and state directors. Further steps will involve reexamining and revising our internal strategic planning, program review process, organizational policies, professional development opportunities and more.
  • We are reexamining our board structure and hiring practices to ensure that our organization better reflects the diversity of the membership we serve.
  • We are taking more aggressive action to develop and sustain SkillsUSA membership and its associated experiences in communities of color through developing programs like SkillsUSA Works.
  • We are currently engaging with a national organization that focuses on addressing equity issues in education. This relationship is in the early stages, but it is our intention for this relationship to lead to transformative, far-reaching action. We’ll report on more specific details as they develop.

The impetus for these and other actions to come springs from one source: the understanding that we can, must and WILL do better. As always, I welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions as we commit ourselves to creating an organization where every member feels equally valued, appreciated, respected and heard. In the meantime, SkillsUSA will continue to add its voice to the declaration of acknowledgement spreading across our country that Black Lives Matter, and I assure you that our actions will ultimately speak louder than our words.

Chelle Travis
Executive Director

Staff Updates at the National Leadership Center

We are delighted to welcome Joey Baker to the national staff as a program manager for Student Leadership Initiatives. Joey brings a wealth of experience in program and student leadership development, state association/nonprofit management and teacher professional development. Through Joey’s previous roles as a local, district and state officer, regional coordinator and SkillsUSA Missouri state director, he understands the value SkillsUSA’s programs provide to our stakeholders. He will lead several Office of Education initiatives: the high school national officer program, the Washington Leadership Training Institute for state officers, State Standards of Excellence and the Chapter Excellence Program. Joey has a master’s degree in Career and Technical Education Administration Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Community Leadership. Joey will reside in Florida and will perform his duties remotely. 

Workforce Education at the 10,000 Feet and 1-Foot Levels

Retired SkillsUSA executive director Timothy Lawrence has written a reflection essay about his career in workforce development and the power of programs like SkillsUSA in changing lives, no matter what the age of the student. Read it here: www.skillsusa.org/workforce-education-at-the-10000-feet-and-1-foot-levels/. 

SkillsUSA Members Receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award 

SkillsUSA members from 13 states have been recognized for their outstanding community service this year. SkillsUSA, as an official certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA), recognized the members for individual or team service efforts. PVSA is a national honor issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation on behalf of the President of the United States. The award recognizes the best in the American spirit and encourages all Americans to improve their communities through volunteer service and civic participation. Gold, silver and bronze awards are based on the number of documented volunteer hours served over 12 consecutive months. Recipients receive a lapel pin, personalized certificate of achievement, and a congratulatory letter from the president. A total of 18,083 service hours were performed by the SkillsUSA members who qualified to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2020.

For more information about SkillsUSA’s involvement in this program, plus details about requirements and the application process, visit: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/awards/presidents-volunteer-service-award/.

Got Champions?

Usually at this time of year, SkillsUSA Champions magazine staff looks forward to interviewing members at our national conference for upcoming editions of the magazine. As a result of the pandemic, that won’t be possible this year, but you can help make sure we continue to spread the inspirational stories of our members.

If you know of a SkillsUSA student, advisor, industry representative or alumnus whose story would be motivating and inspirational, please let us know by emailing director of communications Tom Kercheval at tkercheval@skillsusa.org. 

NLSC Virtual Recognition Session 

Join us virtually on June 26, 2020, for the NLSC Virtual Recognition Session. This year’s session will give us an opportunity to be apart together” while we recognize key supporters and leaders in SkillsUSA. We will host three 30-minute segments at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT, during which we will recognize our Pin and T-shirt Design Challenge winners and present awards for Advisor of the Year, Honorary Life, Outstanding Educator, President’s Volunteer Service Award, Student2Student, Alumni and announce the Models of Excellence winners. We will also meet some of our sponsors and hear a retiring address from Jarod Harris, SkillsUSA’s national high school parliamentarian. Finally, we will announce the 2020-21 SkillsUSA national officer team. Look for a schedule and more information soon about how to participate and watch. 

Virtually Meet the National Officer Candidates

With this year’s delegate and candidate events being held in a virtual environment, national officer campaigning will look/feel very different this year. SkillsUSA has created a portal to share resources, event details and information about each national officer candidate.

We welcome everyone — including advisors, state SkillsUSA directors, students, parents and others — to create an account on the portal and meet our national officer candidates. Here is how to create an account:

  1. Go to SkillsUSACONNECT.org.
  2. Complete the registration form.
  3. Choose your role (i.e., student, advisor, state director, other, etc.)
  4. Complete your profile.

Once on the portal:

  • Navigate to Events/Student Delegates for delegate business session details.
  • Delegates should navigate to Resources to download a checklist for the ‘Meet the Candidate’ sessions.
  • Navigate to Member/Candidate Search to view national officer candidate information within each candidate’s profile.

Check back often on the portal for announcements, new information and reminders to help guide you through this year’s events.

In addition to the portal information for each candidate, online campaigning will be allowed from June 15-24 (at the close of voting). Starting June 15, the National Officer Candidate Information section of each candidate’s profile will include social media links for the candidates.

National voting delegates and candidates should use the hashtags #SkillsUSA2020Candidate and #SkillsUSA2020Delegate on social media to ensure the broadest reach for virtual campaigning.

Not sure how to “follow” a hashtag? Within a social media platform’s search bar, type #SkillsUSA2020Candidate and/or #SkillsUSA2020Delegate. Click on the hashtag you desire. All the posts using that hashtag will display. You can read the posts, follow the hashtag, follow others, comment, etc. You can also click on each hashtag directly on posts from SkillsUSA, candidates or delegates to take you to the “trend” of that specific hashtag.

Schedule for 2020 Virtual Delegate Business Sessions:

Tuesday, June 23 – C/PS – Zoom – beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT

  • Delegate Business Session.
  • Meet the Candidate.
  • Voting (via online system).

Wednesday, June 24 – HS – Zoom – beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT

  • Delegate Business Session.
  • Meet the Candidate.
  • Voting (via online system).

State SkillsUSA directors will receive the codes for each national voting delegate to use during each online voting event from Kim Hegedus.

No new business will be brought forward during the delegate sessions. If you have an issue to be reviewed, please email Kim Hegedus at khegedus@skillsusa.org. For the most up-to-date information on delegate events, visit: www.SkillsUSACONNECT.org.  

SkillsUSA Seeks “Essential Skills” Stories  

SkillsUSA is pulling together stories to highlight those chapters donating personal protective equipment (PPE) or using their essential skills during the current pandemic. We will share these in our publications and on social media.

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. 

Essential SkillsUSA Collection from the SkillsUSA Store 

The SkillsUSA Store is working to help showcase the essential nature of SkillsUSA as an organization that helps train our essential workers with essential skills. Members, advisors, educators and alumni alike should have the utmost pride in their work and should have every opportunity to outwardly express that pride. This summer, the SkillsUSA Store is introducing a limited collection of “Essential Skills Essential Workers” products, with new options rolling out each week. Follow the @SkillsUSAStore Instagram page for new product alerts and check out the store homepage each week to see what’s new!

Free E-Learning Resources from Klein Tools 

SkillsUSA’s partner, Klein Tools, is providing new content for e-learning. They have developed a Tools 101 video for instructors and student on tool selection and maintenance. The videos are broken down into four segments.

To access the videos, you will be asked to complete a short form and then be directed to the content: www.surveymonkey.com/r/Tools101_2020. 

“SkillsUSA Grad Night 2020” Archived Video Available 

It was an exciting moment for the SkillsUSA family on Wednesday, May 27, when we held a virtual celebration to highlight all of SkillsUSA’s 2020 graduates. If you missed the live event — it’s not too late! You can view the archived version on our YouTube or Facebook page and celebrate the success of our SkillsUSA members.

Hosted by four SkillsUSA national officers, the 30-minute online event featured music, messages of inspiration and a keynote address from Snap-on Incorporated Chairman and CEO Nick Pinchuk. Also speaking were SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis and SkillsUSA Board of Directors President Jennifer Worth.

Pinchuk spoke about SkillsUSA and the need for essential skills and essential workers now more than ever: “You see, the capabilities you learn at SkillsUSA are those that are needed to support our country in the turbulence. Now eventually, hopefully soon, the skies will clear and the virus will go away, and we’ll return to our normal life. And historians at that time will start documenting this, period and when they do, they will write about the contributions of the workers and their skills and how they delivered us and kept us afloat in the flood. They will write about you and SkillsUSA. This is your time.”

If you missed this great speech and uplifting messages, the links are below. Feel free to share these links with students and stakeholders:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SkillsUSA/videos/705104440250268/.