Executive Update: March 16, 2020

Executive Update: March 16, 2020

Latest Public Message on SkillsUSA’s Coronavirus Response From Executive Director Chelle Travis

The following is SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis’ current public statement regarding SkillsUSA’s response to the coronavirus, as posted on our website on March 14. As the situation changes, this message will be updated. You can find the most recent messages at this link: www.skillsusa.org/message-from-the-executive-director-regarding-skillsusas-response-to-coronavirus-concerns.

Dear SkillsUSA students and stakeholders,

As promised when we first began posting these messages related to SkillsUSA’s national response to the COVID-19 crisis, I’m writing to give you an update on where we currently stand. Much has changed in our nation since our first message was posted on March 6, and SkillsUSA is moving quickly to institute many of the plans we’ve been preparing over the last several weeks so that our response is in line with those changes.

First, as always, please know that the health and wellbeing of our students and stakeholders is our steadfast and primary concern, and that will always be the foundation of every decision we make as an organization.

As a result of the many questions we’ve been receiving at the national office regarding events and conferences at the state level, I wanted to clarify how our national office operates for those who might be unaware. SkillsUSA’s national office provides guidance and support to our state associations, but we do not have the authority to issue directives ordering them to cancel, postpone or alter their state events. Those are decisions that must ultimately come from each state’s leadership team.

That said, in a message communicated to all of our state association directors this week, we have recommended that all state SkillsUSA events be postponed or potentially restructured into “virtual” events. You should be hearing announcements very soon — if they’re not out already — of the current situation in your state.

For those of you concerned about state events, we strongly encourage you to check your state’s website and social media often for the most updated and relevant state-level information.

SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) is scheduled for late June, and that — like all national SkillsUSA events — is one we have the full authority to postpone or alter at our discretion. While a decision on the status of the NLSC has not yet been determined, we are making the same efforts we’re asking of our states for their events: looking into postponement dates, planning for what a “virtual” conference might look like and more.

One thing is certain: We will not be holding any event that would put our students and their communities in danger, and I’m confident that our state leaders feel the same way. SkillsUSA plans to make an official announcement on the status of our NLSC by the week of April 13.

In the meantime, SkillsUSA is continuing to assimilate the most current data available from the CDC and World Health Organization, communicate with leaders of other student organizations, remain in close contact with state officials, prepare varied resources for our state associations to help them navigate this crisis and much more.

This is a unique, challenging, ever-evolving situation for all of us, but I can assure you that we are doing our absolute best to make the right decisions for our members.

If you are one of those members, we want to encourage you that this stressful, unsettling time can also be viewed as a rare opportunity to let those personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics — the components of our SkillsUSA Framework — shine bright. It’s time for all of us to be leaders not just in theory, but in practice; encourage each other, support each other, serve your communities, and find ways to remain productive and positive throughout this crisis. We’re all in this together. We’ll all get through this together.

Thank you for your continued support,

Chelle Travis
Executive Director

Update on the National Leadership and Skills Conference

As referenced above in the public statement from executive director Chelle Travis, the status of the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) is, as of this writing, still undetermined. The national office is working diligently to gather the most updated and relevant information available to help us make the best decision possible on the NLSC’s date and structure. That decision will be made with the health and wellbeing of our students and stakeholders as our primary concern, and it will be shared no later than the week of April 13.

Update on SkillsUSA National Signing Day 

With the ongoing health crisis, SkillsUSA is analyzing potential alternate plans for National Signing Day, currently scheduled for May 8. While a final decision has yet to be made on the event’s status, we are exploring — among other options — the possibility of a virtual event. As with all of our upcoming national events, we will make our final decision based on the most updated and relevant information available and with the health and safety of our members as our primary concern. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon.

New Issue of SkillsUSA Champions: Tough Calls and Integrity

SkillsUSA advisors have received the spring print edition of SkillsUSA Champions. Please direct students to the digital edition of the magazine on the SkillsUSA website or through this direct link: https://tinyurl.com/champions-spring2020.

Along with news and motivational content, the digital edition includes related videos, direct links to external resources and other dynamic material.

The spring issue focuses on leaders at every level. National officer Melissa Moreno shares her story of overcoming cyberbullying, a Texas student takes goes through a harrowing experience while trying to make it to his first district event, and a young California entrepreneur makes a buzz with a beekeeping business. Also, teacher Nick Jordan shares how he built a construction trades program to lift up students while following in his father’s footsteps. In addition to stories about members from many states, there is a teacher’s lesson plan posted alongside the homepage link to the digital edition, which can be found here: https://www.skillsusa.org/publications-news/skillsusa-champions-magazine/. 

New Chapter Resource Grant Sponsored by Lowe’s 

State SkillsUSA directors: Lowe’s wants to ensure that new SkillsUSA chapters are ready to excel by providing a $1,000 grant for educational resources. Only chapters started in the past two school years (2018-19 or 2019-20) are eligible. The first 100 chapters that apply and qualify for the grant will receive chapter resources including 25 separate products. The application deadline is April 15, with grant selection in late April. All resources will be shipped to recipients by the middle of May. To apply and see the list of resources, go to: www.skillsusa.org/new-chapter-resource-grant-sponsored-by-lowes/.

­SkillsUSA Job Opening for Program Director of Conference Management Services

 SkillsUSA has a job opening in the Office of Education for a program director of conference management services at the national headquarters. Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter to Missy Wilson at mwilson@skillsusa.org by March 25. For more, including a download of the full job description, go to: www.skillsusa.org/category/careers/.

Keep Up with Scholarships

Scholarship opportunities are an important benefit of SkillsUSA membership. Students must be active, dues-paid SkillsUSA members to be eligible for a scholarship through SkillsUSA or its partners. Scholarships are offered in several areas. Some are based on merit, others are related to financial need, and many are presented to the medalists of SkillsUSA Championships at the state and national levels. Current opportunities include:

National Technical Honor Society Scholarships
SkillsUSA in conjunction with the National Technical Honor Society will be awarding four $1,000 scholarships to SkillsUSA members who are also members of NTHS. Deadline for applications is April 1. For more information and to apply: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/scholarships-financial-aid/national-technical-honor-society/.

Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Scholarship (for high school seniors only)
Through a donation from the Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Fund, SkillsUSA and the McMinn County Vocational Center SkillsUSA Alumni Association are offering a $500 scholarship to a high school SkillsUSA student in memory of Sharon Melton Myers. The deadline for applications is April 15. To apply, go to: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/sharon-melton-myers-memorial-scholarship/.

#KeepCraftAlive Scholarship
Fine Homebuilding will be awarding at least twelve $2,500 scholarship awards to SkillsUSA high school or college/postsecondary students who will continue their education or certification in construction-related fields, including architectural drafting, carpentry, cabinetmaking, electrical and residential wiring, HVACR, masonry, woodworking and plumbing. Application deadline is April 17. To apply, go to: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/mo8vxup0ox6snb/.

For these and other scholarship opportunities, go to:

Opportunities with Deadlines Approaching Soon 

Earn Recognition for Service Through Presidential Honors
At national conference, SkillsUSA will recognize individuals or chapters with the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). This presidential honor is an award that recognizes the valuable contributions of volunteers across the country who are answering a national call to serve others through their current activities or lifetime efforts. Applications must be received by March 31 for recognition at the 2020 NLSC. For details on qualifying hours and requirements, visit: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/awards/presidents-volunteer-service-award.

Gain National Attention for Student Mentoring
The Student2Student mentoring award recognizes SkillsUSA chapters that are involved in a mentoring program in their communities. When a SkillsUSA chapter mentors an elementary- or middle-school classroom, it helps younger students imagine careers and helps older students practice their skills. To enter, submit your mentoring project plan, description and outcomes. All entries must be submitted by April 1. For more information, visit: https://www.skillsusa.org/programs/mentoring-student2student/.

For questions, contact Gayle Silvey at gsilvey@skillsusa.org. 

Calling All Demand-Side Success Stories

Teachers, has your CTE program filled a need for a local employer or business? Was the need filled by providing student interns or apprentices? Was it filled by ensuring that the company gained access to a solid pipeline of new talent? We want to capture those stories to help demonstrate how SkillsUSA and CTE are rising to meet the demands of business and industry in solving their workforce challenges.

If you’ve got a story to share, we’d love to interview you and your business partners to learn about the challenge that the business faced, the solution applied through the industry/education partnership, and the outcome and benefit of the partnership for the company.

To help get us your story, complete the short information form at https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/demand-side-innovationssuccess-stories/ so that we can get in touch with you for an interview. You could receive $100 in SkillsUSA merchandise and educational resources for your time and story lead.

2020 ‘Spark Something Great’ Grant 

Hypertherm is offering tools and equipment to SkillsUSA schools with metal fabrication programs. Applications are reviewed based on the school’s commitment to metal fabrication education, program need, number of students who complete the program each year, instructor plans for system use and a student testimonial. Hypertherm will award 12 schools with tools, curriculum and training. Submissions are due April 1, and awards will be announced by May 1. For details, go to: www.hypertherm.com/grant.

Due Dates

March 31: President’s Volunteer Service Award applications due
April 1: Hypertherm Grant submissions due
April 1: Student2Student entries due
April 1: Advisor of the Year submissions due
April 1: National Technical Honor Society applications due
April 3: Pioneer of Excellence Alumni Award applications due
April 3: Outstanding Alumni and Friends Achievement Award applications due
April 3: Early bird registration deadline for National Signing Day
April 15: Sharon Melton Myers Memorial Scholarship applications due
April 17: #KeepCraftAlive Scholarship applications due
April 24: Registration deadline for National Signing Day
May 6: Student Leadership Scholarships for Activate and Leverage application deadline
June 1: National Officer Candidate applications due