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Executive Update: May 1, 2020

Executive Update: May 1, 2020

Important Dates
May 27: SkillsUSA Grad Night and SkillsUSA Grad After-Party

SkillsUSA Membership Sets Records Again

SkillsUSA had another record-breaking membership year! As of April 15, our total combined paid professional and student membership is 372,655. That’s an increase of 6,128 members compared to last year’s total of 366,527 (not including alumni or honorary life members).

This year’s total membership, including alumni and honorary life members, is 434,141, showing an overall increase of 6,709 when compared to last year’s overall membership of 427,432.

Congratulations to the following states who exceeded their membership for last year:

  • Alabama high school, state association director Bryan Upton
  • Alabama college/postsecondary, state association director Keith Andrews
  • Arizona, state association director Michelle Martinez
  • California, state association director Clay Mitchell
  • Colorado, state association director Miki Gann
  • Connecticut, state association director Heidi Griffen
  • Florida, state association director Jessica Donelan Graber
  • Georgia college/postsecondary, state association director Tjazha Mazhani
  • Iowa, state association director Teresa Mankin
  • Louisiana high school, state association director Larry Rabalais
  • Louisiana college/postsecondary, state association director Damian Glover
  • Maine, state association director Hal Casey
  • Massachusetts, state association director Karen Ward
  • Michigan, state association director Tammy Brown
  • Mississippi, state association director Shanta Villanueva
  • Montana, state association director Cassie Huntly
  • Nevada, state association director Sindie Read
  • New Hampshire, state association director Josh Brunk
  • New Jersey, state association director Pete Carey
  • New Mexico, state association director Natalie Donnelly
  • New York college/postsecondary, state association director Craig Clark
  • North Carolina, state association director Paul Heidepriem
  • Ohio, state association director Jackie Walker
  • Oklahoma, state association director Darren Gibson
  • Oregon, state association director Kaycie Quinonez
  • Puerto Rico, state association director Victor Nieves
  • South Carolina, state association director Rick Kalk
  • Texas high school, state association director Janet Conner
  • Texas college/postsecondary, state association director Crystal Latham-Alford
  • Utah, state association director Richard Wittwer
  • Virgin Islands, state association director Anton Doos
  • Washington high school, state association director Terri Lufkin
  • West Virginia, state association director Melissa Wilkinson
  • Wisconsin college/postsecondary, state association director Tom Wozniak
  • Wyoming, state association director Janie Wilcox

Staff Updates at the National Leadership Center

We are delighted to welcome Tyler Chaffin, new program specialist for student initiatives, to the national staff. Tyler has a strong background in student leadership development, programming and conference management. Through his previous roles in SkillsUSA as a local, regional and state officer and state and national facilitator, Tyler understands the value SkillsUSA brings to our stakeholders. He has worked with multiple state associations, leading their state officer program initiatives, programming and conference logistics. Tyler holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports, Entertainment and Event Management with a specialization in Event Management. He resides in Florida and will perform his duties remotely.

Gene Dudley, SkillsUSA senior regional manager for SkillsUSA in Region 2, is retiring. Gene has worked to strengthen relationships between the state-level educators, business and industry and the state SkillsUSA directors. Enjoying a long history of service with SkillsUSA and career and technical education, he began as an industrial electronics and IT instructor at both the high school and college/postsecondary levels and rose to become the director of career and technical education for the Alabama Community College System. He was also a local and district officer while in high school and served as the SkillsUSA Alabama state director. If you would like to send Gene a note, you can do so at gdudley@skillsusa.org through June 1.

Hats Off to SkillsUSA Grads!

Join fellow SkillsUSA graduates, their families and their supporters as we celebrate “SkillsUSA Grad Night 2020” on Wednesday, May 27. The 30-minute virtual event will stream live on Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms at 7 p.m. EDT. Hosted by four of our talented national officers, it will feature music, messages of inspiration, remarks from SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis, a keynote address from Snap-on Inc. CEO Nick Pinchuk and more. Immediately following the event will be the “SkillsUSA Grad Night 2020 After-Party,” streaming live on SkillsUSA’s Instagram channel. Also hosted by SkillsUSA national officers, this informal event will allow our members to communicate and commiserate with each other. It will also feature the debut of SkillsUSA’s new set of Instagram stickers along with giveaways from the SkillsUSA Store. Watch for more details and links soon on all SkillsUSA social media channels coming very soon.

SkillsUSA Shoutouts Wanted

The SkillsUSA staff is working on virtual events to be held in May and June to celebrate our 2020 graduates and national honorees. We are seeking short video submissions to potentially incorporate into one or more of these events (or to simply share online) from our state SkillsUSA directors, state officer teams, national board of directors, and any members, teachers, parents or industry partners who would like to participate. These messages can be funny, serious, motivational or whatever you prefer, and they should be no longer than 10-15 seconds. A few sample messages for the shoutouts are listed below to get your creative wheels turning:

  • “Congratulations to our 2019-20 State Officer Team!”
  • “Congratulations to all of my graduating SkillsUSA students!”
  • “I want to wish all graduates of any SkillsUSA program in 2020 the best success. You have earned your honors and we all support you and celebrate with you”
  • “Congrats to all of the local, regional and state SkillsUSA champions named this year. Keep striving!”
  • “I want to send a message to all SkillsUSA members that the second half of this school year hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t been normal, it hasn’t been fun. . . . but you have adapted, you stayed motivated and, ultimately, you have succeeded. Let’s remember what we each learned from this time and hold onto the new connections we have made.”

To submit your videos, please use this online form: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/skillsusa-grad-night-video-shout-outs/. Please submit videos by May 15.

If you have any questions, please contact Hayley Uffelman at  huffelman@skillsusa.org.

Got Champions?

SkillsUSA is excited to announce the new SkillsUSA Champions digital hub, launching May 1 at www.skillsusachampions.org! SkillsUSA created this new digital version of SkillsUSA Champions in response to member requests for more content more often, and that’s exactly what this site will provide. Look for more inspiring features, more relevant and timely news items and a user-friendly design that lets you easily share anything you deem share-worthy.

There’s also a “Submit a Story” link at the top of every page, so if you have a story idea you think is worth sharing, please submit it for SkillsUSA’s communications staff to review. Rather than looking at the site as a traditional “issue” of the magazine, look at it as an ever-expanding resource of inspirational, real-world examples of the SkillsUSA mission in action. The hope is that when someone asks you what effect SkillsUSA can have on a life, you can point them to the new site and just say, “Pick a story. Any story.”

As for the print edition of the magazine, SkillsUSA Champions will now be published in print format twice per school year: once in the fall and once in the spring. The fall printed issue will debut design changes to the magazine’s look and layout.

New Social Media Frames Highlight Chapter Excellence  

To give our SkillsUSA Chapter Excellence Program winners a new opportunity to be recognized, SkillsUSA has created editable photo frames for use on social media. These frames can also be combined with your own photo to create a beautiful keepsake or plaque for the chapter. State SkillsUSA directors will find the frames in their SkillsUSA Social Media Toolkit, by going to: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1jY8mgpv-lawbKR4um86fx6rOyEKXWk-O, or by contacting social media specialist Hayley Uffelman at huffelman@skillsusa.org.

Gifts for Graduates from the SkillsUSA Store

Commemorate the year and honor the hard work of your graduating seniors with a special gift from the SkillsUSA Store. The Class of 2020 has overcome difficult hurdles this year, and though they will miss out on some traditional forms of recognition, they deserve to be recognized and honored for their achievements. Make them feel like the champions they are with a thoughtful gift to celebrate their time with SkillsUSA. Explore this specially curated collection of store favorites for some memorable ideas. See the collection here: https://tinyurl.com/ya7of8q3 

Alumni Launch New Growth Plans

SkillsUSA staff, the SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends association and the SkillsUSA Alumni Task Force have announced new plans to build greater alumni engagement at the local level. A new strategic plan was developed by the task force and approved by the SkillsUSA board of directors in December.

The complete revamp of the alumni organization positions alumni to best serve all former members by simplifying the connection of alumni to local chapters. Moving forward, SkillsUSA will build a new structure for local chapters, increase state and national engagement through the development of test pilot chapters, create resources to engage local alumni, develop tool kits to assist alumni in supporting local competitions and develop resources to help alumni foster more workplace learning experiences.

Watch for new programs and future leadership opportunities in which alumni can take part in this exciting new direction. Outgoing executive chair Jim Rhodes thanked all alumni as the executive board wraps up its work and said, “I want to personally join SkillsUSA in thanking each of you for your past involvement and efforts, and I encourage you to stay involved going forward. I hope you share my excitement for the bold new future for SkillsUSA’s alumni.” 

National Officer Candidate Application Deadline is Approaching

Do you have amazing students who would love to be national ambassadors for SkillsUSA next school year? Being a national officer is an incredible opportunity for personal and professional development, travel and more. The 2020 SkillsUSA national officer candidate application and national officer program guide are available here: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/students/national-officer-selection-process/.

National officer candidates must have earned the Career Essentials: Experiences, Fundamental Micro-Credential, or the Advanced or Adult Learner Credential, prior to applying (depending upon their age). The Fundamental course (ages 14-16), Advanced course (ages 17-19) and Adult Learner course (ages 20+) and additional information are available at: www.careeressentials.org/implement/experiences/.

The deadline for national officer applications is June 1 by 6 p.m. EDT. For questions, contact Kim Hegedus at khegedus@skillsusa.org or 317-544-8750. 

Apply Now for SkillsUSA Scholarships

Scholarship opportunities are an important benefit of SkillsUSA membership. Students must be active, dues-paid SkillsUSA members to be eligible for any scholarship provided by SkillsUSA or its partners. Some scholarships are based on merit while others are for financial need. Current opportunities include:

  • Rees Scholarship Foundation
    The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, an Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute Charitable Foundation, in partnership with SkillsUSA, is offering eight one-time, merit-based $2,500 scholarships to SkillsUSA students who are currently enrolled in a HVACR or a general construction program and who will be pursuing college/postsecondary career training in the HVACR industry. The scholarship will provide tuition support in the 2021-22 school year.Applications must be submitted by May 15. Recipients will be informed on June 1.
  • #KeepCraftAlive Scholarship
    Fine Homebuilding will award a minimum of twelve $2,500 scholarships to students in fields such as architectural drafting, carpentry, cabinetmaking, electrical and residential wiring, HVACR, masonry, woodworking and plumbing. Selections will be based on completion of an application, along with a 300-word essay showing applicants’ passion for their craft and a letter of support from a teacher, administrator, SkillsUSA advisor or educational/professional mentor.Application deadline has been extended to Friday, May 29 at midnight EDT. To apply, go to: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/mo8vxup0ox6snb/.

Award Program Deadlines Approaching

  • Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence
    The 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence is accepting applications until May 13. In 2019, the prize recognized 12 SkillsUSA instructors as winners. During this challenging time for educators, the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools team hopes to share good news and spotlight hardworking and passionate skilled trades teachers. Learn more and apply at hftforschoolsprize.org.
  • Advisor of the Year
    The SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year program recognizes professional members who actualize the organization’s mission of empowering students to become world-class workers, leaders, and responsible American citizens. A SkillsUSA chapter is only successful with the support of an advisor who has dedicated themselves to career and technical education by intentionally integrating the SkillsUSA Framework and ensuring students can articulate the skills they have developed. The deadline to submit state-level recipients is May 15. For questions, contact Taryn Zeigler at tzeigler@skillsusa.org.
  • 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. With SkillsUSA’s focus on community service, many advisors and students have already met the requirements to receive the award. To qualify, SkillsUSA members, advisors or alumni must submit a record of service hours. Applications must be received by May 15.For qualifying hours and requirements, visit: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/awards/presidents-volunteer-service-award. For questions, contact Tyler Chaffin at tchaffin@skillsusa.org.
  • Showcase Your Mentoring Program
    Student2Student recognizes SkillsUSA chapters that carry out a mentoring program in their communities. To enter, submit your mentoring project plan, description and outcomes. All entries must be submitted by May 15. To download a mentoring guide, see last year’s winning project or complete your application, visit: www.skillsusa.org/programs/mentoring-student2student/. For questions, contact Tyler Chaffin at tchaffin@skillsusa.org. 

Complimentary Access to SkillsUSA Career Essentials Available

The current pandemic has forced local administrators and teachers to quickly move their courses to virtual/online environments. Thanks to several SkillsUSA partners, SkillsUSA is now providing free access to the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite. Up to 40,000 bundles will be provided by SkillsUSA thanks to these partners who want to support online learning.

SkillsUSA partners who joined in the effort to date include CHANNELLOCK, Distribution Contractors Association (DCA), Ferguson Enterprises Inc., Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, Lowe’s Companies, Pella Corporation and Volvo Construction Equipment.

SkillsUSA Career Essentials is an online career-readiness resource for students built to engage learners in defining, implementing and measuring their personal skills, workplace skills and technical skills grounded in academics. The curricula is for middle school, high school, college/postsecondary or adult learners and each curriculum bundle is valued at $25 to $65.

To sign up to receive the complimentary curriculum, go to: www.skillsusa.org/complimentary-access-skillsusa-career-essentials/. For questions, please contact careeressentials@skillsusa.org. To participate in a one-hour overview of the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite resources, sign up using the online registration form.

If you would like to become a Career Essentials certified teacher, please register for this four-hour professional development here.

ACTE Offers Support for Online Instruction

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) also recognizes the dramatic impact that coronavirus is having on instructional efforts. They have announced through their online portal, CTE Learn, along with their partner at MaxKnowledge, that they are extending an offer to register for free courses through May 31. The following courses can be accessed at no charge through May 31:

  • EL102 Online Teaching Techniques
  • EL103 Teaching Online: A Student-Centered Approach
  • EL104 Teaching and Organizing a Virtual Learning Environment
  • EL105 Online Language: Communicating with Students
  • EL108 Preparing Students to Become Good Online Learners
  • EL112 Workload Management Strategies for Teaching Online

Register/login on the CTE Learn site and enter the master key “MK-ACTE” to enroll. Contact support@ctelearn.org if you have any questions.

CTE Learn courses are self-paced and take approximately 4 hours to complete. Other free distance learning resources are available too.

Supplementing, Not Supplanting Federal Funds for Perkins V CTSO Activities

State SkillsUSA Directors: As many of you may recall during the Perkins 5 presentation last May with Michael Brustein and Gene Dudley (as well as from information provided in the Perkins 5 Toolkit), it was suggested that SkillsUSA Chapters create a “gap year” of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 and NOT use state education agency (state DOE) or local education agency (local school or school system) funding for CTSO activities. Creating this gap year would ensure that “supplementing, not supplanting, federal funds” for Perkins V CTSO activities would be eligible for expenditure in FY 2021.

The direct language from Perkins V:  SEC. 124. [20 U.S.C. 2344] regarding state leadership activities states: “support for CTSOs, especially with respect to efforts to increase the participation of  students in nontraditional fields and students who are members of special pops;” and new groups have been added as part of special populations which include: “out of work individuals, English learners, homeless, foster care, and youth with parent in armed forces”.

If you have unanswered questions, please reach out to your state’s Perkins regional coordinator or send an email to cte@ed.gov. To see the U.S. Department of Education memo, go to: tinyurl.com/w8gowex.

Due Dates

May 1: Deadline for ACTE’s Student Trophy Design Contest
May 1: Deadline to Register for ACTE’s Free Online Courses
May 13: Harbor Freight Tools for Schools applications due
May 15: Rees Scholarship Foundation scholarship applications due
May 15: Chapter Excellence Program and Models of Excellence submissions due
May 15: Models of Excellence submissions due
May 15: Advisor of the Year submissions due
May 15: Student2Student applications due
May 15: President’s Volunteer Service Award applications due
May 15: SkillsUSA Video Shoutouts due
May 29: FineHomebuilding and SkillsUSA #KeepCraftAlive Scholarshipapplications due.