Executive Update: November 1, 2018

Important Dates

Nov. 28-Dec. 1: Association for Career and Technical Education CareerTech Vision Conference, San Antonio, Texas
Jan. 12-13: SkillsUSA Scoring Boot Camp, Leesburg, Va.
February 2019: Career and Technical Education Month
Feb. 3-9, 2019: SkillsUSA Week

Executive Director’s Report

At the Table in Developing a Highly Skilled Technical Workforce in Kentucky
On Oct. 5, I met with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and representatives from the Kentucky Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development and the Kentucky Department of Education at the state capitol building in Frankfort, Ky. This was a follow-up from hosting Governor Bevin during the National Leadership and Skills Conference, where he offered to work with SkillsUSA to make Kentucky a workforce development model for the nation.

Also attending the meeting were Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey; Deputy Secretary Josh Benton; Commissioner Wayne Lewis; Associate Commissioner David Horseman; state SkillsUSA director Wayne King; Johnnie Garlington from Toyota headquarters in Plano, Texas; Dennis Parker from the Toyota manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Ky; and SkillsUSA board member Chris Arvin from Caterpillar. Participating from our staff were Kelly Horton, Gayle Silvey, Amy Serafino and Tom Hall.

We left Frankfort with high hopes of a focus on SkillsUSA as a career readiness solution for the state. I believe the day was historic as we look toward a top-down approach to bring the value of SkillsUSA participation into a statewide education and workforce system. We look forward to continuing the dialogue and developing a model for SkillsUSA in other states.

WorldSkills USA Team Launches
On Oct. 3, SkillsUSA and Racepoint Global launched the WorldSkills USA team press release on BusinessWire and distributed it to national and trade lists. Racepoint Global also began outreach to its national media contacts. See the press release here: www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181003005489/en/WorldSkills-USA-Gold-Kazan-Russia-Global-Trade.

Don’t forget to check out the new WorldSkills USA team microsite when you get a chance and check back often for updates: www.worldskillsusa.org.

SkillsUSA Goes to the Virginia State Fair
On Oct. 1, I attended the Virginia State Fair in Doswell, Va., where more than 500 SkillsUSA members from 34 chapters competed in 15 skill and leadership contests. It was a great day for SkillsUSA, with 145 volunteers attending as well as corporate member Anthony Williams from the Virginia Department of Education. The competitions were led and judged by business and industry. It was great to see advisors, administrators and state leadership there supporting our students. The weather was great, and the public was out in full force viewing the events.

One of the most interesting projects at the state fair competition was the carpentry project where students built 20 miniature sandboxes to donate to ChildSavers. The sandboxes will help mentally challenged children develop stronger motor skills through hands-on work with sand and various objects. For details, go to: www.childsavers.org.

New Staff Enjoys Visit to Local Career Center
On Oct. 2, I took our newest SkillsUSA staff members on a visit to Frederick County (Md.) Career and Technology Center. Hosting the tour were school principal Michael Concepcion, assistant principal Jack Newkirk and SkillsUSA advisor Lera Straits. It was a fantastic tour of the programs. This local career center had more than 700 members last school year and took a group of 20 competitors to nationals, plus two state voting delegates, and they won several medals. The school is excited to launch SkillsUSA Career Essentials and plans to complete three Experiences this year.

NCC–CTSO Covers Upcoming ‘Rethink CTE’ Summit, Perkins V Guide
On Oct. 4, I attended the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC–CTSO) meeting at the Technology Student Association/National Association for Secondary School Principals headquarters in Reston, Va.

Robin Utz from the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education reported that Secretary Betsy DeVos is on the road with a “RethinkED” campaign. There will be a Rethink CTE Summit on Dec 14 in the LBJ Auditorium in the U.S. Department of Education. Robin asked us to hold the date on our calendars. Pathways to Apprenticeship grants will be awarded to six states: Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon and Rhode Island. Dec. 7 is International Education Week.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) reported that the Perkins V Guide has been uploaded to its website. A Perkins implementation webpage has also been developed. The February Techniques magazine will be devoted to career and technical student organizations. ACTE now has an online tool to evaluate career and technical education programs. On March 26, during the ACTE National Policy Seminar, there will be a Capitol Hill reception sponsored by the CTSOs. 


  • Gene Dudley represented SkillsUSA at the Manufacturing Day activities Oct. 5 at Newport News Shipbuilding. He gave a presentation on SkillsUSA as part of the program in Newport News, Va.
  • Also on Oct. 5, SkillsUSA national officer Guadalupe Cortez spoke at a Manufacturing Day event at Reborn Cabinets in Anaheim, Calif. Also speaking were Rep. Steve Faessel, a local Anaheim councilman; Sharon Quirk-Silva, a California assemblywoman; Janet Brown, a staff member from Congressman Lou Correa’s office; and Erik Cruz, a 2018 SkillsUSA California high school Cabinetmaking medalist. Approximately 200 students from Anaheim and surrounding high schools attended, and there was a job fair in the afternoon.
  • Kim Hegedus has prepared the Constitution and Bylaws Amendment motion forms for the 2019 delegate process at the National Leadership and Skills Conference. The form should be up on the SkillsUSA website by the end of next week.

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

Showcase Your Program’s Amazing Work

Advance CTE encourages schools to apply for the 2018 Excellence in Action award to showcase the work of their students and instructors at the national level. This award honors innovative and high-impact programs across the 16 career clusters that prepare students for the real world. Applications are open to both high schools and postsecondary institutions. To apply, go to: https://careertech.org/excellence-action-award. The deadline for applications is Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. ET. Applications submitted after this deadline will not be considered. If you have questions, email awards@careertech.org. 

Scoring ‘Boot Camp’ to be Held in January 

State SkillsUSA directors: SkillsUSA will be holding a Conference Management System “boot camp” with programmer Mark Williams on Jan. 12-13 in Leesburg, Va. The training is for state SkillsUSA directors and anyone who works with the state scoring system.

The training will take place beginning at noon on Jan. 12 (lunch included) and will end at noon on Jan. 13. Please plan your travel accordingly.

SkillsUSA has reserved a room block at the Comfort Suites, 80 Prosperity Ave., Leesburg, Va. Meals and training will be provided by SkillsUSA. Attendees are expected to pay for travel and lodging. To reserve a room, call the Comfort Suites at 703-669-1650 and ask for one of the blocked rooms under SkillsUSA. There is a complimentary shuttle service to the hotel and back from Washington Dulles International Airport.

To register, go to: www.surveymonkey.com/r/CMSJan2019. Registration must be received by Dec. 11. Additional information about the boot camp is posted on the state SkillsUSA director website at: www.skillsusa.net/directors.

If you have questions, contact Patty Duncan at 703-737-0635. 

Nov. 15 Membership Incentive Deadline is Near 

Four Pillars bookBecoming a professional member of SkillsUSA is one of the best ways to demonstrate to students the opportunities that membership provides. Professional members receive online access to the following as a no-cost member benefit: 2019 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards, Jump into STEM! curriculum and SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Foundations.

To receive these, instructors must submit membership and provide an email address. Once membership is submitted, an email will be sent with a PIN to access the items electronically.

As a special membership incentive, those who register at least 15 student members plus one or more professionals by Nov. 15 will receive a free educational resource item, The Four Pillars: Your Personal Leadership Journey (value $4.95). Instructors who register with 100-percent membership (all students in their program) plus one or more professionals will also receive a SkillsUSA Program of Work calendar (value: $5.95).

For more details on these incentives, see the membership kits or visit the SkillsUSA website: www.skillsusa.org/membership-resources/membership-kit-2/high-school/5-register-students-members-skillsusa/ — or instructors can begin to register themselves and their students at:  www.skillsusa-register.org/Login.aspx.

Reminder: Advisor of the Year Nominations Needed

Is there an amazing SkillsUSA advisor who truly makes a difference in his or her classroom, school and within your state association? Applications are being accepted for the 2018-19 SkillsUSA National Advisor of the Year program. This is SkillsUSA’s highest teacher honor and one of the most exciting announcements at the national conference. Each state association is asked to gather advisor applications and select a SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year for the state.

An application must be completed for state winners, and each state may submit a high-school and a college/postsecondary applicant. The application is located on the password-protected website for state SkillsUSA directors. All applications must be completed and submitted to Jeri Widdowson at skillsusapennsylvania@comcast.net by Dec. 3.

Nominations will be grouped by region and reviewed by a state director committee to determine the five regional Advisors of the Year. The five regional winners will be invited to attend the 2019 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky. Following interviews, one national advisor of the year will be selected. All five advisors will be recognized on stage at the Opening Ceremony.

If you have questions, call or email Jeri Widdowson at 814-238-0380 or skillsusapennsylvania@comcast.net. You can also email Taryn Zeigler at tzeigler@skillsusa.org. 

Take Up the Challenge! National Conference Pin and T-Shirt Design

Feb. 5 is the deadline for entries to be received (not postmarked) for the SkillsUSA National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Challenge. This event is open to all paid student members of SkillsUSA. This is a great way to have a student and advisor from your state recognized. Rules are posted on the SkillsUSA website at: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/pin-design-challenge/. Questions may be directed to Heidi Walsh at 703-737-0615 or hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

Focus Your Students on Safety

CareerSafe sponsors a National Youth Safety Video Contest, in which students across the country are challenged to create a two-minute video demonstrating safety in the workplace. All submissions should be sent to CareerSafe by March 1. The winning students will receive a SkillsUSA prize pack as well as a scholarship up to $2,500, and the winning school will receive a prize up to $5,000. For more information, visit the CareerSafe website at: www.careersafeonline.com.

Video Contest Encourages Students to Use Money Wisely

The American Bankers Association Foundation wants to encourage financial responsibility in students with its “Lights, Camera, Save!” video contest, which calls on students to educate themselves and their peers about saving and using money wisely.

The contest is free and open to all students age 13-18, with the videos of local winners moving on to the national competition. The entry period is Oct. 1-Dec. 3. The top three national winners will receive awards of $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000 to fund their saving goals. They’re looking for creative, innovative concepts. Winning videos will be posted on YouTube and viewed by people across the globe.

If one of your students is a top-three national winner, your school will win a scholarship to attend the Jump$tart National Educator Conference. Winners will be announced in March. Visit www.LightsCameraSave.com for additional contest information and to locate a participating bank in your area.

Due Dates

Nov. 4: YSA 2019 Martin Luther King (MLK) Day of Service Grant application deadline
Nov. 15: Membership registration deadline to receive free resources
Nov. 21: Advance CTE Excellence in Education Award applications due

Dec. 3: “Lights, Camera, Save!” video contest entries due
Dec. 3: Advisor of the Year applications must be completed and submitted to Jeri Widdowson
Dec. 11: Scoring Boot Camp registrations due

Feb. 4: National Anthem audition videos due
Feb. 5: National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Competition entries must be received (not postmarked)

May 1: Nominations due for ACTE Business-Education Partnership and Champion for CTE awards due

National Staff Travel

Nov. 8-9: Gainesville, Fla./NCCER Board of Trustees Meeting/Tim Lawrence
Nov. 10: Atlanta/Georgia Leadership Conference/Courtney Ferrell
Nov. 10: Denver/SkillsUSA Colorado Gala/Tim Lawrence
Nov. 12-13: Gainesville, Fla./ASE Board Meeting/Tim Lawrence
Nov. 13-14: Ellicott City, Md./Conference Management Training class/Ashley Ridgeway
Nov. 15: Washington, D.C./UpNext Atlanta/Tim Lawrence, Ashley Ridgeway and Sandy Moore
Nov. 15-17: Crown Point, N.M./Navajo Technical University visit/Tim Lawrence
Nov. 18-20: Mobile, Ala./Alabama Community College Association Conference/Gene Dudley
Nov. 28-31: San Antonio, Texas/Association for Career and Technical Education CareerTech Vision Conference/selected staff

Dec. 3-4: Birmingham, Ala./Alabama Joint Leadership Development Conference/Gene Dudley