Executive Update: November 15, 2017

Important Dates
Nov. 27-30: State Association Director Training, Leesburg, Va.
Dec. 11-12: SkillsUSA Board of Directors’ Meeting via webinar
Jan. 13-14: Scoring Boot Camp, Leesburg, Va.
February 2018: Career and Technical Education Month
Feb. 4-10: SkillsUSA Week

Executive Director’s Report

Rising STEM Stars Saluted at Manufacturing Show
I traveled to Greenville, S.C., Oct. 23-25 to participate in the SOUTH–TEC manufacturing show with SME and AMT — The Association for Manufacturing Technology. I was honored to be a part of a panel with South Carolina’s state superintendent of public instruction, Molly Spearman, as well as executives from Continental Tire and BMW.

The panel discussion capped off a program called Rising Stars that recognizes the top STEM and manufacturing students in North Carolina and South Carolina. With our SkillsUSA South Carolina director, Dr. Rick Kalk, I escorted the state superintendent for a tour of the trade show. We spent a couple of hours with her, and she is a huge SkillsUSA supporter.

SkillsUSA North Carolina director Peyton Holland and Rick both had students attending. Their state officers led a program with SME to introduce students to the show and to advanced manufacturing. Our student leaders did a great job running an education booth at the trade show with our SkillsUSA Framework on display, where they demonstrated robotics, 3-D printing and rocketry.

There were 54 students recognized by SME as Rising Stars. The majority were SkillsUSA members, and many were former national medalists at the SkillsUSA Championships. We visited with SkillsUSA partners at the show and had good discussions with Autodesk and Haas Automation about supporting our programs in the Carolinas. Our state directors are doing an outstanding job there.

2017 Congressional Visits: The Numbers are In
Our latest Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) set records for both the size of the conference and for revitalized programming. On Sept. 26, we met with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at our Rally for CTE and took nearly 500 SkillsUSA members to Capitol Hill. Wearing their highly visible red blazers, they were ready to tell the SkillsUSA story to anyone who would listen.

In a single day, we went to the offices of 29 senators and 75 representatives, for a total of 104 visits. To view summaries written by the students following their visits, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/washington-leadership-training-institute

Meeting Focuses on Continued Growth for SkillsUSA Arizona
On Oct. 26-27, I was pleased to travel to Phoenix to meet with our state leader Robin Cronbaugh and the Arizona Department of Education. It was a good discussion, and I hope it lays the groundwork for our continued stability and growth in the state.

SkillsUSA Speaks on Workforce at Utility Contractors Event
Kelly Horton represented SkillsUSA Oct. 24 at a Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) meeting in Houston, where she talked about SkillsUSA and workforce development. She also sat on a panel with DCA’s CEO Rob Darden and Center for Energy Workforce Development executive director Ann Ransazzo. The panel addressed next steps in setting DCA’s strategy for workforce development.

The nonprofit, professional trade organization facilitates the exchange of information related to the construction and maintenance of gas distribution pipeline systems throughout the United States. Their members are turnkey utility contractors. SkillsUSA got connected to DCA through our friend Mike Rowe last spring. To learn more, go to: www.dcaweb.org.

Chapter Management Training Prepares SkillsUSA Instructors
Courtney Ferrell conducted a SkillsUSA Chapter Management Institute (CMI) for teachers in Leesburg, Fla., Oct. 23-25, concurrent with their State Leadership Training Workshop for students. CMI provides training for new or experienced SkillsUSA advisors on the latest methods for integrating the SkillsUSA program and framework into the technical classroom, while facilitating students for maximum personal growth as they plan and run their own chapter. This type of training is so rich and vital to our continued growth, and Courtney does an excellent job in delivering it.

SkillsUSA Attends Advance CTE Meeting
Kelly Horton and Gene Dudley attended the fall meeting of Advance CTE, held Oct. 16-18 in Baltimore. Advance CTE represents state leaders responsible for high school, postsecondary and adult career and technical education programs (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories. The conference provides members with professional development and updates on issues that affect CTE so they can better serve as leaders in the CTE community.

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

The Best Way to Build a Successful SkillsUSA Chapter

State association directors — please pass the following information on to your advisors:

SkillsUSA’s Chapter Excellence Program (CEP) recognizes your achievement in integrating the SkillsUSA Framework in chapter activities related to the program of work. As a chapter’s yearly action plan, the SkillsUSA program of work is at the heart of student learning and employability development. By using our framework as a guide, chapters have a blueprint for creating relevant activities that encourage participation and help students understand what they’re learning.

The SkillsUSA Framework’s focus on intentional learning turns the program of work into more than just a planning tool. Using the framework, the program of work becomes the vital conduit that links students to the application of personal, workplace and technical skills demanded by industry — the SkillsUSA trifecta for student success.

Within each of these three areas, there are specific Essential Elements. These are high-demand employability skills as defined by industry, and the benchmark for measuring student success during an activity. For example, if students learn the Essential Element of responsibility during a personal skills activity, the SkillsUSA Framework requires that a chapter be specific regarding the how and why students learned responsibility. This conscientious approach gives added meaning to the valuable experience students gain in planning, organizing and implementing activities. Most importantly, this approach actualizes SkillsUSA’s mission to “empower members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens” on the chapter level.

Every chapter is encouraged to participate in CEP, and there are three award levels to recognize program involvement. The first two levels are acknowledged by a chapter’s state SkillsUSA association, and the third level is recognized nationally through Models of Excellence. Each level is designed to give chapters a benchmark for success and future improvement, leading to stronger chapters and better prepared students. The more a chapter applies the SkillsUSA Framework, the greater the chance for CEP honors.

Start your Chapter Excellence Program application today and begin to earn recognition for your chapter. The online application is on the main page of the membership registration site once you have logged into your school account (www.skillsusa-register.org/Login.aspx). Questions? Use the resources below to introduce students to CEP:

Additional help is only a phone call or email away: 844-875-4557 or operators@skillsusa.org.

Reminder: State Director Training Set for This Month

State association directors: Training on state fundraising, SkillsUSA messaging, curriculum and educational resources will be held Nov. 27-30 in Leesburg, Va. Twenty-six state associations have registered.

The arrival date for this training should be Nov. 27. Flight departures on Nov. 30 must be scheduled for 3 p.m. or later. Flights should be to and from Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD).

All expenses for state SkillsUSA directors are covered for this training, except your travel. If assistant state association directors or state staff members attend, they will need to cover lodging and travel. Training will take place at SkillsUSA’s National Leadership Center and the Comfort Suites in Leesburg, Va. Lodging arrangements will be made on behalf of all participants at the Comfort Suites.

Please contact Gayle Silvey at gsilvey@skillsusa.org or 404-216-6040 if you have any questions.


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 2017-18 SkillsUSA National Advisor of the Year program. This is SkillsUSA’s teacher honor bestowed annually and one of the most exciting announcements at national conference each year. Each state association is asked to gather advisor applications and then select a SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year for the state.

An online application must be completed for your state winner. It can be found on the password-protected website for state association directors. After completing the application and downloading three letters of recommendation and a digital photograph, hit the “submit” button and all documentation will go directly to Pennsylvania state association director, Jeri Widdowson. Each state may submit a high-school and a college/postsecondary applicant. All applications must be completed and submitted by Dec. 4.

Nominations will be grouped by region and then reviewed by a committee of state SkillsUSA directors to determine the regional Advisors of the Year. There will be one winner per region (either high-school or college/postsecondary). The five regional winners will be invited to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky. Following personal interviews, all regional winners will be announced on stage at the opening ceremony and one national advisor of the year will be selected.

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

Note: If state association directors decide the Dec. 4 deadline is too early, they are invited to resubmit last year’s nomination if that advisor was not selected as a regional winner during 2016-2017. However, directors are encouraged to do their best to nominate a new advisor by Dec. 4.

Reminder: Scoring ‘Boot Camp’ to be Held in January

State association directors: SkillsUSA will be holding a Conference Management System “boot camp” with programmer Mark Williams on Jan. 13-14 in Leesburg, Va. The training is for state association directors and anyone who works with the state scoring system.

The training will take place beginning at noon on Jan. 13 (lunch included) and will end at noon on Jan. 14 (a portable lunch will be provided). Please plan your travel accordingly.

We have 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. There is a complimentary shuttle service to the hotel and back from Washington Dulles International Airport.

To register, go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/CMS2018. Registration must be received by Dec. 22. If you have questions, contact Susanne Kahler at skahler@skillsusa.org or 703-737-0616.

Reminder: SkillsUSA PR Challenge is On! 

State association directors — please pass this on to your advisors:

Now is the time to begin your application and news coverage for the SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge. This online challenge encourages local chapters to demonstrate how they showcase SkillsUSA to the news media in ways that highlight CTE and student success.

The SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge is open until March 30. The media coverage period must be three months to six months, starting as far back as Sept. 1. Three schools will be selected as winners. One state officer team will also be recognized. Winners will receive a check payable to their school or state association.

  • SkillsUSA Media Champion (first-place school or section): $900
  • SkillsUSA Media Boss (second-place school or section): $300
  • SkillsUSA Media Whiz (third-place school or section): $200
  • State Advocacy Award (first-place State Officer Team): $900

For complete rules, go to: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-pr-challenge/

Amazon Smile Purchases Benefit SkillsUSA

As we begin to think about the upcoming holidays and gift purchases, please know that Amazon Smile will donate .05 percent of the purchase price of eligible products purchased through Amazon.com to SkillsUSA. Please use this link to make your purchases: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7122568. Many thanks for your support!

Start Your Holiday Shopping at the SkillsUSA Store

With the holidays right around the corner, why not make your first stop at the SkillsUSA Store? With new apparel, bags, drinkware and executive items, you will be able to shop for everyone on your holiday list. Click on the multi-view angles of products and see every detail before you check out.

Once you’re finished with your holiday shopping, don’t forget to pick up your SkillsUSA essential uniform components, such as blazers, pins, and patches just in time for your 2018 events.

The SkillsUSA Store makes shopping not just fun but efficient! Find everything you need all in one place. Visit it at: www.skillsusastore.org.

Photo ID Requirements to Change for Flights to NLSC — Nine States Affected

Beginning Jan. 22, travelers from nine states will no longer be able to fly with only their driver’s licenses for their identification. Residents of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington will have to use alternate ID forms (passport, military ID or permanent resident card) to pass TSA security checkpoints — even for domestic travel. The reason is because driver’s licenses from these nine states do not meet the federal government’s minimum-security standards. For states to pass these standards, they must verify every ID applicant’s identity, put anti-counterfeit technology in the production of the card and conduct background checks on those who issue driver’s licenses.

Starting in January, passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight. This will affect students and advisors traveling to the 2018 National Leadership and Skills Conference, so please plan accordingly.

For more information, go to: www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs 

Teacher Guide Helps Students ‘Dream It, Do It’ 

Over the next decade, 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled due to the skills gap. With the help of teachers, we can mitigate this gap and show students the reality of modern manufacturing. The Manufacturing Institute’s “Dream It, Do It” toolkit at http://tinyurl.com/gnmdgkd provides teachers with activities to expand students’ knowledge and awareness of the manufacturing industry.

Many people of all ages are amazed to learn how much is manufactured in the United States and how diverse the careers are in this industry. Today’s manufacturing is about new innovation, making an impact and a chance to design and build the future. Whether students are interested in design, engineering or even the business side of the industry, there is a place for everyone in manufacturing. Not only does the industry offer a wide variety of demanding and fulfilling roles, it also offers high pay and opportunity for career advancement. 

Due Dates

Nov. 15: Membership registration due to receive free resources
Nov. 15: Advance CTE’s 2018 Excellence in Action award applications due

Dec. 1: “Lights, Camera, Save!” video contest entry deadline
Dec. 4: National Advisor of the Year applications due
Dec. 15: Campus and Total Participation Plan affiliations due to State Association Directors
Dec. 22: Conference Management System Boot Camp registrations due

Feb. 2: NLSC National Anthem audition videos due
Feb. 5: National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Contest entries due

March 1: CareerSafe Youth Safety Video Contest entries due
March 30: SkillsUSA Public Relations Challenge ends
March 30: President’s Volunteer Service Award submissions due

Staff Travel

Nov. 16-17: Manchester, N.H./SkillsUSA New Hampshire Fall Leadership Conference/Courtney Ferrell

Dec. 5-9: Nashville, Tenn./ACTE CareerTech Vision 2017/select staff

Jan. 19-20: Boston/Massachusetts Board Training/Tim Lawrence

Feb. 11-12: Chandler, Ariz./Construction Users Roundtable Conference/Tim Lawrence

March 19-21: Chattanooga, Tenn./Tennessee State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
March 21-22: Tucson, Ariz./SkillsUSA Board of Directors’ Meeting/select staff

April 4-5: Burlington, Vt./Vermont State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 15-20: Colorado Springs, Colo./Colorado State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 23-24: Birmingham, Ala./Alabama State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 25-27: Hutchinson, Kan./Kansas State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence
April 29-May 2: Pensacola, Fla./Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference/Tim Lawrence