Executive Update: November 15, 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

Opportunities Abound at the WorldSkills General Assembly
On Oct. 13-19, I was in Amsterdam for the WorldSkills General Assembly (GA) and Global Conference, where more than 70 countries met. We were welcomed by the Netherlands commissioner of education at the first meeting. There were lots of great sessions from global experts on workforce development, training and career education.

Scott Norman, our WorldSkills technical delegate, also attended along with Kieron Kohlmann, former automotive WorldSkills competitor and now a member of the WorldSkills Champions Trust representing the United States and the Americas. Kieron now works in management in the automotive industry in Michigan and was part of the team managing the World Youth Forum (occurring simultaneously with the GA). We heard great reports on his work.

The event was an incredible networking opportunity with some of our key partners. I met with Maureen Tholen from 3M to develop a strategy for an upcoming meeting in Washington, D.C., where she and I will be co-presenting to CEOs in the manufacturing industry. I also met with our friends from Lincoln Electric, the CEO of FESTO, and representatives of the American Welding Society. I also met with representatives from WorldSkills France and WorldSkills UK to talk about possible cooperation between our conferences.

Amsterdam is a beautiful city full of canals, as it sits below sea level, and water is a major mode of transportation. It is also a city full of boats and bicycles. I learned that there are 1.5 bicycles for every person in the city of 900,000.

Business Partner Summit Success
From Oct. 21-23, SkillsUSA’s Office of Business Partnerships and Development held a successful inaugural Partner Summit in Las Vegas with 70 business partners attending.

Summit presenters included: Tony Ambroza, chief brand officer at Carhartt Inc.; Maureen Tholen, the sustainability director for 3M and new SkillsUSA Foundation chairperson; Albert Smith Jr., a group vice president and chief social innovation officer for Toyota Motor North America; Rich Calvaruso, who leads the lean manufacturing transformation for GE Appliances, a Haier Company; Johnnie Garlington, senior manager for training for Toyota Motor North America; and Steve Hidden, Miller Electric’s national account manager for welding education and workforce development.

Also speaking were our friends Robin Utz, chief for the College and Career Transitions branch in the Division of Academic and Technical Education for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education; and Richard Katt, an expert in career and technical education.

I gave remarks on SkillsUSA’s future direction and strategy at the welcome dinner on Oct. 21 and breakfast on Oct. 22. Staff members Gayle Silvey, Dave Worden, Amy Serafino, Dave Worden and Kelly Horton spoke or facilitated sessions. Staff members Taryn Zeigler, Shelly Coates, Kaitlin Youngs, Eric Gearhart, Heidi Walsh, Dave Worden and Cathy Arrington also served as facilitators and handled logistics of the event.

This was a great opportunity away from the hectic nature of our National Leadership and Skills Conference to discuss ways to expand and enrich strategic relationships for the benefit of our partners and SkillsUSA. Congratulations to our staff who worked hard to make the summit a stellar event for our partners. I believe we will see higher levels of business support as a result of this meeting.


  • Staff member Tom Kercheval put together an overview video of some of the PR highlights for FY18 for the Partner Summit. See the video below:

    To see the SkillsUSA FY18 public relations report, media report from NLSC, recent press releases and other stories, go to: www.skillsusa.org/publications-news/press-room/.
  • Staff member Gene Dudley has developed a Perkins V workshop. Staff is formulating a strategy to ensure that SkillsUSA is part of the Perkins transition plans that state agencies will file in April 2019.

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

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.

Help the WorldSkills USA Team!

SkillsUSA has fielded the 2019 WorldSkills USA team, with 23 competitors heading to Kazan, Russia, to compete in 21 skill categories including a demonstration event in Cyber Security. There are 22 experts plus SkillsUSA staff advising and supporting this team, and the 45th biennial event will be held Aug. 22-27, 2019. Check out the new press room on the microsite here: www.WorldSkillsUSA.org.

We are working hard to increase public relations and awareness for the 2019 WorldSkills USA team. Our official WorldSkills USA social media channels have launched, and we want to ensure that we are building followers for the team. We encourage you to visit each of the following links and click on “subscribe,” “like” or “follow” so you don’t miss our updates. Please also create a YouTube account, if you don’t already have one, so you can subscribe for video updates.

#GivingTuesday Donation Match Benefits SkillsUSA

Please join us for #GivingTuesday between now and November 27. Giving Tuesday is a way to make a huge impact on building our future workforce. Any donation made to SkillsUSA will be generously matched by our partners at CareerSafe. To donate, visit: http://bit.ly/2DjSETo. Please follow and share SkillsUSA social media to help spread the word.

Reminder: 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.

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.

Reminder: 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.

Reminder: Seeking Talented Singers to Open Conference

SkillsUSA is seeking talented student or adult performers to sing the national anthem at the Opening Ceremony for the 2019 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Audition videos can be submitted via: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/national-anthem-auditions/ and must be the singing of the national anthem.

Auditions must be received by Feb. 4. SkillsUSA does not pay any travel expenses for the selected singer to attend the national conference. Questions may be directed to Heidi Walsh at 703-737-0615 or hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

Reminder: 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.

Reminder: 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.

Due Dates

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. 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. 16: Augusta, Maine/ABC Policymakers’ Breakfast/Eric Gearhart
Nov. 16: Phenix City, Ala./Chattahoochee Valley Community College Career Essentials meetings/Gene Dudley
Nov. 18-20: Mobile, Ala./Alabama Community College Association Conference/Gene Dudley
Nov. 26: Atlanta/Georgia Construction Industry meeting/Gene Dudley Conference/Gene Dudley
Nov. 28-31: San Antonio, Texas/Association for Career and Technical Education CareerTech Vision Conference/selected staff

Dec. 2-4: Atlanta/Georgia World Congress Center site visit/selected staff
Dec. 3-4: Birmingham, Ala./Alabama Joint Leadership Development Conference/Gene Dudley
Dec. 5: Hartford, Wis./corporate visit/Amy Serafino
Dec. 11-12: Detroit/corporate visits/Amy Serafino
Dec. 17: Washington, D.C./Perkins V meeting/Gene Dudley
Dec. 19: Montgomery, Ala./SkillsUSA Career Essentials implementation Meeting/Gene Dudley