Executive Update: October 1, 2019

Important Dates
Dec. 4-7 : Association for Career and Technical Education CareerTech Vision Conference, Anaheim, Calif.
Feb. 2-8: SkillsUSA Week

Executive Director’s Report

WLTI Students Showcase SkillsUSA on the Hill
We’ve closed the books on another successful Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) Sept. 21-24. Participation was higher than ever, with 557 attending from 29 states.

State delegations arrived on Saturday and, after a brief conference opening, were bused directly to the National Leadership Center for dinner and a dedication of the new Champions Circle. We had beautiful weather as everyone gathered outside to honor the contractors and students who donated their labor and materials toward the construction.

As part of the ceremony, I welded a final piece on the firepit and was honored to witness the unveiling of a plaque dedicating the Champions Circle to me. Thanks goes to Jen Worth for her kind words during the ceremony. Staff member Tom Kercheval created a time-lapse video of construction.

On Sunday, the group enjoyed a morning of training on the SkillsUSA Framework and advocacy. A legislative lunch panel followed featuring Sam Morgante, deputy chief of staff and legislative director for Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.); Kerry McKittrick, legislative assistant for Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Nick Rockwell, senior legislative assistant for Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.). The panel discussed ways to make an effective visit to Congress and did an excellent job of informing the students what to expect when they visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday. There was more training in the afternoon, and after dinner the group toured Washington’s monuments.

On Monday, participants planned for the next day’s advocacy visits before departing to tour and explore Washington on their own.

On Tuesday, to show support for SkillsUSA and career and technical education, we held a “SkillsUSA Perkins POWERR CTE Rally” to celebrate the launch of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The rally was held on the west front lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Speakers included Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.), national officers Jay Clifton and Makenna Eccles, and me. State delegations then went on to visit more than 130 congressional offices, and to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The conference closed Tuesday night with Statesman awards being presented. I was honored to deliver my final farewell address to this national group of leaders. To download the group photo taken at U.S. Capitol, or to find other WLTI photos, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/washington-leadership-training-institute/ 

Special thanks to Courtney Ferrell, who managed the conference, along with Shelly Coates and the entire SkillsUSA staff who supported WLTI.

Thanks also to the SkillsUSA board of directors for a successful fall meeting during WLTI. Special appreciation goes to board president Jen Worth for her tremendous leadership and support. I’ll report more about the meeting next time.

Showing Appreciation for a Major Contributor to Champions Circle
Earlier in the week, staff member Shelly Coates and I attended the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (NCCA) annual community service banquet. NCCA was a major contributor of equipment, materials and labor for the Champions Circle, with an estimated donative value in excess of $180,000.

SkillsUSA Career Essentials Credential Launches at National Press Club
On Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C., SkillsUSA held a successful launch event at the National Press Club to officially announce the national launch of the SkillsUSA Career Essentials Credential. Speakers for the event were: Assistant Secretary John Pallasch from the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor; Principal Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones from the U.S. Department of Education; Rose Bauss, general manager, product quality and service support, Toyota USA; former national officers Brandon Ramirez and Brooke Gatchell; and me. Also attending were other federal government officials and some of SkillsUSA’s corporate business partners. For a release about the event, go to: www.prweb.com/releases/career_readiness_and_employability_credential_program_announced/prweb16583679.htm


  • On Sept. 13, SkillsUSA celebrated mega-prize winner Laura Drew, an allied health teacher from Plymouth (Mass.) North High School. She visited the National Leadership Center with her husband and was honored by our staff. Later, I took the couple on a tour of Washington, D.C.
  • SkillsUSA has a new social media account for the SkillsUSA Store. SkillsUSA will no longer promote SkillsUSA clothing, accessories and gift items on our Facebook page. To see future promotions for these products, follow @skillsusastore on Instagram and earn chances to win free prizes.

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

New Magazine Issue Focuses on the Benefits of Membership

The fall issue of SkillsUSA Champions is arriving in our chapter advisors’ mailboxes. Please direct students to the digital edition of the magazine on the SkillsUSA website here: www.skillsusa.org/publications-news/skillsusa-champions-magazine/In addition to the news and motivational content in the print issue, the digital edition includes related videos, direct links to external resources and other dynamic material.

The fall issue always focuses on the best of SkillsUSA and the promise of membership, and it can be helpful in recruitment. The latest edition includes articles about our student leaders and national and international competitors. Featured members come from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio. There’s also full coverage of our national conference, our new executive director, Advisor of the Year and other award winners. This issue also includes highlights of the first SkillsUSA National Signing Day as well as the launch of the SkillsUSA Career Essentials Credential. A teacher’s guide to covering the issue with students is posted alongside the link to the digital edition. 

Plan Now to Participate in Manufacturing Day

SkillsUSA traditionally participates in Manufacturing Day, a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation. While Manufacturing Day is officially the first Friday in October — this year, Oct. 4 — SkillsUSA chapters can hold events on any date in October that works best. Events for students can include a plant tour, a virtual tour or an event on your campus that highlights manufacturing.

SkillsUSA chapters are asked to share their Manufacturing Day photos and stories with communications specialist Hayley Uffelman at huffelman@skillsusa.org. For resources, or to find events in your area, go to: www.mfgday.com.

Deadline Approaching for States’ IRS Reporting Form 

State SkillsUSA Directors: SkillsUSA Form No. 2 (IRS Reporting Form) is online at www.skillsusa.net/directors/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Form-2-19.zipYou can download the form, the letter requesting their state’s federal ID number and the instructions from this link. Please fill out the necessary information and return the signed form and letter to Kim Graham at the national headquarters by Oct. 15.

Please note: The form is now formatted as an Excel file. You will see two tabs at the bottom of the worksheet. The first tab, “Form2Coverltr,” contains the letter giving permission for your state association to be included in the group return. Simply fill in the required information, sign and date. Please be sure to include your state association’s federal ID number.

The second tab, “990Form2,” contains the financial information required by the IRS. The Excel file will automatically calculate the totals as information is entered. The form has been password protected, so you can only enter information into the required fields. This form is lengthy, so please scroll to the end (Line 108). Again, fill in the required information, sign and date.

These forms will not be mailed to state SkillsUSA directors and are available only online. We file with the IRS on states’ behalf, and the completed Form No. 2 is all we need. Reminder: No extension will be filed for this filing year as to avoid any occurrence of non-filing notices being sent by the IRS. 

State SkillsUSA directors, please do not miss this opportunity to be part of our joint return. If you encounter any problems or have questions, please contact Kim Graham at 703-737-0602 or kgraham@skillsusa.org.

FY19 Media Results Show Progress

As SkillsUSA finishes a fiscal year, staff members compile many reports, including the media coverage received over this period, particularly during national conference. The two-person SkillsUSA public relations team of Jane Short and Karen Kitzel sent out over 9,000 press releases in FY19. SkillsUSA was mentioned in 7,816 clippings for the fiscal year. Stories range from major features on individual members to chapter news, community projects and news about state or national conferences and competitions.

During the national conference, the team worked with Louisville-based media consultant Amy Higgs to secure excellent media coverage. SkillsUSA appeared on local networks 69 times from June 17-28 including WHAS 11, WAVE3 WDRB and WLKY as well as on radio and in print. To see the media report, press releases and other stories, go to: www.skillsusa.org/publications-news/press-room/

The PR team supported efforts by the Office of Business Partnerships and Development to create greater awareness for the 2019 WorldSkills USA team. Jane Short distributed a national press release in October 2018 and wrote individual press releases for all 22 team members in February 2019 for their hometown media. Our team has pitched, supported pitching by Maroon PR and helped with media follow up efforts. From October 2018 to Sept. 2019, we generated a total of 738 news stories with a publicity value of $1,913,833.42.

Enjoy the Benefits of Professional Membership

The SkillsUSA registration site is officially open for the new school year. Assistance with SkillsUSA membership questions is available by contacting the hotline operators. They are ready to answer questions about starting a new chapter, ways to engage chapter members or strategies to strengthen an existing chapter. Operators are on call 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday (Eastern time). To reach the hotline, call 844-875-4557 or email operators@skillsusa.org. Online chatting is also available from the membership registration site.

Professional members receive these great benefits:

  • 2019-20 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards. The official competition guide for the SkillsUSA Championships contains rules for all national competitive events, including an overview, lists of technical skills and knowledge required, clothing requirements, eligibility and equipment lists. Note: The latest SkillsUSA Championships contest updates and the official SkillsUSA Championships scorecards are located online here: org/competitions/skillsusa-championships/contest-updates/
  • Jump into STEM! Curriculum includes middle-school and elementary-school STEM career exploration activities that can be taught by high-school members. This is a great opportunity to expose students to STEM careers and recruit for career and technical education programs as well as SkillsUSA.
  • SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Foundations. This complete curriculum includes 29 lesson plans that support the SkillsUSA Framework and prepare students for career readiness.

SkillsUSA professional members receive all of these materials when they submit membership along with a valid email address. The 2019-20 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards and other materials are provided through a digital delivery system. National dues for professional members are $20 plus state dues, which vary. The complete listing of 2019-20 state dues and deadlines is online and included in the membership kits.

Becoming a professional member of SkillsUSA is one of the best ways to demonstrate to students the importance of joining a professional organization and the opportunities that membership will provide.

Students Can Now Register Themselves as Members

The SkillsUSA membership registration site now offers a quick way for students to “self-register” for SkillsUSA. So far, 15 states have elected to use this feature, and other states have shown interest. Students can add their names to the roster list from their cellphones or computers using a registration code provided by their advisor. The advisor verifies the roster list and joins the students as members.

This is an optional feature for state associations, and it has several benefits to schools and SkillsUSA: ensuring accuracy of demographics and spelling of names, saving time for advisors and helping to make sure that all students are registered and not inadvertently left out. State associations can also choose to collect demographic information required for additional funding in some states.

To view the demonstration, go to: https://zoom.us/recording/play/377BJxbBmSdRN0Pi8mclTAKtlYoCEbjJU63B43lxPtQiXEVdwpA18Z4ByuPMv7YK?continueMode=true. The information is also available on the state SkillsUSA director website by going to: www.skillsusa.net/directors/login and clicking on Training Materials and then Webinars.

Help Share SkillsUSA’s Inclusion and Diversity Efforts

SkillsUSA strives to be an inclusive organization that is welcoming to all who want to be members. This is our official statement of inclusion and diversity, which is on the website and applies to all members nationwide:

“In keeping with a tradition of respect for the individuality of our members and our role in workforce development, SkillsUSA strives to ensure inclusive participation in all of our programs, partnerships and employment opportunities. In SkillsUSA, diversity encompasses differences in ethnicity, gender, gender expression and identity, language, age, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, physical and mental ability, thinking styles, experience and education.”

We strive to make all members, partners and employees feel welcomed and valued in the SkillsUSA family. SkillsUSA believes in treating all people with respect and dignity. We want SkillsUSA to be regarded as a “membership organization of choice” that encourages all individuals to be involved. If you want to share this statement with members, it is posted here: www.skillsusa.org/about/values-vision/.

New Description Released for SkillsUSA Official Attire

Wearing the official SkillsUSA attire adds a sense of unity and identification, as well as enthusiasm, to meetings, ceremonies, presentations and activities. Members are encouraged to strictly follow the guidelines for official attire during ceremonies, visits with dignitaries, officer campaigns and similar occasions.

Students may select the attire that best fits the gender with which they identify. This is a personal choice as long as the SkillsUSA guidelines are followed. This also applies to competition uniforms for the SkillsUSA Championships as long as clothing meets the stated contest guidelines.

If you want to share these guidelines with members, a description of official attire is listed below and posted here: www.skillsusa.org/about/history-brand-resources/emblem-colors-and-official-attire/

SkillsUSA Official Attire

    • Red SkillsUSA blazer, windbreaker or sweater, or black or red SkillsUSA jacket
    • Button-up, collared, white dress shirt (accompanied by a plain, solid black tie), white blouse (collarless or small-collared) or white turtleneck, with any collar not to extend into the lapel area of the blazer, sweater, windbreaker or jacket
    • Black dress slacks (accompanied by black dress socks or black or skin-tone seamless hose) or black dress skirt (knee-length, accompanied by black or skin-tone seamless hose)
    • Black dress shoes

Apply for a Student Tuition Grant

Saf-Gard Safety Shoe Co. is awarding an industry-based education grant for skilled trades students who are just starting out in their field. Three students will be chosen to receive a $1,000 grant to go toward their trade school tuition. Students who apply will respond to a prompt created by Saf-Gard and then send responses and photos to a designated contact for a weekly blog update. The deadline to apply is Oct. 7. For more information, go to: www.safgard.com/sole-education.

National Apprenticeship Week Coming 

This year’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is Nov. 11-17. It is a national celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor that brings together leaders in business, labor, educational institutions and Americans interested in apprenticeships to showcase the positive impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Join the celebration by hosting an event — such as an apprenticeship graduation, business open house, high school career fair, skills competition or industry roundtable — or submitting a proclamation supporting NAW and apprenticeship. Learn more about NAW at: www.apprenticeship.gov/NAW.

Due Dates

Oct. 15: IRS Reporting Form (Form No. 2) due
Nov. 15: Membership registration to receive free resources due

National Staff Travel

Oct. 1-3: Virginia Beach, Va./Virginia Association for Career and Technical Education Administrators Conference/Gene Dudley
Oct 3-4: Marlborough, Mass./advisor training/Patty Duncan
Oct. 4-5: Raleigh, N.C./ACTE Region II Leadership Conference/Courtney Ferrell
Oct. 7: Saf-Gard Safety Shoe Co. grant application due
Oct. 9-11: Dallas/Business Partner Summit/select staff
Oct. 10-11: Waco, Texas/Texas College/Postsecondary Advisor Training/Courtney Ferrell
Oct. 12-13: Orlando, Fla./National Career Pathways Network/Courtney Ferrell
Oct. 16-18: Louisville, Ky./GIE Expo National Power Equipment Technology Medalists Showcase/Dave Worden
Oct. 17-19: Dallas/CBRE and Texas State Association meetings/Eric Gearhart
Oct. 19: Louisville, Ky./Teamsters Appreciation Lunch/SkillsUSA Championships staff
Oct. 21-23: Leesburg, Fla./Chapter Management Institute/Sylvia Phillips
Oct. 21-24: Seattle/National Association of State Directors of Adult Education Conference
Oct. 21-25: Louisville, Ky./post NLSC meetings/Shelly Coates, Ashley Ridgeway and Kaitlin Youngs
Oct. 27-29: Oasis, Mo./District Officer Training/Sylvia Phillips
Oct. 30: Arlington, Va./Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute meeting/Cathy Arrington and Josie Wolfe

Nov. 1-2: Nashua, N.H./Region 1 Advisor Training/Sylvia Phillips
Nov. 18-20: Atlanta, Ga./service provider meetings/Shelly Coates, Ashley Ridgeway and Kaitlin Youngs
Nov. 19: Leesburg, Va./NCC–CTSO meeting/Tim Lawrence

Dec. 4-7: Anaheim, Calif./ACTE CareerTech Vision 2019/select staff