Executive Update: October 15, 2019

Important Dates
Nov. 11-17: National Apprenticeship Week
Dec. 4-7 : Association for Career and Technical Education CareerTech Vision Conference, Anaheim, Calif.
Feb. 2-8: SkillsUSA Week

Executive Director’s Report

SkillsUSA on Display at the Virginia State Fair
On Sept. 30-31, I attended the Virginia State Fair, where SkillsUSA students competed in various skill competitions. These are held annually as a public relations event to give students an opportunity to be exposed to SkillsUSA and competitions early in the school year. Competitions were held in Culinary Arts, Criminal Justice, Cosmetology, Nail Care, Job Skill Demonstration, Promotional Bulletin Board, Construction, Transportation and Heavy Equipment. Multiple business and industry sponsors managed the contests, which were held over two days.

At the fair, staff member Gene Dudley and I met with Anthony Williams, the career and technical education administrator at the Virginia Department of Education. Congratulations go to Virginia SkillsUSA director Joyce Price and her team for a well-organized and successful event.

Workforce Roundtable Centers on Business and Education Partnerships
On Oct. 7, I was honored to be a part of an industry workforce roundtable with the National Association of Home Builders and the Home Builders Institute in Washington, D.C., at their headquarters. I served on a panel discussion, centered on business and education partnerships, with Robin Utz from the U.S. Department of Education and Steve DeWitt from the Association for Career and Technical Education.

While there, I met with Ed Brady, the new CEO of the Homebuilders Institute. I also had conversations with representatives from Bank of America and the Home Depot Foundation, both of which are interested in potentially becoming more involved with SkillsUSA when we move to Atlanta.

Generation T Builds Bunk Beds for California Children
On Oct. 8, I traveled to Pasadena, Calif., to participate in a bunk bed build at the Rose Bowl. SkillsUSA California students partnered with Generation T and Lowe’s to build 100 bunk beds for victims of the California fires, and other families with children in need of beds.

Nearly 300 SkillsUSA California students participated. More than 50 Lowe’s associates and executives from their corporate office in Mooresville, N.C., were onsite, along with Timberland Pro, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Samsung and Tuft and Needle.

Chief revenue officer of the Rose Bowl, Jens Weiden; Jennifer Weber, executive vice president, human resources for Lowe’s corporate office; and I spoke at the kickoff event. Some former NFL football players also attended. It was an incredible day, showing we care about others and bringing greater visibility to Generation T. A huge thanks to Lowe’s and to Clay Mitchell and SkillsUSA California!

From the Rose Bowl to the Cotton Bowl
On Oct. 9, I made a local school visit to Dubiski Career High School in Grand Prairie, Texas, with Texas SkillsUSA director Janet Connor, her husband Pat Connor and SkillsUSA Foundation member Dr. Larry Teverbaugh of CareerSafe.

Dubiski is one of the most incredible schools I’ve ever visited. It is designed like a corporate office building. There are no bells, as students are empowered to manage their time and move between classes as required. It is also an all-inclusive high school, focused on career and technical education. Dubiski is a total participation SkillsUSA chapter with around 1,800 SkillsUSA members. I was extremely impressed that each training pathway elects a separate group of student officers.

Chapter officers greeted us at the door and gave us the grand tour of the campus. Culinary students prepared and served our lunch. As a bonus, the school principal was role playing as a culinary student yesterday, as he does so in every training program, to experience the student perspective. We toured the gifted academy, where middle-school members are also very involved in SkillsUSA, and we saw every training pathway in the facility. I recognized many instructors I’ve known through the years, and I visited with the school district superintendent and a school board member. The school was very excited about the recent SkillsUSA Career Essentials training from the national headquarters and is committed to integrating the curriculum campus-wide. It was a great day!

To top it all off, Janet and Pat took me to the Texas State Fair in the evening. It was big! I saw everything from a dog show and prize livestock to life-size butter sculptures. The Cotton Bowl is on the fairgrounds. So, in reflection, I was at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday and the Cotton Bowl on Wednesday. It’s all part of this incredible journey I’ve been blessed to travel.

Big thanks to the full team at Dubiski, Janet and Pat Conner, and Dr. Larry Teverbaugh for all their support!


  • On Oct. 5, staff member Courtney Ferrell conducted a SkillsUSA Career Essentials session at the Association for Career and Technical Education Region II Conference in Raleigh, N.C.
  • On Sept. 13, staff member Gene Dudley attended a Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) transition event at the Robotics Training Park in Decatur, Ala. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, was there. At the event, Gene talked with stakeholders about SkillsUSA becoming more involved with the FAME program.

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

Nov. 15 Membership Incentive Announced

Becoming 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. To receive these, instructors must submit membership and provide an email address: 2019 SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards, Jump into STEM! curriculum and SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Foundations.

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, Critical Thinking at Work (value $9.95). 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).

Visit www.skillsusa-register.org to register yourself and student members. 

How the New Perkins V Law Directly Relates to SkillsUSA 

On July 31, President Trump enacted law H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. This is the law that reauthorizes the 2006 Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and governs the federal investment in CTE.

To help chapter advisors understand the new legislation as it relates to SkillsUSA and other career and technical student organizations, following are a few important points.

First, the law defines career and technical education as a sequence of courses that:

  • “Provide technical proficiency or a postsecondary credential, which may include an industry recognized credential, a certificate, or an associate degree”
  • “Include competency-based, work-based, or other applied learning that supports the development of knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, employability skills, technical skills, and occupation specific skills …”

The SkillsUSA Framework embodies all of the above items. The SkillsUSA Career Essentials curriculum and Assessments provide blended instruction focused on project-based learning that lead to industry recognized credentials.

Second, a career and technical student organization, as defined in the law, “… means an organization for individuals enrolled in a CTE program that engages in CTE activities as an integral part of the program.”

CTSOs are not extracurricular or a club. CTSOs are for all CTE students.

If you have Perkins questions, contact Gene Dudley, SkillsUSA regional senior manager, at: gdudley@skillsusa.org.

Department of Education Data Shows Benefits of High School CTE

On Sept. 27, the U.S. Department of Education released a new interactive “data story” that illustrates career and technical education in American high schools and outcomes for students who participate. The data shows that CTE participation, especially in focusing studies by taking two or more CTE classes within the same career cluster, is positively correlated with both future employment and future earnings.

While 77% of students take at least one CTE class while in high school, only 37% of participants focus their studies on a single career cluster. Eight years after their expected graduation dates, students who focused on CTE courses while in high school had higher median annual earnings than students who did not.

The top three most prevalent career clusters in high schools are: Arts, Audiovisual Technology and Communication; Business Management and Administration; and Health Science.

The data story is a compact resource for learning more about CTE at the national and state levels. Highlights include:

  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in CTE are critical subjects for the U.S. economy, and STEM and STEM-related career clusters represent one-third of all CTE concentrations in high school (35%). The percentage of concentrations in STEM and STEM-related career clusters varies widely by state.
  • About three-fourths of all public school districts offer dual credit in CTE, that is, any CTE course that can earn both high school and postsecondary credit (73%). The percentage of public school districts that offer dual credit CTE courses is higher among districts with larger enrollments and in cities.
  • Descriptive data related to the education and labor market outcomes of CTE concentrators and non-CTE concentrators show more favorable outcomes for CTE concentrators. For example, the median annual earnings eight years after high school graduation are $23,950 for CTE concentrators, compared to $20,015 for non-concentrators — a difference of nearly $4,000.

To see the data story, go to: www2.ed.gov/datastory/cte/index.html.

Winning Design Picked for SkillsUSA Week T-shirt  

Congratulations to the winner of the 2020 SkillsUSA Week T-shirt design contest. The winning design was produced by Courtney Hand from Cumberland County Technical Education Center in Vineland, N.J. Her advisor is Lauren Hawk. The winner will receive a $500 award, and her chapter will receive $2,500.

State Champion Banners Discounted Until Oct. 25

State SkillsUSA directors: SkillsUSA state champion banners are available to pre-order until Oct. 25 for $9 each. The banners are available for any year and contest name. Invoices will be sent after order delivery in early February. To receive an order form or to place your order, please email Kim DeVenuto at: kdevenuto@egroupengage.com. 

Apply Now for ACTE Teacher and Lifetime Service Awards 

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is seeking nominations for its National Trade and Industrial Education Division Awards. The deadline is Nov. 1. Qualified individuals may be nominated in the following categories, or you may nominate yourself. (If you nominate someone else, please inform that person in advance.)

  • Lifetime Service
  • Outstanding New Teacher Award
  • Outstanding Teacher Award

The winner in each category receives a $500 travel stipend to attend the ACTE CareerTech VISION conference in Anaheim, Calif., Dec. 4-7. ACTE’s CareerTech VISION offers four days of professional development, networking opportunities and direct access to thousands of people representing all facets of career and technical education. SkillsUSA actively participates in this annual conference, so look for us on the program or visit our trade show booth. Award winners will be notified by Nov. 15.

To nominate someone for the Teacher and Lifetime Service Awards, go to: http://bit.ly/ACTE-2019-Awards. 

For conference information, go to: www.acteonline.org/event/careertech-vision-2019/.

Mark Your Calendar: Dates of Future National Conferences

Here are dates of the annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference through the year 2023:

  • June 22-26, 2020 (56th)
  • June 21-25, 2021 (57th)
  • June 20-24, 2022 (58th)
  • June 19-23, 2023 (59th)

The SkillsUSA Store Goes Social

SkillsUSA has a new social media account for the SkillsUSA Store. Make sure to follow the new store account so you don’t miss coolest and newest SkillsUSA clothing, accessories and gift items. To see future promotions for these products, follow @skillsusastore on Instagram and earn chances to win free prizes.

Instagram account name: @skillsusastore
Instagram hashtag: #SkillsUSAStore #ShopSkillsUSA
URL: instagram.com/skillsusastore/ 

Encourage Your Students to Apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Applications are now open for the 2020 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, honoring students in grades 5-12 for making meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service. Now in its 25th year, this program — sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) — celebrates young volunteers and generates positive publicity for your school. 

Students who have volunteered over the past year can apply for an award by Nov. 5. Schools must then certify top applicants for state-level judging by Nov. 15. Qualifying certified applicants will receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award and will be eligible to earn a $1,000 scholarship or more, a medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for four days of special recognition events.

State-level honorees will be announced in February. In the meantime, schools can recognize top applicants for their volunteer service and hold them up as role models for their peers by presenting them with Prudential Spirit of Community Award certificates. Program details were mailed to school principals and are also available at: www.nassp.org/recognition/student-awards/prudential-spirit-of-community-awards/.

National Apprenticeship Week Coming

This year’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is Nov. 11-17. This national celebration, established by the U.S. Department of Labor, brings together leaders in business, labor, educational institutions and Americans interested in apprenticeships. It showcases 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. 

Cybersecurity Education Award Nominations Sought

On Oct. 7, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a call for nominations for a new Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award. The U.S. Department of Education created the award in consultation with the deputy assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism at the National Security Council and the National Science Foundation.

Beginning in the spring of 2020, the award will be presented each year to two educators, one elementary and one secondary, who instill in their students the skills, knowledge and passion for cybersecurity and related subjects.

Recipients of this honor will be publicly recognized as a leader in the field of cybersecurity education, as well as receive professional development opportunities.

Educators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, all U.S. territories, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools and tribal areas are eligible. Anyone may nominate an educator, and self-nominations are permitted.

The nominations close on Jan. 31, 2020. For the specifics on how to apply, please visit: www2.ed.gov/documents/presidential-cybersecurity-education-award.pdf. 

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 after Oct. 15 at: www.careersafeonline.com. 

World Series of Innovation Competition Open to Young Entrepreneurs 

World Series of Innovation is an online, project-based competition sponsored by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Young innovators from across the globe are encouraged to enter the competition every fall and compete for cash prizes.

In the competition, small teams of young entrepreneurs (age 13-24) create business solutions that align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and answer a special challenge posed by an entity from the private sector. Some teams compete independently, some are affiliated with schools or youth development organizations, and some undertake a challenge as a guided classroom project. Educators who are interested in using the World Series of Innovation in the classroom or encouraging student participation as an extracurricular enrichment opportunity can access a robust toolkit that provides additional resources for students and teachers.

Visit https://innovation.nfte.com/ now to read more about the winners of the Spring 2019 challenges recently completed. 

Help 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 our 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/. 

Definition of SkillsUSA Official Attire Updated 

Wearing 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

Free Safety Resources Available for Postsecondary Educators

Statistics indicate that every day, two to three workers die on construction sites in the United States. New and young workers are at highest risk for injury. But through safety education, career and technical programs can help keep future workers safe.

Free resources are available to help postsecondary instructors and administrators:

  • Assess your program, using the online assessment tools, to determine how it’s doing in the areas of safety and health management systems, instructor qualifications and support, effective teaching and learning, and offsite learning
  • Learn how to prepare students to work safely in hazard-filled environments
  • Download and share handouts that can be used at your meetings

The free resources are available at: http://bit.ly/cte-guide. 

SkillsUSA has supported this effort, based on research conducted in 2015-16 by the University of California Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program and West Virginia University’s Injury Control Research Center. Other supporters include the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Association for Skilled and Technical Sciences, and the National Council for Workforce Education. Funding came from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), through CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Due Dates

Oct. 15: IRS Reporting Form (Form No. 2) due
Oct. 25: State Champion Banner discount for state SkillsUSA directors
Nov. 5: Prudential Spirit of Community Award volunteer service applications due
Nov. 15: Membership registration to receive free resources due
Jan. 31: Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award nominations due
March 1: National Youth Safety Video Contest submissions due

National Staff Travel

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. 24-25: Detroit/Meeting with Carhartt/Cathy Arrington
Oct. 27-29: Oasis, Mo./District Officer Training/Sylvia Phillips
Oct. 28: Greensboro, N.C./North Carolina Community College business and industry meeting/Gene Dudley
Oct. 28-30: Lake Lanier, Ga./Georgia Work-Based Learning and Youth Apprenticeship Fall Conference/Sylvia Phillips
Oct. 30: Arlington, Va./Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute meeting/Cathy Arrington and Josie Wolfe
Oct. 30-31: Ripley, W.Va./West Virginia Fall Leadership Conference/Tim Lawrence

Nov. 1-2: Nashua, N.H./Region 1 Advisor Training/Sylvia Phillips
Nov. 3-4: Albany, N.Y./New York Fall Leadership Conference/Sylvia Phillips
Nov. 13: Moline, Ill./John Deere meeting/Cathy Arrington and Josie Wolfe
Nov. 17: Dallas/CBRE meeting/Eric Gearhart
Nov. 18-20: Atlanta, Ga./service provider meetings/Shelly Coates, Ashley Ridgeway and Kaitlin Youngs
Nov. 19: Austin, Texas/Meeting with SkillsUSA Texas/Eric Gearhart
Nov. 19: Leesburg, Va./NCC–CTSO meeting/Tim Lawrence

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