Update from Tim Lawrence
Spring is back and it brings state conferences, competitions and other SkillsUSA activities to the peak season. I have had an amazing time visiting many of your state leadership and skills conferences and seeing your students in action. It’s always inspiring and I know the students are participating because of your support and inspiration. I hope your chapters’ participation has been exciting and rewarding. As you are beginning to wind down your school year, I hope to see many of you at the 2014 National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City next month.
NASDCTEc Spring Meeting
I attended the Spring National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium (NASDCTEc) meeting in Washington D.C. March 31 - April 3. A report at the NASDCTEc meeting showed that 31 states had made a higher investment in CTE in 2013. And, 41 states had some type of legislation supporting CTE last year. This data came from a report co-produced by ACTE and NASDCTEc. It includes significant actions that took place last year and is categorized by state. Here is the link.
Regarding Perkins funding, representatives from both sides of the aisle and from the House and Senate spoke during the meeting. Some in Congress see early movement to get Perkins re-authorized (as early as October 2014) and others see a much longer timeframe, possibly even a continuing resolution that carries funding into the next election. Both agree it’s unlikely there will be a major overhaul of Perkins and that the funding amount will likely not be increased. There are many programs competing for federal funds – from medical research to job training – and new money will not be available, according to one appropriations committee member from the Senate. And, there is the philosophy (to which we agree) that funding should follow labor market demand and be aligned with business. We believe local business and industry advisory committees are critical to program alignment with business needs and credentialing – that is where SkillsUSA has always stood – and, where our hundreds of business partners have always stood with us.
There was a constant stream of meetings and discussions of CTE and STEM. A wide array of federal legislation is moving forward to encourage students to enter STEM courses and several STEM organizations are emerging at national and state levels. It was mentioned that STEM in CTE is clear to us, but it is not always clear to those outside our education community. The CEO of “Change the Equation” spoke on behalf of the business community and stated that, in the current job market, there are 3.8 people looking for one job. But, there are 1.9 STEM jobs available for each job seeker. STEM occupations make up 11 percent of the workforce. (The Brookings Institution says 20 percent of all U.S. jobs.) SkillsUSA has STEM alignment as a major focus of our FY15 Strategic Plan.
WorldSkills Americas Competition
The WorldSkills Americas Competition concluded on April 5, and the U.S. team has returned from Bogotá, Columbia with two silver medals and a “Best in Nation.” Jake Wozniak (N.Y.) won a silver medal in cabinetmaking and Mike Mullen (Calif.) won a silver medal in automobile technology and also earned a “Best in Nation” award. There are some great photos on our website.
This will be the last newsletter of this school year, and we’ll start up again in September 2014. Thank you for all you do for the great students we serve.
SkillsUSA assessments offers over 40 technical and employability assessments in 10 cluster areas including four co-branded assessments with ASE/AYES and five co-branded assessments with PrintED/GAERF. You can find a complete list of assessments and the blueprints that describe the standards, competencies and academic skills tied to each assessment here.
To Order Skill Connect Assessments go to the Work Force Ready System site and click the link “Order Skill Connect Assessments.” Next, click the button “Buy Now” or the link for step-by-step instructions if you need a visual job aid to help you through the ordering process. Test vouchers are non-refundable and are good for one year from purchase date. Voucher exchanges from one assessment area to another are permitted.
Ensure you read the four-step “Testing Instructions” prior to test day at this link. Information on hardware and software requirements, registration of students, voucher distribution can be found here. Additional help on these various steps can be viewed by a webinar. See the archived training webinar “Assessment Ordering and Management Tools”at the webinars link.
Grade Reports and Certificates
Printing certificates for students who have met the industry cut-score is easy and can be accessed in the grade book by the authorized administrator. Click on the Course Status “Completed” to display and print the certificates. For step-by-step instructions, go to this page. Additional administrator reports for pre and post testing, competency and summary reports are found in the Voucher and Teacher Tools section under Reports.
Teacher Preparation Guides
Teacher Preparation Guides are now available for most of our assessment areas. For a complete list, go to this page. We will be adding more soon!
Please note our new phone number, email address and hours of operation.
Direct: 1-866-444-7779/Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Help Desk Support Hours: Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. EDT
National Week of Service
We invite all our chapters to participate in the SkillsUSA National Week of Service on May 4-10. Chapters may participate in two ways: 1) conduct a community service project during that week; or 2) promote a service project the chapter did earlier in the school year during that week. This will help commemorate the founding of SkillsUSA on May 8, 1965. The SkillsUSA National Week of Service not only shines a spotlight on SkillsUSA’s dedication to serving others, but it also showcases the skills and expertise of career and technical education students who are learning to become tomorrow’s leaders.
We encourage chapter advisors to send a brief report on their community service activities to Gayle Silvey at the national headquarters – email@example.com. Please let us know in a paragraph or two what the chapter does to help the community, and we’ll post these reports and photos online. The first 50 chapters that report Week of Service plans to the national headquarters will receive a free item.
Chapter Excellence Program
This summer, SkillsUSA will launch a new program. The Chapter Excellence Program establishes a quality baseline that all chapters will be encouraged to attain with extra incentive for exemplary chapter performance. The program consists of three award tiers, with the first two tiers recognized at the state level and the final tier eligible for national recognition. The first tier honors chapters for achieving essential standards of excellence as a “Quality Chapter.” The second tier recognizes chapters that go beyond the baseline requirements with bronze, silver and gold “Chapters of Distinction” awards. Finally, the third tier honors the very best chapters in the nation through a “Models of Excellence” award. These chapters define excellence across the board, serving as models for other chapters to emulate in strengthening their local programs. Achievement is based on student efforts in assuming key workplace skills including personal responsibility, integrity, work ethic and organization in chapter activities. The Chapter Excellence Program is focused on the learning and skills developed by students as a result of chapter involvement versus honoring chapters simply by the number of activities they employ throughout the year. Look for more news on this program as it gains momentum over the course the coming year.
Try HP LIFE e-Learning and Enter to Win an HP Slate Tablet
HP LIFE e-Learning is a free online training program available for high school and community college/ technical college faculty and students to teach key business concepts and IT skills. There are 23 interactive course modules covering finance, operations, marketing, communications and special topics that provide an exciting resource for business, entrepreneurship and technical courses. If you would like to take a closer look, register for HP LIFE e-Learning at www.life-global.org/go/skillsusa, take a course, then visit the Educator tab and tell NACCE (National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship) how you think HP LIFE e-Learning can work in your class or program. Email your comments to Kim Norbuta at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30, 2014 and your name will be entered into a drawing to win an HP Slate. The drawing will take place on July 1, 2014 and the winner will be notified by email.
HP LIFE e-Learning users see immediate results through this self-paced program. Just ask the SkillsUSA North Carolina state gold medal Entrepreneurship team:
“This year’s North Carolina SkillsUSA Entrepreneurship team used HP LIFE as the primary resource when developing the different sections of the business plan. HP LIFE e-Learning courses provided students with tools and information on business terms and concepts as they work through the different aspects of the business plan.” - Darcie Tumey, instructor of Business Administration, Catawba Valley Community College with the 2014 state-winning Entrepreneurship team competition.
Through HP’s partnership with NACCE, HP LIFE e-Learning has been integrated into community college programs and business centers across the United States and has received strong endorsement from both faculty and students. The flexibility of the program has allowed HP LIFE e-Learning to be used in ways that fit the needs of each individual program.
Those instructors attending national conference can learn how to incorporate HP LIFE e-Learning into your curriculum and training program by visiting the HP LIFE booth at SkillsUSA TECHSPO and make plans to participate in the SkillsUSA University session. You can also contact Kim Norbuta at email@example.com for more information.
Pin Design and T-shirt Winners
Congratulations to Marianna Crespin, the 2014 winner of the SkillsUSA National Pin Design Competition. She is a student at Warren Tech in Arvada Colo. Her advisor is Scot Odendahl.
Congratulations also to Eric Villanueva, the 2014 winner of the SkillsUSA National T-shirt Competition. He is a ROP Silkscreening student at Apple Valley (Calif.) High School. His advisor is Mary Livingston.
Both students will be recognized along with their advisors at the Opening Ceremony of the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City this June. Each of their high schools will receive $6,000 from Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation for classroom and equipment improvements. Each participant at NLSC will receive a conference T-shirt and pin showcasing the design through the Lowe’s sponsorship.
Winners of the 2014 SkillsUSA Student Leadership Development Scholarship for Leverage Training
The winners of the SkillsUSA Student Leadership Development Scholarship for Leverage Training in Kansas City, Mo. next month have been announced. They are:
- Alyshia Buchholz, Sheyenne Valley Area Career and Tech. Center, Valley City, N.D.
- Shaili Mehta, Westwood High School, Austin, Texas
- Quinel Nabors, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Ripley, Tenn.
- Emily Stephenson, Prosser Career Education Center, New Albany, Ind.
Career Readiness Curriculum
SkillsUSA is serious about answering the drastic skills gap in today’s workforce and ensuring that CTE programs are effectively combining relevant workplace skills with academic standards. The Career Readiness Curriculum (CRC) was developed so that students are prepared for workplace success. CRC supports the framework of the SkillsUSA mission, which includes personal, workplace, and technical skills grounded in academics – all essential to a successful, student-oriented CTE program. This innovative curriculum includes 25 lesson plans and is based on Common Core State Standards and infuses 21st Century Skills into student engagement activities. The Career Readiness Curriculum will be available this fall and is a free, member benefit as part of payment for SkillsUSA professional membership dues.
Searching for States to Host State Farm-Funded Training Seminars
State Farm Insurance is, once again, generously sponsoring regional Professional Development Program (PDP), Chapter Management Institute (CMI) seminars, Career Skills Education Program (CSEP) and Enhance Your Chapter (EYC) seminars. All materials and training will be free to participants. The only cost is $30 for lunch and breaks. PDP participants will receive a complete set of PDP materials and free licenses for each level. CMI participants will receive an ASK CD, a SkillsUSA Leadership Handbook and the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards CD package. CSEP participants will receive one free CSEP license. EYC participants will receive the Leveraging your Leadership Series and other new materials.
If you would like to sign-up for or host a regional PDP, CMI, CSEP or EYC training seminar, please contact Stephanie Bland at 703-737-0622 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A minimum of 25 participants is needed to conduct the training.
For the latest seminar information, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/training.shtml.
Million Women Mentors Awareness and Engagement Campaign
SkillsUSA has a strategic partnership with Million Women Mentors, an initiative to identify mentors of young women who are interested in or are actively pursuing education and careers in STEM-related fields. Any SkillsUSA teacher/advisor, male or female, delivering a STEM-related curriculum who has a female student(s) in his or her class can be recognized as a mentor. Enlisting and retaining more women in STEM occupations benefits both the U.S. economy and the young women themselves. You can find some compelling statistics about women in the STEM workforce at: www.millionwomenmentors.org/#awareness.
Individuals or schools can sign a “Pledge to Mentor” at MWM’s home page: www.millionwomenmentors.org/#home. Click on the button by that name, then click on “Individual” or “Educational Institution” under the “Type” pull-down menu. In the space for “Company/Organization,” type in your school’s name and append “- SkillsUSA” after your school’s name. There are no obligations involved in signing up beyond your continuing efforts to encourage and mentor young women in their STEM interests and education.
Million Women Mentors is an awareness and engagement campaign of STEMconnector that seeks to enlist one million mentors of young women interested in STEM-related careers.
The Following Items Apply To Advisors and Students Who Will Be Attending the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo., June 23-27, 2014
2014 mikeroweWORKS Foundation “Competitor” Travel Scholarship
For the fourth year, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation is offering a $1,000 travel scholarship for the 2014 NLSC to 50 competitors based on financial need. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, in partnership with SkillsUSA, is proud to offer a scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA members who have competed and placed first in their state association competition. The scholarship will provide support for SkillsUSA state contest winners who have insufficient personal, chapter, school or community resources to participate at the 2014 national SkillsUSA Championships. A total of 50 $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to help offset the costs of travel and to participate in the national SkillsUSA Championships. The winners will also have the opportunity to attend a luncheon with a member of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation staff during the conference.
The award will be based on a student-written, one-page narrative describing the student’s financial need for the scholarship, including the lack of school or community resources. The student may be nominated. A letter of recommendation written by the student’s advisor or state director is required. Applications are to be sent to the national office of SkillsUSA for review and determination and they must be received (not postmarked) byTuesday, June 3, 2014.
National Young Worker Safety Day
National Young Worker Safety Day (NYWSD) kicks off Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 9 a.m. at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City. As part of the larger campaign, “A Million Safer,” led by CareerSafe, NYWSD is targeted at making a significant and critical impact on decreasing the number of young worker injuries and fatalities in the United States. At the CareerSafe TECHSPO booth (booth C), students and teachers will sign the pledge to “StartSafe. StaySafe.” just like more than 5,000 others who made the same pledge on NWYSD in 2013. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in interactive safety games and win great prizes that will further teach the importance of young worker safety training. In addition, students and teachers will have the opportunity to gather valuable safety materials and ask experienced CareerSafe staff about safety-related questions and concerns.
Blood Drive at NLSC 2014
There will again be a blood drive as part of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. The drive will be sponsored by the Kansas City Community Blood Center and will be held on Friday, June 27, Bartle Hall, Room 2105 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Blood collected will be used in the Kansas City community, and it is very much in need of donations.
Please try to take the time to stop by and participate in this worthy cause and help save a life. You may also register for an appointment ahead of time at: www.esavealifenow.org and enter the sponsor code “SkillsUSA.”
Note: Donors must weigh no less than 115 lbs and must be at least 17 years of age (or a donor can be 16 years of age with written parental permission).
NLSC Attire at Champions Night
SkillsUSA Night and Champions Night (Tuesday, June 24th) at Barney Allis Plaza, across from the Downtown Marriott Kansas City on 12th Street, the dress code is as follows: all attendees are required to wear a SkillsUSA logo shirt. This can be a state T-shirt or polo shirt. As with all SkillsUSA conference events, the official conference name badge/lanyard and holder are also required for entrance. NEW this year: attendees of this event will be asked for $1 admission fee at the gate. The money collected will go to a local Kansas City youth charity in SkillsUSA’s name in appreciation for 21 years hosting the national conference.
SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race
SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race will take place on Wednesday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in connection with TECHSPO during the NLSC in Kansas City. This program will be similar to the TV show where participants will be challenged to perform various tasks and move quickly through the SkillsUSA TECHSPO territory in order to learn more about exhibitors and win prizes. In addition, SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race will provide interactive fun for students and adults. The passport will be distributed through the state delegation conference materials included at the registration appointments at the beginning of the week.
NLSC 2014 National Courtesy Corps Members Needed
SkillsUSA is looking for National Courtesy Corps (NCC) members who have an active SkillsUSA membership. NCC members provide services to assist in the set up and take down of the conference and other activities as assigned.
We ask members to arrive on Saturday (6/21/14), by 4 p.m. so they can start to work in the contest areas on Sunday (6/22/14). They will depart from conference on Saturday (6/28/14).
All NCC participants will be housed at Park University Campus in Parkville, Mo. This campus is about 12-15 minutes away from Bartle Hall. Meals will be provided as well and your conference registration fee is covered.
Advisors must supervise the students. SkillsUSA will develop an individual schedule for each student and advisor listing work assignments, breaks, free time, etc., and there will be a separate advisor session to review student duties and responsibilities.
There is also a new registration process for Courtesy Corps. To register go to this site and then follow the instructions.
If you have any questions, please contact Jim Kregiel at email@example.com or by phone to 703-737-0634.
Advance College Credit at Park University to Contestants in Selected Competitions Reminder
Park University is collaborating with SkillsUSA to provide advance college credit at the 50th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) to contestants for their performance in selected competitions.
To see the list of applicable competitions, the selected courses and apply for advance college credit, visit https://app.park.edu/SkillsUSA/form.aspx. (The cost per credit hour is $85.) If you have questions, please contact Wakisha.Briggs@park.edu or by phone to 816-584-6859.
The 2014 Major Appliance and Refrigeration Technology Competitor Scholarship Reminder
The Professional Service Association, in partnership with SkillsUSA, is proud to offer a scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA members who have competed and placed first in their state association Major Appliance and Refrigeration Technology competition.
The scholarship is to provide support for SkillsUSA state contest winners who have insufficient personal, chapter, school or community resources to participate at the 2014 National SkillsUSA Championships. Two $500 scholarships will be awarded to help offset the costs of travel and to participate in the National SkillsUSA Championships.
The award is based on a student-written, one-page narrative describing the student’s financial need for the scholarship including the lack of school or community resources. The student may be nominated with a letter of recommendation written by their advisor, or state director. Applications should be sent to the national office of SkillsUSA for review and determination. They must be received (not postmarked) by Monday, June 2, 2014. The national office will notify the winners the following week.