Executive Update: November 1, 2019

Executive Update: November 1, 2019

Tim Lawrence

Important Dates
Nov. 11-17: National Apprenticeship Week
Dec. 4-7 : Association for Career and Technical Education CareerTech Vision Conference, Anaheim, Calif.
Jan. 11-12: Conference Management System “Boot Camp,” Leesburg, Va.
Feb. 2-8: SkillsUSA Week

Executive Director’s Report

Great Video Coverage of Bunk Bed Build
Over 300 SkillsUSA students from across Los Angeles gathered at Rose Bowl Stadium on Oct. 8 for the Generation T Bunk Bed Build. The group worked with industry partners to build 100 bunk beds for Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a nonprofit dedicated to building, assembling and delivering beds to children in need.

Some beds were headed to local families in Pasadena, while others were designated for victims of last year’s Camp Fire. Generation T is Lowe’s Hardware’s effort to raise awareness for the skilled trades gap in America.

Nationally known blogger and YouTuber Matt Risinger covered the event on the “Build Show,” which has a following of 62,000 YouTube subscribers. The video features SkillsUSA members, and I am in the video starting at 15:24. See it below:

Lowe’s also created a video about the build, and it includes comments by SkillsUSA California director Clay Mitchell. To view it, see below:

‘Talent Forward 2019’ Discusses Workforce Pipelines
On Oct. 24, I attended Talent Forward 2019, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, at the invitation of Sharon Bonney of the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE). Phenomenal speakers covered the skills gap, competency-based hiring, talent pipelines, jobs of the future, diversity and equity in the workplace. The presenters were high-level executives from corporations such as Walmart, FedEx, Microsoft, Best Buy and Google. The focus was on strategies to find untapped talent for the workforce, with the recurring theme finding, training and employing people from nontraditional sources.

More than 500 employers, government officials and nonprofit social impact leaders attended. The first panel included singer-songwriter John Legend. Some of our partners also supported the gathering, including UTI, Working Nation, COABE, Best Buy, K12 and Pearson. It was great to see SkillsUSA Foundation member Katie George from CareerSafe.

COABE CEO Sharon Bonney was one of the morning speakers and gave a powerful presentation about the adult learning community. She gave a strong plug to SkillsUSA and to our SkillsUSA Career Essentials Credential. To read more about the event, go to: www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/TalentForward2019


  • On Oct. 11-13, staff members Courtney Ferrell and Taryn Zeigler ran an exhibit booth for the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite at the annual National Career Pathways Network Conference in Orlando, Fla. Courtney also led a session called “Teaching Employability Skills — Methods that Work,” and it was packed with 65 participants.
  • On Oct. 16-18, staff member Dave Worden attended the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky., where the six national medalists from the 2019 SkillsUSA Championships Power Equipment Technology competition were invited to showcase their talents during the trade show. The students rotated through six stations, performing skills in ignition, electrical systems, valves and engine block systems, diagnostic and failure analysis and general competencies. They were scored by industry representatives from the anchor sponsor Ariens Co. as well as Echo, Kohler Co., MTD, Toro and the Equipment and Engine Training Council. The sponsors covered all expenses for the students and their advisors.
  • On Oct. 17, staff member Eric Gearhart met with Leo Breaux, director of workforce development for CBRE and several members of CBRE’s supplier’s council in Dallas. And, on Oct. 19 he traveled to Burnet, Texas, to meet with the SkillsUSA Texas high-school association’s board of directors to discuss options for forming a foundation.
  • On Oct. 18, staff member Gene Dudley met with Michael Barnette of the Alabama Community College System to discuss its possible implementation of the SkillsUSA Career Essentials as a pilot for Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education programs.
  • On Oct. 19, the SkillsUSA Championships team of Dave Worden, Jim Kregiel and Dennis Peaton hosted a Teamsters appreciation luncheon. For the 2019 SkillsUSA Championships, members of Local 89 assisted with the load-in and load-out of materials from our Louisville warehouse to the Kentucky Exposition Center. Their manpower and support have been invaluable.
  • On Oct. 21-23, staff member Sylvia Phillips participated in SkillsUSA Florida’s Fall Leadership Conference in Leesburg, Fla. About 150 Florida members attended the three-day conference, which focused on the development and demonstration of the 17 Essential Elements of the SkillsUSA Framework. Sylvia facilitated a two-day Chapter Management Institute for about 30 teachers. Topics included SkillsUSA Framework integration strategies, chapter planning and recruitment, program of work, Jump into STEM!, our Chapter Excellence Program and the SkillsUSA Career Essentials suite.
  • On Oct. 21-24, staff member Gene Dudley attended the National Association of State Directors of Adult Education Conference in Seattle. While there he strengthened relationships and introduced the SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences adult learner course.
  • On Oct. 22-25, staff members Ashley Ridgeway, Kaitlin Youngs and Shelly Coates held a planning session for our 2020 national conference in Louisville, Ky. As you know, SkillsUSA will hold its sixth and final year of the conference in Louisville in 2020 before moving to Atlanta in 2021.
  • On Oct. 23, staff member Courtney Ferrell facilitated SkillsUSA Career Essentials certification training at the 2019 Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education Conference in Hampton, Va.

Thank you for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

Headquarters Prepares for New Executive Director 

Transition is in the air as SkillsUSA Executive Director Timothy Lawrence prepares to retire and new Executive Director Chelle Travis takes her position at the national headquarters. SkillsUSA will welcome Chelle with a staff reception on Nov. 4, followed by her first staff meeting and then a SkillsUSA Foundation meeting that afternoon. On that date, Tim Lawrence becomes executive director emeritus. He will continue as an advisor to Chelle through his official retirement date of Feb. 14, 2020.

After 19 years as the organization’s leader, Tim has been busy preparing transition materials and cleaning out his office to prepare it for a new occupant. Staff has enjoyed a trip down memory lane in looking at the many photos, plaques and gifts Tim has received over the past two decades, as he packs up some very special belongings and places other items in display cases or elsewhere at the headquarters. Staff held a short appreciation event for Tim on Oct. 28 around Champions Circle to thank him for his service to them.

To send Tim a message and wish him well, you can reach him at tlawrence@skillsusa.org through Feb. 14 and after that at tl147@aol.com. Senior administrative assistant to the executive director Sandy Moore will be maintaining both Chelle’s and Tim’s calendars if you have requests for either of them; email her at smoore@skillsusa.org.

Apply Today for the 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 today, 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, where they will be recognized. ACTE’s CareerTech VISION offers four days of professional development and  networking with thousands of people representing all facets of career and technical education. SkillsUSA actively participates in this conference, so look for us on the program or visit our exhibit 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/. 

Job Openings Posted at SkillsUSA 

There are new job postings on the SkillsUSA website: one for one program manager for the SkillsUSA Championships and two for program specialists in the Office of Education. Interested applicants should submit a résumé and cover letter to Missy Wilson at mwilson@skillsusa.org on or before Nov. 6. View the job descriptions here: www.skillsusa.org/about/careers-at-skillsusa/. 

Nov. 15 Membership Incentive Deadline is Near 

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 when they 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, teachers who register 15 or more student members plus one or more professionals by Nov. 15 will receive a copy of the SkillsUSA book 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. If you need assistance with SkillsUSA membership or registration, hotline operators 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. You can also chat online on the membership registration site. 

Username Security Changes for Membership Registration System

SkillsUSA has updated the membership website to be more aligned with current security practices and to protect private information of members. With this change, only the advisor who is listed for the training program will be able to view member details, join and make changes for the members of that training program.

If your school has one authorized advisor who will register members for all training programs and needs access, please call the hotline to request school administrative access at 1-844-875-4557. 

National Apprenticeship Week is Nov. 11-17 

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. 

Encourage Students to Apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards 

Applications close soon 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 a 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. 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.

Qualifying certified applicants will receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award and will be eligible to earn a scholarship, a medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Program details were mailed to school principals and are also available at: www.nassp.org/recognition/student-awards/prudential-spirit-of-community-awards/. 

‘Boot Camp’ on State Conference Scoring Set for January 

State SkillsUSA directors: SkillsUSA will be holding a Conference Management System “boot camp” with programmer Mark Williams on Jan. 11-12 in Leesburg, Va. The training is for state SkillsUSA directors and anyone who works with the state scoring system.

The training begins at noon on Saturday Jan. 11 (lunch provided) and ends at noon on Sunday Jan. 12. 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 must pay for their travel and lodging. To reserve a room, call the Comfort Suites at 703-669-1650 and request the SkillsUSA room block. There is a free shuttle service to the hotel from Washington Dulles International Airport.

To register, go to: www.surveymonkey.com/r/CMSBC2020. Registration must be received by Dec. 13. 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.

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 on stage at the national conference. Rules are posted on the SkillsUSA website at: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/pin-design-challenge/.

Seeking Talented Singers to Open Conference

SkillsUSA is seeking a talented student or adult member to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Opening Ceremony of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference on June 23, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. Auditions must be received by Feb. 3. SkillsUSA does not pay any travel expenses for the selected singer to attend the national conference.

To audition, submit a video of yourself singing the national anthem: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/national-anthem-auditions/. 

Nominations Open for Inaugural Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award

Nominations are now open for the inaugural Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award. This honor will recognize educators who are doing great work to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. The award will be presented to two educators — one at the elementary level and one at the secondary level — who demonstrate superior achievement in instilling skills, knowledge, and passion with respect to cybersecurity and cybersecurity-related subjects.  Winners will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., public recognition and other professional opportunities. 

Nominations close Jan. 31, 2020. To apply, visit: www2.ed.gov/documents/presidential-cybersecurity-education-award.pdf. 

Who’s Ready to Show Your Style 

The SkillsUSA Store has introduced a brand-new T-shirt with this year’s theme, “SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, I’m Ready.” To see the shirt and pricing, go to: www.skillsusa.org/whos-ready-for-a-new-t-shirt/. To place an order, contact Kim DeVenuto at 703-674-5454 or kdevenuto@egroupengage.com. 

Young Entrepreneurs Eligible for World Series of Innovation

World Series of Innovation is an online, project-based competition sponsored by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Young innovators from across the globe ages 13-24 can enter the competition and compete for cash prizes.

Small teams will create business solutions that align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Some teams compete independently while others are affiliated with schools or programs like SkillsUSA. Students can compete on their own or in teams of two or three. For the current sustainability-themed innovation challenges that close Dec. 16, and details on how to compete, visit: https://innovation.nfte.com/. 

New Fundraiser is ‘Double Good’

Double Good Popcorn is a new fundraising program for SkillsUSA chapters that seeks to make fundraising simple and effective.

Chapter advisors can set up a fundraiser online and provide a code to their student members to join. Members then set up individual online stores and share their link by social media, personal text or flier to sell Double Good’s popcorn to family and friends.

Once the fundraiser is over, the chapter will receive a check for 50% of all sales. Chapters do not have to handle money and the popcorn is shipped directly to each buyer. This is an effective way to raise funds to cover the costs of attending SkillsUSA conferences, pay for chapter activities or membership dues. A portion of the proceeds go to the state SkillsUSA association and the national association to fund future member services.

To learn more, go to www.SkillsUSAFundraising.com to request a sample package of popcorn and details on how to get started. Double Good can also provide marketing resources such as fliers, postcards, email blast information and social medial content. For more information, contact  info@skillsusafundraising.com or 309-267-9012 for more information.

Due Dates

Nov. 1: Nominations deadline for ACTE’s National Trade and Industrial Education Division Awards
Nov. 5: Prudential Spirit of Community Award volunteer service applications due
Nov. 6: Applications due for SkillsUSA job openings
Nov. 15: Membership registration to receive free resources due
Dec. 13: Registrations due for January conference scoring “boot camp”
Jan. 31: Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award nominations due
Feb. 3 : National Conference Pin and T-Shirt Design entries due
Feb. 3 : National Anthem audition videos due
March 1: National Youth Safety Video Contest submissions due

National Staff Travel

Nov. 3-4: Albany, N.Y./New York Fall Leadership Conference/Sylvia Phillips
Nov. 11-12: Scottsdale, Ariz./ASE Foundation board meeting/Eric Gearhart
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