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Ideas for Celebrating SkillsUSA Week

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

February 9-15 is SkillsUSA Week and there are a lot of ways to celebrate. Some local chapters plan a different activity for each day of the week, while others pick one day and hold one or two events.

Below are some ideas for celebrating SkillsUSA Week:

Monday, February 10 – P.R. Day
> Make a school announcement, over the PA or school television station, about SkillsUSA Week and the special activities your chapter has planned.
> Hang SkillsUSA signs or banners throughout the school.
> Hold a poster or photo contest with prizes.
> Deliver SkillsUSA PSAs to local radio or television stations and invite the press to attend the events your chapter has planned during the week.
> Provide a news release and photographs to the school or local newspaper.
> Make a bulletin board or display about SkillsUSA for a school hallway.
> Set up a SkillsUSA information table in the school cafeteria to tell people about SkillsUSA.

Tuesday, February 11 – SkillsUSA Advisor Appreciation Day
> Make the instructors who support your program feel special and appreciated by hosting a lunch through the culinary program.
> Deliver cookies and a thank you note to instructors who support the program.
> Formally recognize the principal of your school with a certificate of appreciation and an honorary membership in SkillsUSA. Principals are vital in supporting your SkillsUSA chapter.

Wednesday, February 12 – Advocacy Day
SkillsUSA Week is an excellent time to make the community and business leaders in your community aware of your SkillsUSA chapter.
> Request a Proclamation from the Mayor, City Council, Board of Supervisors or School Board and ask if your local SkillsUSA officers can be present to receive it.
 > Invite local business, community and industry leaders to a chapter meeting to hear a presentation.
> Host an open house to showcase chapter activities and invite parents, community leaders, business and industry representatives, and middle school or elementary students who might be interested in technical career paths.
 > Visit a local elementary or middle school and talk about Career and Technical Education.

Thursday, February 13 – Leadership through Service Day
Conduct a community service activity to bring greater awareness to SkillsUSA.
 > Visit a nursing home to provide services to the residents.
> Hold a car care clinic.
 > Donate toys or other items to a local shelter or children’s hospital.
> Conduct a cleanup/early spring landscape program at your school.
> Offer to paint a mural at a day care center.

Friday, February 14 – Wear Red Day
Encourage all members to wear SkillsUSA T-shirts, polo shirts, or SkillsUSA official attire.
Share your SkillsUSA stories and explain that red is the color of the SkillsUSA official blazer.

Tell Utah CTE how your chapter is celebrating SkillsUSA Week. Send your stories and photos to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov.

If you are not a member of SkillsUSA, and would like to become a member, talk to your school counselor to get connected with the SkillsUSA advisor in your school.


SkillsUSA Pin and T-shirt Design Competition

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The national association of SkillsUSA is calling for pin and T-shirt design entries for the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, which will be held June 23-27, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. This design competition is open to all registered SkillsUSA student members who are enrolled in a Career and Technical Education program at a high school or postsecondary institution with an active SkillsUSA chapter.

Who: SkillsUSA student members

What: 2014 National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Competition

When: Now through February 1, 2014.

Why: The winning designs will become the official pin or T-shirt for the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

How: One entry per SkillsUSA member. Entry rules are located in the SkillsUSA membership kit.

Mail entries to:
SkillsUSA National Headquarters
14001 SkillsUSA Way
Leesburg, VA 20176

Deadline: Entries must be received (not postmarked) no later than Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Questions? Contact Heidi Walsh at hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

Prizes: A plaque for the teacher and student, plus a school grant to the advisor of the winning student will be announced at a later date.

View the 2013 winning designs.


SkillsUSA Video Competition

Monday, October 21st, 2013

SkilledUSA members, you know you’re educated and skilled, now it’s time to show America that you’re ready to lead! “Educated and Skilled to Lead America” is SkillsUSA’s theme this year. Your challenge is to create a video that showcases how you’re becoming educated and skilled and how you’re prepared and ready to lead. This is your opportunity to tell your story.

Who: Secondary and postsecondary students currently enrolled and registered as members of SkillsUSA.
What: Educated and Skilled to Lead America video competition.
Where: Upload entry to YouTube.
When: Submit entries no later than Friday, November 15, 2013.
How: Email your video entry link to khorton@skillsusa.org.

Entry requirements:
> The work can be done by an individual, a team, or an entire class. There is no limit on the number of students who can work on a video. However, the video must be entered under one chapter name. (There will only be one prize awarded for the winning video.)

> Entries must contain only original material (including music, images, etc.) unless written permission has been obtained. No trademarked, copyrighted, or otherwise branded materials—logos or products—may be used, except for the SkillsUSA logo.

> Participants may submit up to two entries.

> Entries should be between 2-3 minutes in length. Upload your entry to YouTube.

> Email your video entry link to khorton@skillsusa.org. Allow up to a 24-hour registration process.

> Entries will be disqualified if they contain vulgar or inappropriate content, are uploaded later than Friday, November 15, 2013, or use copyrighted material.

A panel of SkillsUSA partners will judge the entries. The top five entries will then be voted on by the public. Winners will be notified directly by SkillsUSA.

Winning video teams and/or their schools will receive prizes and recognition provided by SkillsUSA. The winning videos will be aired on the SkilledUSA website. The winning school will receive a $300 award. Up to two honorable mention awards of $100 each may also be awarded.

Questions? Email Kelly Horton khorton@skillsusa.org

Work Smart AND Hard

Friday, July 19th, 2013

By Dave Milliken, National SkillsUSA Board Member and Skilled and Technical Sciences Education specialist at the Utah State Office of Education

As one who has been to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) for the past 15 years, I came away from this year’s conference excited and wowed. The opening session featured Nick Pinchuk, Chairman and CEO of Snap-on Incorporated, and Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs. They both gave excellent speeches with messages just right for our students today – prepare yourself to work smart and hard. This means simply, it’s okay to have a job in the skilled trades.

Nick Pinchuk received the 2012 SkillsUSA CEO Champion of the Year Award. At this year’s conference he expressed his enthusiasm for SkillsUSA stating, “Just like in the space race, we need to make skilled workforce training a national priority. And, we need to make skilled careers a national calling. Technical education must possess that kind of priority focus. That’s one reason why I’m so enthusiastic about student organizations like SkillsUSA. They enable young people with the capabilities they need to win the global competition, and they create an excitement so that these young men and women readily embrace technical learning and avidly pursue those careers with pride.”

From my vantage point on the floor of Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mike Rowe was larger than life and his impact was fantastic. Mike is a great advocate of the skilled trades. As the creator, executive producer, and host of Discovery Channel‘s Dirty Jobs he has been the apprentice on 300 jobs throughout the U.S. In 2011, when Mike testified before the U.S. Senate about the skilled trades gap in the United States he stated, “As the host of a TV show about hard work (Dirty Jobs), people often assume I speak for tradesmen and skilled workers. In reality, I don’t. I can only speak for myself and anyone else who shares my addiction to paved roads, reliable bridges, heating, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing.”

At the conference, Mike told about an experience he had in high school when he met with his school counselor. “Back in the late 70s, a poster just like this was hanging in my high school. It was part of a college recruitment campaign called “Work Smart NOT Hard.” In the long history of bad advice, you’d have to look pretty hard to find something dumber than this. And yet, the expression is still with us.” READ MORE

As a result of this experience, at the conference Mike presented “a new platitude with a different attitude.” Mike said, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to promote “Work Smart AND Hard. The mikeroweWorks Foundation and Caterpillar Inc. (a leader in building the world’s infrastructure) has launched an initiative to promote alternative education and skilled trades called “Profoundly Disconnected.” Mike makes a case for the skilled trades and encourages parents, teachers, and students to consider the many benefits of an education that balances knowledge and skill. Mike Rowe and SkillsUSA are working together through a shared passion to promote Career and Technical Education and America’s skilled workforce.

Watch Mike talk about the “Worst Advise Ever.”
Watch Mike talk about the skills gap in America.
Watch Mike talk at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference

In my mind, this was the best SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference I have ever attended. Let’s keep up the great work and prepare our students to be leaders in this great land. Encourage students in your school to become a member of SkillsUSA and to participate in a Skilled and Technical Sciences Education Pathway. By doing so, students will develop essential career and life skills that will prepare them for the future.

WATCH the 2013 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference “Week in Review” video.







Photos courtesy of SkillsUSA
Poster images courtesy of mikeroweWORKS Foundation

Utah Students Win Medals at National Skills Competition

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Congratulations to the 38 Utah SkillsUSA student members who won medals last week at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference! Over 5,900 students competed in 98 hands-on skills and leadership competitions. From architectural drafting to plumbing to Web design Utah students showed off their skills which resulted in gold, silver, or bronze medals.

Dave Milliken, National SkillsUSA Board Member and Skilled and Technical Sciences Education specialist at the Utah State Office of Education said this about the competition. “Our postsecondary and secondary students represented the State of Utah very well at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) held in Kansas City, June 24- 28.  Utah students walked away with 18 gold, 10 silver, and 9 bronze medals in 24 different contests. This was good enough for 7th place nationally in the medal count.  Our students did a great job and performed to the highest caliber.”







And the winners are. . .view the list of Utah winners HERE.

View photos of the SkillsUSA Championships Contests

Watch portions of the SkillsUSA Championships Contests

Gold medal winners could qualify to participate in the 2015 World Skills Competition in San Paulo, Brazil. Today through July 7, SkillsUSA students are in Germany competing in the 2013 World Skills Competition.

SkillsUSA: Champions at Work

Students to Compete at SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

This week Utah SkillsUSA student members are in Kansas City, Missouri to compete against their peers in 98 hands-on skill and leadership SkillsUSA Championships competitions at the 49th SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference. Contests began locally, continued to state and then to the national level. More than 5,600 outstanding Career and Technical Education students, from across the nation who are all state winners, will compete in this event.

Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies set by industry. The is a multi-million-dollar event that occupies a space equivalent to more than 16 football fields. Leadership contestants will demonstrate skills including extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.

Over 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from more than 1,100 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions will participate in the event.

Join the conference by watching a live stream of the opening ceremony, competitive events, and the awards ceremony, beginning Wednesday, June 26.

> Opening Ceremony: Wednesday, June 26 at 6 p.m. CDT
> Competitive Events: Thursday, June 27 at 8 a.m. CDT
> Awards Ceremony: Friday, June 28 at 5 p.m. CDT

View: Conference Schedule

SkillsUSA: Champions at Work

Kylie Gines: Future News Reporter

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Kylie Gines, a student at South Summit High School, participated in a job shadow at KSL during her senior year. Kylie’s job shadow was in the news studio. “I got to listen in on a morning newscaster meeting where all the reporters shared their stories. I watched Amy Iverson do a morning television show and I learned how she does her radio show,” said Kylie. During the job shadow Kylie learned, “Broadcast journalists have a different workday every day and that most reporters do both radio and TV every day.”

What was the best part about Kylie’s job shadow experience? “I liked that I got to see everything that was in the studio and meet a lot of reporters and talk to them. I also had the opportunity to be on TV and get interviewed. It was a very personalized day, said Kylie.”

Kylie offers this advice to students who are thinking about participating in a job shadow, “I would say do it! It will help you with your whole future and realize what you may want to do.”

Kylie will be attending BYU-Idaho in the fall to purse a degree in Communications. She hopes to complete her education in Broadcast Communications.

Each year hundreds of Career and Technical Education students participate in job shadow. If you’re interested in participating in a job shadow contact the Work-Based Learning Coordinator at your school.

The House that Career and Technical Education Students Built

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

It all began on a hot summer day, on August 21, 2012, when twenty high school students in Alpine School District met on an empty lot in Lehi, Utah. It was the first day of class and the beginning of a project each student would never forget. This was the day they would start building a house from the ground up. The project continued throughout the school year with students working in the heat and the cold. Students participating in this project are part of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Skilled and Technical Sciences (STS) program. Kris Johnson, the project manager and an STS teacher, tells UtahCTE.org about the project.

Question: How many schools in Alpine School District are involved in this building project?
Answer: There are two construction programs in Alpine School District. The schools that attend my project are American Fork, Lehi, Lone Peak and Westlake High Schools.

Question: Would you explain the step-by-step process of building the house?
Answer: It all began in August with the excavation for the house. We use a typical construction schedule which means everything under the drywall needs to be done by the end of the calendar year so we can have a four-way inspection the first of January. The last half of the school year is finalizing the finish materials including: drywall, hand rails, finish carpentry, exterior concrete, shingles, painting, tile, cabinets and counter tops.

Question: How does each class begin?
Answer: At the beginning of each class, we spend twenty minutes talking about what we are going to do and the rest of the class time is spent working on that task.

Question: How are assignments given to each student?
Answer: In the beginning, we work as a team through framing the house and then areas are assigned to each student. Students are then responsible for the area in which they have been assigned. This is how we have accountability and I know by looking at the different areas if I was clear in my expectations.

Question: How did students obtain the materials to build the house?
Answer: The suppliers bid from our drawings like any other job. And then some suppliers go the extra mile by coming to the school and sharing their expertise with the students.

Question: What have been the challenges this year?
Answer: This year we are building a house with materials “Made in America”. This has limited our selection and slightly increased the cost of the house, but it has been a great learning experience.

Question: Who does the interior of the house?
Answer: The interior design classes from the four high schools take turns choosing the colors and making design decisions. Last year it was American Fork High School and this year it is Lehi High School. They do a great job and we appreciate their attention to detail.

Question: Who does the landscaping?
Answer: The landscaping will be left up to the buyer.

Question: What is the involvement of other CTE classes?
Answer: In years past; the sewing class has made drapes, the cabinet class has built cabinets, the business class has made brochures for the open house, the landscape class has landscaped it, and the art class has painted murals on the walls. This year we only have the cabinet, drafting, and interior design classes involved.

Kris told UtahCTE.org about a secret feature in the house, “We built a secret storage closet where no one knows how to get to it except the home owner and a few hundred high school students and their friends.”

The house is located at 640 West North Lake Drive in Lehi, Utah and has already been sold. The proceeds will go to Alpine School District. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on May 16. Visit Mr. Johnson’s Building Construction Class to view a series of photos showing the progression of the house.

Photo courtesy of James Roh, Daily Herald

There are several homes being built throughout the state by students under the supervision of qualified instructors. These projects provide great learning experiences for students, provide them real skills in the world of construction, and these experiences allows the students to grow through extending their education to our Applied Technology Centers (ATCs), community colleges, or university programs.

If you’re interested in being involved in a similar project at your high school contact your school counselor about registering for a Skilled and Technical Sciences (STS) class. Participating in one of the following STS Career Pathways will give you the hands-on experience to advance to a well-paying career in the building industry.

Carpentry                      Electrician                      HVAC                      Plumbing

Related story:
High school students build all-American house

Abigayle Schofield: Future Graphic Designer

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Abigayle Schofield
Occupational Goal: Graphic Designer

“The career and technical field I have chosen to study is graphic design. I have chosen this career because in it I am able to do things that I love. I love to design, work with people, and also manage things around me. I hope with this degree I will be an asset to a company in helping them advertise their products more efficiently.

“I have taken several design classes at my high school and have learned so much. All of the CTE classes I have taken have benefited me. By the time I graduate from high school this summer I will have 37 college credits completed. This fall I plan on attending UVU to finish my associate degree. After graduation from UVU, I plan on starting a job that I feel with help me achieve my goal of being on the advertising team of a company. I plan on doing what I love in the workforce.”

—Abigayle Schofield, Wasatch High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Abigayle on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award she received to Utah Valley University. Abigayle was one of 102 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

Left: Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education
Middle: Abigayle Schofield
Right: Jared Haines, Vice President, Utah College of Applied Technology 


Provo High students win Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Congratulations to Provo High School students Parker Thomas and Jimmy Hicken who took first place at the state Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition on Thursday, May 2, 2013. The competition was held at Salt Lake Community College’s Miller Campus where 10 teams tested their knowledge and skill at diagnosing a purposely bugged vehicle.

Dave Milliken, Skilled and Technical Science Sciences state specialist, was on the planning committee and attended the event. He describes the contest and the close finish. “This year’s contest was a bit more challenging due to the fact that there was a double bug. This means that there were two bugs dealing with the same problem, so when a team found one bugged part there was another one causing a similar problem to the car. The bugs could range from light bulbs for turn signals to sensors affecting the transmission.

“After 75 minutes of working on the cars, and 15 minutes left of the competition, all 10 cars were still being worked on. The bugs were tough and challenged the student’s abilities and knowledge of the vehicles. Only four vehicles were driven into final judging, the others were still on the field of competition when the contest came to an end.”

Below are the results of the competition:
1st PlaceProvo High School
2nd PlaceRiverton High School
3rd PlaceWoods Cross High School
4th PlaceNorthridge High School
5th PlaceTimpview High School
6th PlaceClearfield High School
7th PlaceHillcrest High School
8th PlaceDavis High School
9th PlaceUSU Eastern High School Program
10th PlaceFremont High School

Parker and Jimmy now advance to the national finals at the Ford Motor Company Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan on June 9-12, 2013. They will compete against students from 49 other states to debug a 2013 Ford Focus SE. The team with the fewest quality-of-workmanship demerits and the best combined total score—repair time and written exam—will be the winner.

Left to right: Chris Hohnbaum, Rick Bouillon, Jimmy Hicken, Seth McVea,
Parker Thomas,
Brett Baird, Jeff Broadhead, Dave Milliken

At the national competition participating students will be awarded scholarships, trophies, apparel, certificates, shop manuals, and automotive equipment. Contestants will also have the opportunity to be considered for automotive technician and other service specialist positions with Ford Motor Company dealers, AAA affiliated service facilities, and other sponsoring organizations.

UtahCTE wishes Parker and Jimmy the best as they compete for the national Ford/AAA Auto Skills title.

Related articles:
Provo High team wins Ford/AAA vehicle repair competition,
The Salt Lake Tribune, May 2, 2013
Provo High students named state’s best auto techs,
Fox13now.com, May 2, 2013
Utah’s top high school mechanics gather for automotive competition,
Deseret News, May 3, 2013
Utah’s tip high propagandize mechanics accumulate for automotive competition,
Utah News, May 3, 2013