Official Statement From SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis on SkillsUSA’s Commitment to Our Members
Dear SkillsUSA Family, The painful events of the last two weeks — which represent a far longer history of social injustice to members of the Black community — should remind each of us of our shared responsibility to stand against the cruel and debilitating impact of racism and discrimination in all its many forms. To our SkillsUSA members who are part of the Black community, your lives matter, and we stand with you in solidarity and support. I want you to know that I fully embrace my responsibility as the leader of this organization to provide a safe, empathetic, respectful, and supportive SkillsUSA work and learning environment for each one of you every day. SkillsUSA has been inspiring positive life changes for members since 1965, but sometimes societal situations like those we’re now witnessing call for a renewed commitment and expression of our core values. Those values form the foundation of SkillsUSA’s mission: to empower our members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. That empowerment begins when our members know — beyond a shadow of a doubt — what the organization they’re a part of stands for. That’s why it’s our responsibility to make it irrefutably clear that SkillsUSA utterly rejects racism in all its forms. We reject — and stand against — any behaviors that fuel the vicious and self-defeating cycle of discrimination, hatred, oppression and violence, as well as practices that perpetuate systemic and structural inequities. Making that position clear is where the empowerment begins, but it continues through our programs and curricula. An essential element of the SkillsUSA Framework, for example, is multicultural sensitivity and awareness. We must make it clear these are indeed “essential elements” of our core value system as an organization. As builders of tomorrow’s workforce and shapers of our future citizens and communities, it is our responsibility to ensure that our actions are intentional in creating an environment where the seeds of racism and discrimination cannot find fertile ground in which to grow. My commitment to you, our members, is that we will continue to proudly embrace that responsibility. Further, we will commit ourselves to identify areas where we can improve as an organization, from how the national office operates internally to the types of programs and experiences we deliver to our students and advisors. We will hold ourselves accountable for ensuring — through actions, not just words — that we are living up to our diversity and inclusion statement, which is as follows: “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. SkillsUSA’s diversity encompasses differences in ethnicity, gender, 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’ — one that encourages all individuals to be involved.” True change will only come when, one-by-one, we accept our responsibilities to create positive environments of inclusion and support wherever we are and whenever we can. I assure you that SkillsUSA will live up to its responsibility, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions along the way. With your help, we will continue to change lives for the better as we build a diverse, highly skilled workforce all Americans can be proud of and communities where we all feel safe, empowered, valued, and respected. Chelle “SkillsUSA Grad Night 2020” Archived Video Now Available
It was an exciting moment for the SkillsUSA family on Wednesday, May 27, when we held a virtual celebration to highlight all of SkillsUSA’s 2020 graduates. Hosted by four of our talented 2019-20 SkillsUSA national officers, the 30-minute online event streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram,. The event featured music, messages of inspiration and a keynote address from Snap-on Incorporated Chairman and CEO Nick Pinchuk. Also speaking were SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis and SkillsUSA Board of Directors President Jennifer Worth. Pinchuk spoke about SkillsUSA and the need for essential skills and essential workers now more than ever: “You see, the capabilities you learn at SkillsUSA are those that are needed to support our country in the turbulence. Now eventually, hopefully soon, the skies will clear and the virus will go away, and we'll return to our normal life. And historians at that time will start documenting this, period and when they do, they will write about the contributions of the workers and their skills and how they delivered us and kept us afloat in the flood. They will write about you and SkillsUSA. This is your time.” If you missed this great speech and the live event, you can view the archived version on our YouTube or Facebook page and celebrate the success of our SkillsUSA members. Be sure to share the links, too!
NLSC Virtual Recognition Session Join us virtually on June 26, 2020, for the NLSC Virtual Recognition Session. This year's session will give us an opportunity to be apart "together" while we recognize key supporters and leaders in SkillsUSA. We will host three 30-minute segments at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT, during which we will recognize our Pin and T-shirt Design Challenge winners and present awards for Advisor of the Year, Outstanding Educator, President's Volunteer Service Award, Student2Student, Alumni, Honorary Life, and Chapters of Excellence. We will also meet some of our sponsors and hear a retiring address from Jarod Harris, SkillsUSA’s national high s
chool parliamentarian. Finally, we will announce the 2020-21 SkillsUSA national officer team. Look for a schedule and more information soon about how to participate and watch. Free E-Learning Resources from Klein tools Klein Tools, a SkillsUSA partner, is providing new content for e-learning. They have developed a Tools 101 video for instructors and students on tool selection and maintenance. The videos are broken down into four segments. To access the videos, you’ll need to first complete the short form here, after which, you’ll be directed to the content: www.surveymonkey.com/r/Tools101_2020
Action Needed: Ask Congress to Include CTE Resources in Next Relief Package On May 15, the House Democrats introduced and passed H.R. 6800, the Health Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a $3 trillion, 1,800-page follow-up coronavirus relief package. Although it made substantial investments into our education system, it does not include dedicated resources for CTE programs. It is critical that the next relief package provides the necessary resources to ensure students can gain skills that are needed to help combat the pandemic and that will be needed by business and industry as we shift toward long-term economic recovery. The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has made it easy for you to write to your U.S. House and Senate representatives
by providing a pre-written template on their advocacy site to request inclusion of CTE funding in the next relief package. Members of Congress prioritize action requests from their constituents, so contacting them makes a huge difference. To write Congress, go to the ACTE action template and follow the prompts: www.acteonline.org/advocacy/take-action/#/58 If you prefer, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected with a specific congressional office (this is effective if you already have contacts). Here are key talking points:
CTE is critical to helping our economy recover and get Americans back to work.
Significant investment is needed to upskill and retrain 30 million Americans who are out of work and the many whose jobs are impacted as a result of coronavirus.
During the last recession, col
lege/postsecondary enrollment increased by nearly 2.5 million students or 16 percent. The increase was largely due to nontraditional-aged college students, and 50 percent of the new enrollments went to community colleges. A similar trend can be expected with the current predicted economic downturn.
The next stimulus bill must include a significant investment in CTE and workforce development programs to nimbly and adequately support urgent workforce needs.
As always, to keep up to date with the latest CTE legislation news, check out ACTE’s website at www.acteonline.org. SkillsUSA Seeks “Essential Skills, Essential Workers” Stories Recently, we asked states to share with us which SkillsUSA chapters are building or donating personal protective equipment (PPE) in light of the current pandemic. SkillsUSA is pulling together a few brief stories to highlight those chap
ters in our publications and social media. In addition to healthcare stories, we also seek essential workers in fields such as automotive technology, culinary arts, welding, cabling or other areas where CTE skills are supporting communities during the current crisis. If you know of any students, advisors or chapters who are helping in this way, please share those stories and contact information so we can get the details. Photos are also greatly appreciated! Send your materials to Jane Short at email@example.com. Essential SkillsUSA Collection from the SkillsUSA Store The SkillsUSA Store is working to help showcase the essential nature of SkillsUSA as an organization. Members, advisors, e
ducators and alumni alike should have the utmost pride in their work and should have every opportunity to outwardly express that pride. This summer, the SkillsUSA Store is introducing a collection of limited-time Essential Skills Essential Workers products, with new exciting options rolling out each week. Follow the @SkillsUSAStore Instagram page for new product alerts and check out the store homepage each week to see what’s new!