Friday Flash, October 30, 2020




Normally by this time of year New Jersey SkillsUSA would have conducted regional leadership conferences, state officer elections/training, technical committee meetings and our traditional statewide advisors meeting.  Obviously the pandemic has altered everything we do, but there’s another reason why we have not conducted in person and/or virtual meetings.  Somerset County Vo-Tech has not been approved nor funded by NJDOE for operation this year.  We have been told that funding was imminent, but to date there has been no change. Originally we expected to receive funding for a September 1st start. We were subsequently advised that we would be funded to start officially on October 1.  It is now approaching November 1, and we still are not funded to operate.  Despite the lack of funding my staff has continued working since September 1 so that we can maintain continuity while awaiting a decision from NJDOE.  I will let you know when and if the situation changes, and I thank you for your patience and understanding.


Fall Leadership Connection Conference

SkillsUSA is planning a low cost virtual Fall Leadership Conference for November 16-19. The content from the workshops and presentations will be archived for many months so that students have total flexibility in how and when they participate. In other words, although there will be content released daily from November 16-19, registered students will ultimately have access to the entire conference platform any time after November 16.  They do not have to log in at any specific time of the day. The cost is $5 per person and the registration form is available at under the DOWNLOADS tab.




Share Your Messages of Support and Thanks for Our Teachers

Throughout the pandemic, SkillsUSA’s social media has highlighted many SkillsUSA members who have worked to keep our nation moving in the fight against COVID-19. While frontline workers deservedly have taken center stage, career and technical education and our SkillsUSA programs nationwide could not happen without our dedicated teachers and advisors.

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, we’d like to create a thank-you video to let all SkillsUSA teachers know how valued they are, to let them know we see how hard they work and to show them how much that work is appreciated. We need your help to make that happen. We’re requesting brief videos from SkillsUSA students, state directors, partners, parents, school administrators and other stakeholders offering short messages of thanks for our teachers. Current teachers and advisors are also welcome to submit their own messages of thanks and encouragement to their peers around the nation.

Videos can be shot on smartphones, should be a maximum of 15 seconds, and are due to SkillsUSA by Nov. 13. Let’s ensure our SkillsUSA instructors know they are valued, respected and appreciated for their heroic work.

Submit your video here: If you prefer, upload your video through a file-sharing service like WeTransfer or Dropbox and send the link to director of communications Tom Kercheval at:


Apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards 

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards annually honor middle- and high-school students for making meaningful contributions to their communities.

Applications are now open through Nov. 10, and students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply if they have volunteered within the past year. Top honorees earn cash awards and an invitation to the program’s national recognition events. Qualifying honorees also receive recognition through the President’s Volunteer Service Award program.

Applications can be certified by a middle- or high-school principal; leaders of a Girl Scout council, county

4-H organization, American Red Cross chapter or YMCA; or a Points of Light Global Network member.

 For more information, and to apply, go to:


Apply for a Student Tuition Grant  

Saf-Gard Safety Shoe Co. is awarding an education grant for skilled trades students who are just starting out in their field. Three students will be chosen to receive a $1,000 grant to go toward trade school tuition. Students who apply will respond to a prompt created by Saf-Gard and then send responses and photos to a designated contact for a weekly blog update. The deadline to apply is Jan. 13, 2021. For more information, visit:


CHARGE — Now Streaming!

CHARGE is a weekly chapter officer video series that covers topics that chapter officers will find useful in the day-to-day management of their local SkillsUSA chapters. Each CHARGE video features an activity guide to encourage chapter officer growth and development. The series highlights individual growth and team bonding to effectively run a SkillsUSA chapter as a leader. Find a new episode every Friday in SkillsUSA CONNECT! 


Professional Development that Fits Your Schedule

SkillsUSA is launching a series of professional development videos and activity integration sheets to help you increase student engagement and integrate the Essential Elements of the SkillsUSA Framework in your classroom and SkillsUSA chapter. Utilize these resources at a time that is convenient to your schedule. The videos and integration activity sheets are located at:


Critical Thinking at Work

Within the SkillsUSA Framework is the Essential Element of “decision making” under the workplace skills component. Critical thinking is a strategy used for decision making, and the need for individuals to use critical thinking to solve problems, identify new solutions, and apply automation is essential in the workplace. Technology can improve job effectiveness and efficiency, but it cannot replace the human ability to process feedback, build relationships, offer recommendations and apply solutions. What’s more, critical thinking is not an inherent skill. It must be learned and practiced.  “Critical Thinking at Work” is a SkillsUSA educational resource designed to challenge your students with workplace scenarios that provide opportunities to practice decision-making skills.


Professional development sessions related to this resource will be available on Nov. 18 and Nov. 30. To view the full schedule of professional development opportunities and register to attend, log in to your SkillsUSA CONNECT account to view the Professional Development calendar. Or, visit: