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October 25, 2019

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Offers Building Grant to SkillsUSA Chapters

SkillsUSA has partnered with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools on a new grant opportunity. Eligible programs can receive up to $2,500 to strengthen their local SkillsUSA chapter.

Applications will be accepted through Nov. 25, and grant recipients will be announced Dec. 10. The grants are intended for SkillsUSA chapters established within the past three years that serve students enrolled in one of 27 construction, transportation or manufacturing occupational programs or contests.


To apply, chapters must complete an electronic application and explain how they will use the grant to improve the SkillsUSA program at their school. Applications will be evaluated based on proposed plans, community partnerships and sustainability of program improvements. Schools with 75% or more of their enrolled students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches are encouraged to apply. Grant recipients will be required to complete an evaluation of their implementation during the 2019-20 school year, sign photography/video waivers and provide photos of students and teachers participating in activities funded by the grant.


“Harbor Freight Tools for Schools could not be prouder to support excellence in high school skilled-trades education through this partnership with SkillsUSA,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “The outstanding students, advisors and mentors of the SkillsUSA community demonstrate the great promise of the trades as a course of study and career.”


SkillsUSA executive director Timothy Lawrence added, “Partnerships like these expand opportunities for our members and strengthen relationships between education and industry. SkillsUSA is thrilled to partner with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools on this program, which supports the growth of SkillsUSA chapters across the nation.”


The grant opportunity is available to high schools with SkillsUSA chapters established after July 1, 2016, in trade areas that align with the following SkillsUSA Championships competitions:

  • Cabinetmaking
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical Construction Wiring
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR)
  • Masonry
  • Plumbing
  • Sheet Metal
  • TeamWorks
  • Welding
  • Welding Fabrication
  • Welding Sculpture
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • CNC Milling Technology
  • CNC Turning Technology
  • Industrial Motor Control
  • Major Appliance and Refrigeration Technology
  • Mechatronics
  • Residential Systems Installation and Maintenance
  • Automotive Refinishing Technology
  • Automotive Service Technology
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology
  • Collision Repair Technology
  • Diesel Equipment Technology
  • Marine Service Technology
  • Motorcycle Service Technology
  • MLR (Maintenance Light Repair)
  • Power Equipment Technology


Grant restrictions: The grant may not be used for the purchase of tools, hardware, electronic goods or related items or accessories (including, without limitation, automotive and motorcycle supplies or accessories, engines and generators, garage and machinery equipment and accessories, lawn and garden accessories and supplies, welding equipment or accessories, and material handling equipment, parts and supplies.


To complete the grant application, go to: https://skillsusa.wufoo.com/forms/2020-harbor-freight-tools-for-schools/


Become a SkillsUSA Career Essentials Certified Teacher

Are you using or planning to use SkillsUSA Career Essentials: Experiences courses and their associated assessments? If so, consider joining SkillsUSA’s virtual opportunities for Career Essentials Certified Teacher training.


At present, there is one option for completing the training in one four-hour online session, and there is also another option for completing the training in two two-hour online sessions. In addition, there are opportunities to set your own date for on-site training of a teacher group (for groups of 12 or more) or your own date for virtual training of a teacher group (for groups of five to 20).


Virtual training sessions require a minimum of five registrants, and a maximum of 20 will be accepted for any given date.


SkillsUSA Career Essentials Certified Teacher training is designed for teachers who are currently using the Experiences courses or who are planning to. Contextual information about the SkillsUSA Framework and basic resource information is assumed to be known by individuals participating in this training. If additional contextual information is needed for trainees prior to participating, our trainers will work with you as needed.


Check out the opportunities here.


Participate in National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week gives apprenticeship sponsors and providers the opportunity to showcase their programs, facilities and apprentices. As a result, career seekers can learn more about the benefits of apprenticeship and the programs that are available in their communities.


If you’re thinking about participating, the above website has everything you need to plan, organize and host a successful event.


New Fundraiser is ‘Double Good’

Double Good Popcorn is a newly approved fundraising program for SkillsUSA chapters. This online platform sells gourmet popcorn and seeks to make fundraising simple and effective.


The fundraising company began working with SkillsUSA Illinois in the middle of last year, and four other state SkillsUSA associations have since partnered to pilot fundraisers as well. Since then, it has helped chapters raise thousands of dollars.


Unlike some fundraisers that require a lot of hard work, time or dedication of advisors and student members, Double Good seeks to make fundraising easy. Chapter advisors can set up a fundraiser online and provide a code to their student members to join. Members then set up online stores and share out their link (by social media, personal text or flier) to sell Double Good’s popcorn. They have four days to sell as much as they can.


Once the fundraiser is over, the chapter will receive a check for 50% of all sales. Chapters never have to handle money nor touch the popcorn; it is shipped directly to the buyer. The chapter can use these funds to attend SkillsUSA conferences, chapter activities or pay membership dues. A portion of the proceeds will also go to the national and state SkillsUSA associations to help fund future member services.


When advisors sign up through an email or at SkillsUSAFundraising.com, they will automatically be sent a sample package of popcorn with steps on how to get started. Double Good can also provide resources to help promote this program such as fliers, postcards, email blast information and social medial content. Contact Courtney Psinas (309-202-2576/courtney@skillsusafundraising.com) for more information.


Who’s Ready for a New T-Shirt?

The SkillsUSA Store has a new T-shirt with this year’s theme, “SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, I’m Ready.” Don’t miss an opportunity to purchase a 2019-2020 themed T-shirt!

To place an order or if you have any questions, contact Kim DeVenuto at 703-674-5454 or kdevenuto@egroupengage.com.


Membership Incentive Time — Register by Nov. 15

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. To receive these, instructors must 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, those who register at least 15 student members plus one or more professionals by Nov. 15 will receive a free educational resource item, 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 or any chapter advisors 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.