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November 8, 2019

SkillsUSA Welcomes Chelle Travis as Executive Director

On Nov. 4, SkillsUSA welcomed Chelle Travis as its executive director. She brings 17 years of leadership experience in career and technical education to this role, with a solid understanding and track record of implementing and elevating the mission and program of SkillsUSA.


Travis has collaborated with business and industry, educators, legislators and other leaders to design curricula, develop programs and draft legislation, having served the Tennessee Board of Regents as assistant vice chancellor for the Colleges of Applied Technology and as a state SkillsUSA director. She received an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business from Middle Tennessee State University.


“Chelle Travis, as the fourth-ever leader of SkillsUSA, embodies the dynamic and progressive leadership to expand on the organization’s momentum as well as build on critical relationships with industry. Her history with the organization, capabilities as a systems leader, passion for the mission, and her vision for the future, all make her an excellent fit to lead us,” says Jen Worth, SkillsUSA board president.


“I’m humbled and honored to serve as the next executive director of SkillsUSA,” Travis says. “I have a passion for the mission of our organization, and I am committed to building on SkillsUSA’s strong reputation to meet the needs of the future of work with the talents of our students, insights of our teachers, and requirements of our industry partners.”


Travis will succeed Tim Lawrence, who has led SkillsUSA as the executive director for the past 19 years. “The board is immeasurably grateful for the service Tim provided over his career,” Worth says. “His integrity, thoughtfulness and passion drove the organization to new heights.”


Of Travis, Lawrence says, “She is a proven leader in our space who strongly believes in the mission of our work, and cares deeply about students, teachers and partners. She is a champion for career and technical education and a highly skilled workforce.”


Don’t Miss Out! 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.


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/