The future is STEM: Judging the IDEA Regional Competition: read an engineer’s perspective


President’s Letter

IDEA Members,

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and participants of this year’s competition.  Thank you to everyone who participated at the state and regional level, all of the IDEA board, and all who made the competition possible this year including the regional directors.  Also a big thanks to all the educators who got the students ready to compete and their parents and guardians who supported them.  We had over 900 students compete across the state at the regional level and over 150 students compete at the state level this year.  I believe this was one of our smoothest competition years we have had in recent years.  Without all of you, none of this would be possible.  It is great to see all of the students eager to participate and all of the talent that this future generation has coming up. 

We are currently in the middle of changing times in the United States and these students will be those who lead the re-birth of industry in this country.  We currently have a major shortage of trades workers coming up and I encourage you all to keep leading your students or children to these fields in which our country desperately needs workers.  At the IDEA we currently work with a variety of organizations such as Skills USA and other organizations that encourage students to follow their dreams for the skilled trades areas.  As we continue to move forward we are also working with Industry partners to get involved with our organization as well.  We have brought a few new ones on this year who have helped judge and volunteered their time.  If you have any other great industry contacts that wish to volunteer or help the organization send them our way.  They are who will be hiring this future generation and are crucial to our success training their workers of tomorrow.  Also please encourage your students to consider a career in the teaching field of technology education.  Just as there is a shortage in the skilled trades areas we also have a shortage in the teaching area for the technology education areas. 

This year was a big year for IDEA as we rebranded to the Illinois Design Educators and also adapted a new Logo to modernize the organization for many years to come.  We had over 50 submissions from Illinois State University and other students across Illinois.  As a board we chose the new logo based on preservation of history of the organization as well as a modernization of drafting and design.  Also going forward, we have voted to combine our conference with ITEC for a combined FridaySaturday conference starting in fall of 2018.  Traditionally we have always held our conference on Thursday and more recently partnered with ITEC for a few sessions in their Friday session.  As the landscape of programs across the state changes to included more Project Lead the Way programs as well as traditional drafting programs more teachers are having to teach multiple areas of Technology Education.  Also with the shortage of substitute teachers available and the Friday availability of college teachers and regional directors we choose to move to a combined two-day conference for Friday and Saturday.  We will still hold our membership meeting and the format will be similar to the past Thursday session but we will now have more flexibility to work with the TEAI to offer more sessions in addition to just the drafting and design sessions we typically offered on Thursday.  Mark your calendars for Friday November 2nd and Saturday November 3rd for this conference.    For those early planners we have also adapted all of the dates for the regional and state competition for next year which will be listed on the website as well.  I hope everyone enjoys the remainder of this school years and has a great summer break!  We look forward to an even bigger and better 2018-2019 for the organization as we continue to modernize and improve opportunities for both students and educators.  

Brian Rick- President


IDEA Calendar

  • ITEC-IDEA Conference: November 2 - 3, 2018
  • Regional Competition: Feb 25 - March 15, 2019
  • State Competition: April 27, 2019