CALABASAS, Calif.— Harbor Freight Tools for Schools announced today the 10 finalists for the inaugural Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which will award more than $500,000 to skilled trades teachers and programs in American public high schools.
Drawn from across the country and representing skilled trades like construction, automotive, architecture, woodworking, manufacturing and marine systems technology, the 10 finalists are in the running for three first-place prizes of $100,000, with $70,000 going to the high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the individual skilled trades teacher or teacher team behind the winning program. The seven second-place winners will each be awarded $30,000, with $20,000 going to the high school program and $10,000 to the teacher/team. The winners will be announced on Oct. 26.
The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence was designed to recognize outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools that inspires students to learn a trade that prepares them for a career after high school.
“We created this prize out of huge respect for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands to create, build and repair," said Eric Smidt, founder of the prize and founder, owner and CEO of the national retailer Harbor Freight Tools. "We're proud to honor the important leadership of these skilled trades teachers, who are working so hard to equip their students with the know-how and skill to land good jobs, pursue bright futures, and become part of a workforce our country needs."
The finalists are:
"These 10 finalists are exceptional educators who combine hands-on knowledge and passion to open doors for their students to the skilled trades and to life," said Robin Kramer, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. "The talents of these public school teachers go unrecognized far too often, and we're proud to shine a light on their important work in creating futures for their students and to support their can-do spirit."
The need for skilled trades professionals in the U.S. is growing. Between now and 2024, there will be more than 1.5 million skilled trades job openings as Baby Boomers retire, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The prize competition drew nearly 700 applicants from 48 states, who were narrowed to 54 semi-finalists. The application process included a learning component, giving all applicants access to ideas and practices, shared through a series of online expert-led learning models, to help them be more effective in the classroom. All learning modules are available online at http://harborfreighttoolsforschools.org/2017-hftfs-prize-teaching-excellence/.
The finalists were selected by panels of judges from the worlds of business, K-12 and higher education, the trades and crafts, non-profits and philanthropy. A separate panel of eight judges will select the first- and second-place winners. Harbor Freight Tools for Schools does not play a role in selecting the finalists or winners.
The school's prize winnings will support the skilled trades program being recognized, and the teacher's or teacher team winnings can be used at their discretion.
For more information about the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Teaching Prize for Excellence, please visit http://harborfreighttoolsforschools.org/2017-hftfs-prize-teaching-excellence/.
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