Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is awarding more than $1 million in cash prizes to 18 outstanding public high school skilled trades teachers and programs, doubling its prize money from last year.
The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence will award three first-place winners $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 program. Fifteen second-place winners will each be awarded $50,000, with $35,000 going to the high school program and $15,000 to the teacher or teacher team.
Harbor Freight Tools founder Eric Smidt started the program in 2017 to recognize outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools that inspire students to learn a trade that prepares them for a career after high school.
In its first year, the program received nearly 700 applications from 48 states from a wide range of skilled trades instruction, including automotive technology, welding, carpentry, agriculture mechanics, advanced manufacturing and marine systems technology.
“We were overwhelmed by the response and the extraordinary pool of applicants last year and wanted to award more money to more skilled trades teachers to advance the important work that they’re doing in our public high schools,” Smidt said. “These inspiring educators are passionate about teaching their students life skills and trades skills they can take beyond the classroom and into solid careers, many right out of high school, that will help drive our economy.”
The prize is designed to recognize outstanding skilled trades instruction and give teacher applicants access to ideas and practices through a network of like-minded exceptional educators, Harbor Freight Tools said.
“This is not a traditional teaching prize,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “We are looking for teachers who are not only accomplished skilled trades educators in teaching and inspiring their students but also are lifelong learners themselves, seeking to continuously improve their classroom practices.”
Applications for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching open on May 16 and are due July 6, 2018. The applicants with the top 50 scores will be announced as semi-finalists on Aug. 15, and the first- and second-place winners will be announced on Nov. 15. Updates on the prize will be posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
For more information about the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools program and to apply for the award, visit hftforschoolsprize.org.