High school skilled trades teachers can apply for $1.5 Million in cash prizes.
Outstanding U.S. public high school skilled trades teachers can apply for a total of $1.5 million in cash prizes starting today.
Since 2017, more than $6 million has been awarded to more than 100 skilled trades teachers and their programs through the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. The deadline to apply for the 2023 prize is Friday, May 5.
This year, the total amount of cash prizes will jump from $1.25 million to $1.5 million. The number of winners will increase from 20 to 25. Winners will be announced in October.
The mission of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is to increase understanding, support and investment in skilled trades education in U.S. public high schools. The prize is its flagship program.
“Through the prize, we have met more than 100 incredible high school skilled trades teachers who inspire us every day. From the beginning, our goal has been to serve as a catalyst to bring more attention and support to the exceptional skilled trades teachers and students across the country,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “We are excited for our seventh year of the prize and cannot wait to hear from new and returning applicants about the excellent work they are doing on behalf of students.”
The best skilled trades programs embody what great hands-on teaching and learning should look like in any classroom. Excellent skilled trades teachers are deeply knowledgeable and passionate about their subject matter and the potential of their students, teach skills leadership and collaboration skills, and offer a relevant curriculum that is connected to skilled trades career pathways. The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence was started in 2017 by Harbor Freight Tools owner and founder Eric Smidt. The prize recognizes outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools and the valuable work of teachers who inspire students to learn a trade that prepares them for life after graduation.
“The shortage of skilled trades workers in the United States is becoming a bigger challenge every day. America depends on high school skilled trades teachers to prepare the next generation of skilled trades workers,” Smidt said. “This prize is our way of recognizing the extraordinary work of skilled trades teachers, who rarely get the credit or attention they deserve.”
An independent 2022 evaluation of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence found that it has a dramatic impact on the winning teachers and their programs. Most said that being winners of the prize contributed to enrollment increases in their classes, an increased desire by local businesses to collaborate, and an increase in donations to their programs. They also said winning the prize helped them strengthen relationships with community colleges. Most significantly, winning teachers are seeking new leadership opportunities and now see themselves as advocates for excellent high school skilled trades education.
The five grand prize winners will receive $100,000 each, with $30,000 going to the teacher and $70,000 going to their program. Twenty additional prize winners will each win $50,000, with $15,000 going to the teacher and $35,000 going to their program. Teachers whose school, district and/or state policy prohibits receipt of the individual portion of prize earnings are eligible to apply on behalf of their school’s skilled trades program.