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Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Announces New Prize for Teaching Excellence

Los Angeles, CA

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Announces New Prize for Teaching Excellence

CALABASAS, Calif.—Harbor Freight Tools for Schools announced today a new program, offering over $500,000 in prizes, to recognize great teaching in the skilled trades (e.g., plumbing, electrical, carpentry, welding, auto repair and more) in U.S. public high schools.

Every teacher who applies for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence will not only have the opportunity to win a financial prize, but will also get access to a series of expert-led learning modules, available online for free, to help them be even more effective in the classroom.

Three first-place winners will each be awarded $100,000—with $70,000 going to the high school’s skilled trades program and $30,000 to the individual skilled trades teacher or teachers behind the program. 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 or teacher team.

“Skilled trades teachers in our public high schools are unsung heroes,” said Eric Smidt, founder of the charitable project and co-founder, owner and CEO of the national retailer Harbor Freight Tools. “We want to give them the recognition they deserve for the deeply needed instruction they give to students with the goal of higher graduation rates and a path to high demand, well-paying careers in the skilled trades. This prize will recognize these great teachers and support the skilled trades programs and students they serve.”

The purpose of the prize is to recognize teaching excellence in the skilled trades that enables students to learn deeply and be career-ready, with the hope of attracting further support and investment in these public high school programs across the U.S.

The digital application process will include videos and other material that capture the experience and wisdom of great skilled trades teachers, along with insights from some of today’s brightest creative thinkers, builders, makers and doers. “Though there will be 10 prize winners, every teacher who applies will gain access to valuable new approaches and ideas to use in their classrooms and communities,” said Robin Kramer, the Executive Director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.

After the winners are announced in October 2017, these learning modules will be made publicly available and easily accessible for the nation’s estimated 18,000 public high school skilled trades teachers as well as other educators.

According to Kramer, “Judges for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence will look for those programs that are led by a teacher who clearly loves the subject matter and is both highly knowledgeable and skilled; where the curriculum is matched to a relevant career pathway and future work choices and is designed to flow seamlessly into next-step options, whether to employment or post-secondary certifications or degrees; that encourage exploration and experimentation among students in a safe environment; and that connect students to new relationships and worlds outside the classroom.”

Public high school skilled trades teachers or teams of teachers are encouraged to apply for the inaugural prizes.

Registration is now open. The rest of the application will go live on Monday, June 19, 2017, at noon Pacific time.  The submission deadline is Monday, July 24, 2017, at 5 p.m. Pacific time.

For more information, and to access the application when it opens, please visit



About Harbor Freight Tools for Schools

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools supports the advancement of skilled trades education in America, born out of its founder’s deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands. This charitable initiative was created to foster and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education in American public high schools, and it aims to stimulate greater understanding, support and investment by public entities and others. Top-notch skilled trades education in high school offers pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs and a workforce our country needs. Harbor Freight Tools for Schools was founded by Eric Smidt, co-founder, owner and CEO of national tool retailer Harbor Freight Tools, and is now one of the philanthropic programs of The Smidt Foundation.