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Skilled Trades Summers: A New Opportunity for High School Students and Young Adults in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

Skilled Trades Summers: A New Opportunity for High School Students and Young Adults in Los Angeles

This summer high school students and young adults will be taking hands-on classes in welding, scaffolding, construction, solar installation and other skilled trades at six sites throughout Los Angeles County.

Skilled Trades Summers is designed to create opportunities for  high school students and recent graduates to earn industry-based credentials (IBCs) with substantial employability value. Students will participate in workplace-based learning, earn high school or college course credits and earn a summer wage. Some programs will also include summer camps for younger students to connect hands-on learning with the skilled trades.

Skilled Trades Summers is being funded by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, a program of The Smidt Foundation, which is dedicated to the advancement of skilled trades education in United States public high schools.

“Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is thrilled to support the Skilled Trades Summers program,’’ said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “Our research shows that students and parents want these skilled trades courses, and we hope to demonstrate how exceptional educators can expand these programs.’’

Labor market data show a clear and steady need for many more skilled trades workers, with 1.3 million annual job openings through 2028.

The program is being offered in partnership with six organizations: Long Beach and Glendale unified school districts, Alliance for Community Empowerment, South Bay Workforce Investment Board, Hire LAX and Port of Los Angeles High School.

George Mora, executive director and principal at Port of Los Angeles High School said the school is offering a welding and construction course to 24 students over a six-week period. Students will earn “journeyman-equivalent” certifications in either American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1 Structural Welding, or National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Construction Technology Level 1. Students are working alongside industry mentors, taking field trips, and receiving wraparound services through POLAHS’ Career Counselor each Friday.


“Partnering with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools has been incredible. We are confident that the Skilled Trades Summers program is establishing a new generation of student opportunity and achievement at POLAHS. Our graduates will be fully prepared for career opportunities at the port and beyond.”

– George Mora, Executive Director/Principal


The programs at the five other sites are offering a wide variety of skilled trades instruction on a varied schedule. The Glendale program offers a scaffolding and construction program, packaged around a summer camp for students in various grades. Long Beach is hosting a skilled trades summer camp and putting students to work as skilled trades interns, with plans for a future multi-craft core curriculum (MC3) pre-apprenticeship program. HireLAX and the South Bay Workforce Investment Board are also offering a MC3 pre-apprenticeship program and ACE Youth Build is focused on a solar installation program in partnership with GRID technologies.

The first programs started in late May and early June. While most programs wrap up in mid-August, one extends into early September. Skilled Trades Summers will serve about 160 students across the six sites. Enrollment is now closed, but Harbor Freight Tools for Schools hopes to expand the program in the future.

The Skilled Trades Summers program is based on Jump Start Summers, a program launched in Louisiana in 2017 with about 250 students. The program expanded statewide in 2018 and now serves more than 2,000 students in a typical year.


Lee Condon
Director, Communications
Harbor Freight Tools for Schools



About Harbor Freight Tools for Schools

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is a program of The Smidt Foundation, established by Harbor Freight Tools owner and founder Eric Smidt, to advance excellent skilled trades education in U.S. public high schools. With a deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools aims to drive a greater understanding of and investment in skilled trades education, believing that access to quality skilled trades education gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs, and a workforce our country needs. Harbor Freight Tools is a major supporter of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools program. For more information, visit: