Leesburg, Va. — The mikeroweWORKS Foundation has contributed $50,000 to a SkillsUSA scholarship fund for 88 students about to compete in the world’s largest showcase of career and technical education. This contribution was matched by the Charles Koch Foundation and by Koch Industries to total $100,000 in travel scholarships for SkillsUSA students.
This is the ninth consecutive year that the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has offered the travel scholarships to SkillsUSA students who place first in their state competitions but face a financial challenge in attending the national championships in Louisville, Ky. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation focuses on students who are working toward careers in manufacturing, construction, transportation, electronics, information technology and other program areas where a skills gap exists.
“The skills gap is not only real, it’s a reflection of what we value,” said Mike Rowe. “To close the gap, we need to change the way the country feels about work. My foundation supports SkillsUSA because it celebrates the kind of skills that are actually in demand. Through excellence and competition, SkillsUSA encourages real-world training, and in the process, lays a foundation for thousands of careers in the skilled trades. SkillsUSA works.”
The annual SkillsUSA Championships take place this June 25-27 in Louisville, Ky. More than 6,400 competitors will be tested in 103 leadership and hands-on occupational skills contests, the majority of which are STEM-focused. Events are as diverse as Carpentry, Electrical Construction Wiring, Cybersecurity, Automated Manufacturing Technology, Graphic Communications, Mobile Electronics Installation, Information Technology Services and Medical Assisting. Competitions are planned by industry to its standards for entry-level workers.
Scholarships are based on a written application that includes financial need, SkillsUSA involvement, and the student’s skills in trade areas where a shortage exists. Applicants must provide a recommendation from a SkillsUSA instructor or state association director.
“We sincerely thank the mikeroweWORKS Foundation for supporting America’s future skilled workforce,” said SkillsUSA’s executive director, Tim Lawrence. “Our students deserve this opportunity to showcase their skills and are grateful for the support they receive. As a verified talent pipeline and skills gap solution, SkillsUSA graduates 100,000 students each year who complete their technical program and are job-ready Day One.”
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal and workplace skills along with technical skills grounded in academics. This SkillsUSA Framework empowers every student to succeed at work and in life, while helping to close the “skills gap” in which millions of positions go unfilled. Through SkillsUSA’s championships program and curricula, employers have long ensured schools are teaching relevant technical skills, and with SkillsUSA’s new credentialing process, they can now assess how ready potential employees are for the job. SkillsUSA has more than 360,000 annual members nationwide in high schools, colleges and middle schools, covering over 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education. For more information: www.skillsusa.org.
About the mikeroweWORKS Foundation
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works hard to debunk myths about the skilled trades and help close the skills gap. As the CEO of the foundation, Mike Rowe speaks regularly about the country’s dysfunctional relationship with work and challenges the persistent belief that a four-year degree is automatically the best path for the most people. Each year, the foundation gives away a modest pile of money to people getting trained for skilled jobs that are in demand through a variety of scholarship programs, including the Work Ethic Scholarship Program. Since its inception, the foundation has granted, or helped facilitate the granting of, more than $5 million in technical and vocational education for trade schools across the country. For more information, go to mikeroweworks.org.
Jane A. DeShong Short, Program Manager
Karen Kitzel, Associate Director