Fine Homebuilding and SkillsUSA’s #KeepCraftAlive Scholarship Winner Students Show Passion for the Trades

Published: August 06, 2019
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Leesburg, Va.SkillsUSA, in the third year of partnership with Fine Homebuilding, is proud to announce the #KeepCraftAlive Scholarship winners. Twenty-four students, all studying in construction-related fields and planning to pursue continued education in the trades, received a $2,500 scholarship for the 2019-20 academic year. Selections were based on completion of an application, along with a 300-word essay and a letter of support from a teacher, administrator, SkillsUSA advisor or educational/professional mentor. All winners were acknowledged at the 55th SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in June at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. The scholarship winners are:
  • Alabama: Artom Pack, Gadsden State Community College; Brodey Staggs and Austin Wilson, Northwest Shoals Community College
  • Connecticut: Dylan Magao, H.H. Ellis Technical High School
  • Florida: Rachel Hawk, Mount Dora High School
  • Georgia: Patrick Duckett, North Cobb High School; Logan Dowell, Hart County High School; Cole Pelfrey, Calhoun High School
  • Kansas: Vagas Khan, Kansas City Kansas Community College
  • Maryland: Mathew Page, Parkside High School
  • Minnesota: Garret Frank, Minnesota State Community and Technical College – Moorhead
  • Nebraska: Fatima Ayal, Career Academy – Lincoln
  • New Mexico: Eric Holiday, Navajo Technical University
  • New York: Matthew Tchernev, Bayport Blue Point High School; Kemuel Mangru, Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical School; Jordan Corvin, Ulster Vo Tech Center
  • North Carolina: Tim Brinkley, Guilford Technical Community College; Don Anderson Jr., Fayetteville Technical Community College; Ashton White, Rowan Cabarrus Community College
  • South Carolina: Travonte Gadson, Heyward Career Center
  • Texas: Jacqueline Medina, Harlingen High School
  • Utah: Aliza Queensberry, Highland High School
  • Washington: Jackson Newberg, Cascadia Technical Academy
  • Wyoming: Atticus Garrett, Kaycee High School
In awarding these scholarships, Fine Homebuilding is encouraging students to follow their passions for construction-related careers and acknowledging the value of their skills and talents. By celebrating the students, Fine Homebuilding hopes to rekindle an appreciation for craftsmanship in the trades and to improve the public perception of trades as an honorable lifelong pursuit. “For too long, true craftsmanship in America has gone unrecognized and underappreciated. Through these scholarships, and through our collective efforts of the KeepCraftAlive program, we aim to support those who will carry on a legacy of craftsmanship in home building and who will help raise the quality standards of the homes we build,” says KeepCraftAlive executive director Rob Yagid. “This is important work, and Fine Homebuilding is committed to doing all that we can to celebrate those who are passionate about building the best homes possible, in the best way possible.” For Fine Homebuilding editorial director Justin Fink, the mission is clear: “Helping to solve the skills gap is important to us, but that starts with sending a strong message to anybody who has ever felt the pull towards being a tradesman of any kind — we want to assure them that this is truly a rewarding path, and one that shouldn’t be discouraged.” Publisher Renee Jordan adds, “It is such a fulfilling experience to be able to impact the lives of students and bring financial support to those who want to pursue a career in the trades. We are especially grateful for the support and dedication of our industry partners, who have stepped up to demonstrate their commitment to this issue as well, including our official charter partner, CertainTeed Corporation, Pella Windows and Doors, In-O-Vate and Feeny.” “Fine Homebuilding continues to support and recognize America’s future skilled workforce in the construction trades,” says SkillsUSA’s executive director, Tim Lawrence. “This program helps deserving students to continue their education within the field. SkillsUSA is a talent pipeline and a verified skills gap solution. Every year, 100,000 SkillsUSA students complete their technical program job-ready on Day One, and we value this partnership.” Nationwide, career and technical education (CTE) encompasses 94 percent of high-school students in the United States and 13 million college/postsecondary students in high schools, career centers, community and technical colleges, four-year universities and more. CTE and SkillsUSA are working to be a vital solution to our nation’s economic and workforce challenges including high-school dropout rates, a weakened economy, global competitiveness and layoffs. At a time when opportunity for employment is critical, SkillsUSA and CTE are working to ensure students are equipped with the skills to successfully enter the workforce. For more information, go to: 

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 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:

About Fine Homebuilding

Fine Homebuilding is the most trusted and authoritative resource for the residential construction and remodeling industry and has launched the #KeepCraftAlive campaign to honor those passionate about the trades and who aim to raise the quality of construction across America. Fine Homebuilding sources its content from the job sites and design offices of the most qualified and talented builders and designers in the industry to empower a global workforce with the ability to create the most advanced homes possible. Driven by the ethos that exceptional homes are possible and that craftsmanship is an honorable and worthy pursuit, Fine Homebuilding has become the preferred media brand for professionals, deeply knowledgeable enthusiasts, industry influencers, and forward-thinking companies, who are collectively committed to shaping the way we build. With the #KeepCraftAlive campaign, Fine Homebuilding is leveraging all of its resources to bring awareness to the professional opportunities in the construction industry, partnering with industry organizations and influencers to raise the quality of construction across the country, and funding student scholarships with Skills USA to support those who want to pursue a path in the trades. Fine Homebuilding is committed to celebrating the value of true craftsmanship in all trades in order to influence the cultural narrative about what it means to be a respected, successful professional. For more information about Fine Homebuilding and the #KeepCraftAlive initiative, visit:

About CertainTeed Corporation

Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed, headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has helped shape the building products industry for more than 110 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm’s slogan “Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed,” inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed is a leading North American brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, fencing, decking, railing, trim, insulation, drywall and ceilings. A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest and oldest building products companies, CertainTeed has more than 6,300 employees and more than 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. The company had total sales of approximately $3.7 billion in 2017. For more information, visit: 

About Pella Corporation

Pella Corporation doesn’t just create windows and doors, we innovate with purpose, design with passion, build with integrity, and deliver with pride. From testing beyond industry requirements to continuous innovation, Pella goes beyond what meets the eye. Pella’s goal is to perfect every detail and make beautifully designed windows and doors. The company is headquartered in Pella, Iowa, and employs more than 6,000 people with 13 manufacturing locations and more than 200 showrooms across the country. For more information, call 888-847-3552 or visit:

About Feeny Inc.

Jim Feeney opened the doors of Feeney Wire Rope & Rigging in an old soap factory building located on the edge of the San Francisco Bay in Berkeley, Calif. The post-war San Francisco Bay Area was booming with military, maritime and construction business, and Feeney quickly gained a solid reputation as a company that provided quality rigging products and superior service. With hard work, a dedicated staff and an expanding list of satisfied customers, Feeney soon grew to become one of the leading suppliers of custom rigging and hardware in the region. And this position still holds true today. The company remains focused on the development of new and innovative product offerings, as well as, traditional industrial rigging services, fabrication and hardware. The company has locations in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon. For more information, visit:

About In-O-Vate

For more than 20 years, In-O-Vate has focused on improving exhaust performance and safety for clothes dryers. Beginning with a better way to connect a dryer’s transition hose — with a 1995 patent award for the Dryerbox® — the family of premium products now includes 20 SKUs. Helping new home buyers save energy and improve home safety, with the Dryerbox, fostered a unique perspective and passion about overall exhaust system performance. Other restriction points were identified, and the determination to address them led to new product development projects. Today, the product family covers the entire exhaust system and, in addition to the Dryerbox, includes the brands DryerClamp™, DryerEll®, DryerFlex™, DryerJack™, DryerPlacard™, Dryer Wall Vent™ and the LintAlert®. For more information, visit:
SkillsUSA Contacts
Jane A. DeShong Short, Program Manager Public Relations/Communications Phone: 703-737-0612 Karen Kitzel, Associate Director Public Relations/Communications Phone: 703-737-0607

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For more information about SkillsUSA, contact:

Jane A. DeShong Short

Senior Manager, Public Relations/Communications

Karen Kitzel

Associate Director, Communications

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