Roane-Jackson Technical Center has been awarded a $4,900 grant from Harbor Freight Tools for Schools to support its SkillsUSA chapter and encourage more students to participate in skilled trades education.

In addition, the SkillsUSA chapter at Roane-Jackson Technical Center will receive a $500 gift card for tools and supplies from the national retailer Harbor Freight Tools, a major supporter of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.

The funds will be used to help the school expand their participation in SkillsUSA, including state and national competition registration, SkillsUSA official blazers, black jackets and competition uniforms.

The Skills USA chapter at Roane-Jackson Technical Center, led by SkillsUSA Advisor Melissa Wilkinson, is one of 12 school programs nationwide to receive a Harbor Freight Tools for Schools grant.

The grants are designed to strengthen local SkillsUSA chapters and are focused on chapters established within the past three years that serve students enrolled in construction trades, transportation or manufacturing clusters.

The grant funds will be used to support SkillsUSA chapter development, and amounts vary by school, but all are designed to promote individual student growth and help graduates be better prepared for work or higher education with essential career skills.

Applicants were evaluated on their proposals for effective enhancement of their SkillsUSA program, including community partnerships and sustainability. Schools with a student population of at least 75 percent who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches were encouraged to apply.

“SkillsUSA is thrilled to partner with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools on this program, which supports the growth of SkillsUSA chapters across the nation,” said SkillsUSA executive director Timothy Lawrence. “Partnerships like these expand opportunities for our members and strengthen relationships between education and industry.”

Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools added, “The outstanding students, advisors and mentors of the SkillsUSA community demonstrate the great promise of the trades as a course of study and career. Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is proud to support excellence in high school skilled trades education through this partnership with SkillsUSA.”

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 360,000 students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level.

SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to SkillsUSA.org.

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, a program of The Smidt Foundation, is dedicated to the advancement of skilled trades education in America. With a deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands, this program was created by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to foster and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education in public high schools.

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 for Schools aims to stimulate greater understanding, support and investment by public entities and others in skilled trades education. Harbor Freight Tools is a major supporter of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools program. For more information, visit harborfreighttoolsforschools.org.