Skip to content

About Us

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is a program of The Smidt Foundation, established by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to advance excellent skilled trades education in public high schools across America. We have a deep respect for the dignity of the skilled trades and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands. We believe that high-quality skilled trades education gives high school students a pathway to graduation, opportunity, and good jobs and produces a workforce our country needs.

Our Aims

We respect the dignity of the skilled trades and have deep admiration for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands.

We work to advance excellent skilled trades education in public high schools across America.

We aim to stimulate greater understanding and support of, and investment in, skilled trades education.

We know that skilled trades education can lead to graduation, opportunity, good jobs, and a workforce our country needs.

The Platinum Standard

 

What are the elements of excellence in skilled trades teaching and learning in American public high schools?

 

Start With a Terrific Teacher Who…

divider3

Loves the subject matter, students and their possibilities.

Is highly skilled, knowledgeable and able to teach and adapt approved curriculum.

Is supported by their colleagues, principal and policy; with competitive compensation; by a community of practice.

Seeks opportunities to learn and refresh skills.

Is valued by and deeply engaged in the community.

divider2

Then Match Teachers with Curriculum Relevant to Students’ Career Pathways and Future Work Choices…

And seamless connections to next-step options, including employers, community colleges and universities;

A safe, modern space in which to experiment and build, with modern equipment and tools;

Teacher-student ratios enabling hands-on learning by students, in teams and solo, with meaningful supervision and coaching;

Students who are connected and learning outside of school, with guidance from a skilled tradesperson, with opportunities to showcase skills and knowledge;

Students who have apprenticeships or paid internships;

Resulting in all students gaining a high school diploma and an industry-recognized credential, and with that, opportunity and choices for the future.

The Platinum Standard was created to help anchor and guide Harbor Freight Tools for Schools as it evolves.

It was gleaned from ACTE research (2016/17) that amalgamated nearly two dozen different sets of success indicators and was reviewed by our advisors at the October 2016 advisor meeting.

Download The Platinum Standard Graphic