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Skilled Trades Classrooms Make Real World Connections

SAN DIEGOJan. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Following up on a successful Spring semester, 25 skilled trades classrooms across the US are getting the chance to connect their classroom learning with real world application in their communities. With the guidance of Real World Scholars (RWS) and support from Harbor Freight Tools for Schools(HFTFS), these high school students operate real businesses with the help of their teachers through this unique learning experience.

The initiative, Harbor Freight EdCorps, began in 2018 as a pilot in Chattanooga and Pittsburgh and expands this year to San Diego and Phoenix. Classrooms focus on skilled trades such as construction, welding, and industrial tech. Using e-commerce technology developed by RWS, students incorporate entrepreneurship into their everyday learning and connect virtually to customers across the country.

“We are pleased and excited to be collaborating with Real World Scholars for a second year,” said Danny Corwin, Executive Director of HFTFS. “We look forward to seeing students continue to develop their passion for skilled trades, entrepreneurship, and deepen their understanding of what it takes to run a successful business.”

Last year, these student-driven businesses produced everything from solar-powered chicken coops to decorative metal art and hydroponics kits. “EdCorps connected my students to their school in a way I could never have accomplished alone,” said Jeff Noll, a Pittsburgh-based teacher whose class sold cutting boards last year. “It was a way to incorporate traditional teaching methods with new technology and reach our students with both.”

New this year are three Phoenix classrooms operating on state-of-the-art West-MEC campuses where students spend half their school day earning college credit or industry certifications. Other businesses include Colfax, CA-based newcomer Tree Transformation led by HFTFS Prize winner Jonathan Schwartz, and Hixson Hardwood, a woodworking business in Chattanooga, TN.

Overall, more than 150 classrooms nationwide launched EdCorps this year, equipping thousands of K-12 students to own their learning and forge valuable community connections.


Real World Scholars is a San Diego based company that helps students leverage their own curiosity, creativity, and entrepreneurial thinking to solve problems, make connections, and become contributors to their communities – engaging them in work that matters. For more information, visit

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, a program of the Smidt Foundation, is dedicated to the advancement of skilled trades education in America and was created to foster and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education in public high schools. Learn more at

Adam Mathis, Account Manager
Real World Scholars
(877) 526-8037