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On Oct. 4, we awarded $1.25 million to 20 high school skilled trades teachers and their programs through the 2022 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

Next year, we plan to do it all over again.

If you are an outstanding skilled trades teacher at a U.S. public high school, you can apply for the prize again starting in March 2023. If you know an outstanding teacher who is eligible, please encourage them to apply. This year a record 768 teachers in 50 states applied. We expect even more in 2023.

Launched in 2017, the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence is an annual award recognizing outstanding U.S. public high school skilled trades teachers and their programs.

“You all really probably have no idea what this prize has done for me as a teacher, and what life and energy it has brought me at this point in my career. There is probably no questionnaire that can quantify what this really means. This has been like a refreshing drink of cool water on a hot day. It has really impacted me as a person, and as a teacher.”

Eligible applicants are educators who teach skilled trades classes that emphasize the expert use of materials and tools to build, repair and maintain products and structures. Most applicants will come from the following broad fields of education in public high schools:

  • Agricultural Mechanics
  • Carpentry
  • Construction
  • Electrical
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Manufacturing
  • Plumbing
  • Transportation mechanics and repair
  • Welding

We recently put together this brief video highlighting the impact of the prize. We hope it inspires you to consider applying next spring!

“We had – suddenly – all this money I could go spend on new equipment and freshen things up, and I didn’t have school board restrictions on what I could buy. That was really awesome. I could get the things I really needed and really wanted. It showed the kids this new perspective…They really started to get more invested in what we were doing, which was pretty cool. Now we have four freshmen level classes. We’ve never had that many freshmen coming in.”

The photo above features Dan Van Boxtel, a 2022 winner of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, and Staci Sievert, a 2021 prizewinner. Both teach at Wisconsin high schools.