Contact: Jane Short, SkillsUSA
Phone: (703) 737-0612
Leah Morton, 18, Chugiak, a student at the King Career Center and an Alaska gold medalist in Commercial Baking was the recipient of a mikeroweWORKS Foundation scholarship to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., June 22-26. Mike Rowe, former host of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" and current host of CNN's "Somebody's Got To Do It," created the foundation in 2008 to, in his words, "give something back and challenge the prevailing definition of a 'good job.' For decades, we have put a premium on a four-year degree, and told an entire generation that trade schools and skilled labor are alternatives to higher education. Hyperbole aside, the skills gap is real. Our infrastructure is crumbling. And, our country is scrambling to put itself back together."
The scholarship provides support for SkillsUSA state contest winners who have insufficient personal resources to travel to and participate in the 2015 National SkillsUSA Championships. The total contribution this year was $95,000 - up from $50,000 in 2014 because of the generosity of not only mikeroweWORKS, but also DEWALT and Cisco Systems, Inc. This year's scholarship award amounts were determined by the geographic travel distance to Louisville, Kentucky. The winners will also have the opportunity to meet with a member of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation staff during the conference.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, in partnership with SkillsUSA, has offered scholarships for SkillsUSA members who compete and place first in their state's SkillsUSA Championships and who otherwise would not be able to attend the national SkillsUSA Championships for financial reasons. The scholarship is awarded based on a student-written narrative describing the need for the scholarship and lack of school or community resources. A student may be nominated with a letter of recommendation written by his or her SkillsUSA advisor or the SkillsUSA state association director.
This year, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation had a priority focus on high school and college/postsecondary students who are working toward careers in manufacturing, construction, automotive, engineering and STEM-related trade occupations.
Since 2011, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has provided scholarship support to 262 SkillsUSA students, representing an investment of more than $261,000 in America's future skilled workforce.