Students Receive Scholarship to Attend SkillsUSA Nationals

Mike Rowe (Left) Emma Murray (Center, Scholarship Winner), Carly D’Orlando (Right)


Mike Rowe (Left), Rebecca Smalley (Center, Scholarship Winner), Julia Parker (Right)

Leesburg, Va. — The mikeroweWORKS Foundation has contributed $50,000 to a SkillsUSA scholarship fund for students competing in the world’s largest showcase of career and technical education (CTE), the 2017 National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky. This year’s scholarship program was enhanced through a generous grant of $50,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries, bringing the total to $100,000 to support CTE students.

This is the seventh consecutive year that the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has offered scholarships to SkillsUSA members who compete and place first in their state’s SkillsUSA Championships but face a financial challenge in going on to the national event. Any SkillsUSA 2017 national competitor who meets the financial criteria can apply.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation focuses on students who are working toward careers in manufacturing, construction, automotive technology and other STEM-related occupations. The 2017 scholarship fund will assist up to 100 students. Since 2011, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has provided scholarships to nearly 400 SkillsUSA students, representing an investment of more than $365,000 in America’s future skilled workforce.

“The skills gap is not only real, it’s a reflection of what we value,” said Mike Rowe. “To close the gap, we need to change the way the country feels about work.  My foundation supports SkillsUSA because it celebrates the kind of skills that are actually in demand.  Through excellence and competition, SkillsUSA encourages real-world training, and in the process, lays an amazing foundation for thousands of careers in the skilled trades.  SkillsUSA works.”

“This is an amazing sponsorship from mikeroweWORKS Foundation and their partners. We sincerely thank the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries for supporting America’s future skilled workforce and these deserving students,” said SkillsUSA’s executive director, Tim Lawrence. “Our students are so grateful for the support they receive and deserve every opportunity to showcase their skills. SkillsUSA is a talent pipeline and a verified skills gap solution. Every year 100,000 SkillsUSA students complete their technical program, job-ready on Day One.”

The annual SkillsUSA Championships take place this June 19-23. An expected 6,000 competitors will be tested in 100 leadership and hands-on occupational skills contests, the majority of which are STEM-focused. Events are as diverse as Humanoid Robotics, Automated Manufacturing Technology, Carpentry, Graphic Communications, Mobile Electronics Installation, Information Technology Services and Medical Assisting. Competitions are planned and run by industry to its standards for entry-level workers.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation focuses on students ready to work hard, but who face financial challenges in attending the national event. Scholarships are based on a written application that includes financial need, SkillsUSA involvement, and the student’s passion for his or her technical skill. Applicants must also provide a recommendation from a SkillsUSA member instructor or state association director.


About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This 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 335,000 member 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


About the mikeroweWORKS Foundation

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that promotes work ethic and supports the skilled trades.  As CEO of the Foundation, Mike Rowe spends a significant amount of time speaking about the country’s dysfunctional relationship with work, highlighting the widening skills gap, and challenging the persistent belief that a four-year degree is automatically the best path for the most people. Through its