Mike Rowe offering scholarship for people who want to go to trade school

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UPDATE 4/18/19:  This 2019 scholarship is closed and no longer taking applicants. Please visit Mike Rowe’s site for the latest information on future year scholarships.

If you or someone you know is interested in a job in the trades — such as plumbing, electrical work or welding — former “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe is offering a scholarship program through his charitable foundation that will offer money for skilled jobs training.

This is the fifth year in a row that the organization has offered its work ethic scholarship, which is taking applications through June 4.

The amount awarded has not been specified in terms of dollars, but the organization refers to it as a “pile of money” and, in a video announcing the 2018 scholarship, Rowe said the foundation has at least $500,000 to give away.

Over the years, Rowe says the scholarship program has given away about $5 million so far.

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Are You Eligible?

UPDATE 4/18/19:  This scholarship is closed and no longer taking applicants. 

There are a number of requirements in order to apply for the work ethic scholarship.

According to The Penny Hoarder, applicants need to be a high school senior, graduate or GED recipient, who are enrolled, or planning to enroll, in a vocational school and planning to graduate after Dec. 1, 2018.

On the official page for the scholarship contest, it states that all applicants must sign Rowe’s “S.W.E.A.T. Pledge,” a 12-point treatise designed to hold its signer to Rowe’s own standards of what makes someone worthy of such a gift.

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Applicants must also have at least two references, excluding family members.

They must also submit an essay about why they want to work in the trades and what makes them deserving of the scholarship, along with a short video that helps make their case.

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“Why are you drawn to the skilled trades? Why do you deserve to receive an award? Let us know any accomplishments or anything you do that shows that you believe in the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge,” according to the scholarship website. “For example, do you volunteer, or were you an Eagle Scout? Do you put in extra hours helping other students or mentoring kids?”

Attendance records are not required but are preferred.

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“Bottom line – work ethic scholarships are for people who are hungry to learn a skill that’s in demand—it’s for the people who wake up early, stay late, and bust their ass day in and day out. Naturally, people like this are hard to find, but they’re out there,” according to the scholarship website.

Do you have what Rowe’s foundation is looking for?

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Rowe’s goal is to help people get trained for skilled job that actually exist, according to the foundation’s website. He believes there’s too much student loan debt and that we should challenge “the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success.”

This is a topic Rowe is very passionate about – he frequently speaks about this idea in public.

“As CEO of the foundation … 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,” according to the site.

You can hear more of his thoughts on the so-called skills gap in this video:

Past scholarship winners include Jacob Nohai who is studying heavy equipment operation with help from Rowe’s foundation:

Another past winner is Antoinette Jackson, who is studying general automotives at a community college.

How To Apply

UPDATE 4/18/19:  This scholarship is closed and no longer taking applicants. 

If you meet the qualifications and are interested in applying, follow the link to sign up at the bottom of the work ethic scholarship page on the foundation’s website.

Do you know someone who’s interested in trade work? Be sure to pass this along to them to help them pay for school!

About the Author

Kate Streit

Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. More.

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