GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Two Gulfport teachers are being recognized for their commitment to educating the next generation of skilled trade workers.
Gerald "Dave" Huffman and Patrick Wadsworth were honored for their work at Gulfport High and named finalists in the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence award. The two are entered as a team and are up against nine other competitors.
The prize competition drew nearly 700 applicants from 48 states. As finalists, they are in the running to win one of three first-place prizes of $100,000, with $70,000 going to the high school. The rest of the money will go the instructors behind the award-winning program.
At Gulfport High, Huffman teaches construction technology while Wadsworth teaches English and technical writing. Their students work together on projects, applying technical and academic skills into that mirror real-life trade work environments.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than 1.5 million skilled trades job openings as Baby Boomers retire between now and 2024.
The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence was designed to recognize outstanding skilled trade programs in U.S. public high schools. that inspires students to learn a trade that prepares them for a career after high school.
"We're proud to honor the important leadership of these skilled trades teachers, who are working so hard to equip their students with the know-how and skill to land good jobs, pursue bright futures, and become part of a workforce our country needs." said Eric Smidt, founder and CEO of Harbor Freight Tools.