Student News

Mike Rowe’s $1M Work Ethic Scholarship Program

TV host and blue-collar job advocate, Mike Rowe, is supporting students with scholarships to help pay for training! Find out what trades are eligible for the award.

Shawna Newman

March 15, 2024

Mike Rowe’s $1M Work Ethic Scholarship Program
Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo (SWEAT)
It takes a skilled workforce to keep America running. Unfortunately, there are not enough skilled laborers to keep up with job demands. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, in seven years more than 2 million manufacturing jobs may be unfilled because of a skills gap. There’s a dire need for trained skilled laborers ready to work in many blue-collar fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 60% of jobs are in occupations that require a high school diploma. Occupations in construction, installation, maintenance and repair, and transportation are projected to grow faster than average over the next decade. For some students, trade school may serve as the best path. Rather than attending a four-year college, students can learn an in-demand trade to continue their education and create a better future for themselves. Not the typical classroom setting, vocational and trade schools are laser-focused on teaching students how to become master professionals in a specific skill. Also called Vo-Tech programs, students can expect to learn from hands-on training in as little as two years, or less. JUMP TO APPLY FOR THE MIKE ROWE FOUNDATION WORK ETHIC SCHOLARSHIP
Dirty Jobs host, Mike Rowe, is on a mission to spotlight the importance of a skilled labor force and—possibly—to help close the United States skilled trades gap. In combination with a Dirty Jobs spin-off, podcast, and Facebook WATCH web series, Rowe created the MikeRoweWORKS Foundation. To influence and expand the skilled trades workforce, the foundation awards scholarships to students pursuing a skilled-trade career.

About the Mike Rowe Scholarship

For the 2024-25 scholarship year, the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation is giving away a total of one million dollars in scholarships to “recognize students that understand the importance of work ethic, personal responsibility, delayed gratification, and a positive attitude,” according to The number and amounts of awards for the year 2024 vary. The value and the total number of awards will be determined by the scholarship committee. Scholarship winners can apply the money awarded toward tuition, books, and tool costs. The Work Ethic Scholarship Program is not renewable. However, previous scholarship award winners can reapply for the scholarship if they disclose, they are previous winners, complete another scholarship application, and meet the scholarship requirements.

Work Ethic Scholarship Program

Deadline: 4/17/24 Award Amount: Varies The Work Ethic Scholarship Program is open to students pursuing training for a career in a trade field. You must sign the S.W.E.A.T. pledge, answer four short questions related to the pledge, make a short, 60-second video, and submit two references in order to be considered for this award.

Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

Students must be enrolled or planning to enroll in one of the approved certificate, license, or two-year trade programs below:
  • Automotive Technology
  • Aviation Technology
  • Carpentry
  • Commercial Driving
  • Construction
  • Diesel Technology
  • Electrical Technology
  • Emergency Medical Technology
  • Farming and Agriculture
  • Fire Science and Technology
  • Heavy Equipment Operation
  • HVAC
  • Machinery
  • Manufacturing
  • Marine Technology
  • Pipefitting
  • Plumbing
  • Welding
  • This scholarship is not available for students in four-year degree or bachelor’s degree programs.

    How to Apply

    Students can complete the Work Ethic Scholarship application in seven steps. To apply, applicants must:
    1. Sign the S.W.E.A.T Pledge. – This oath stands for Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo. Students are asked to watch the pledge videos to understand the sentiment of Mike Rowe’s scholarship program.
    2. Answer four questions about the S.W.E.A.T Pledge. – This ensures applicants understand the values and life application of the hardworking pledge.
    3. Create a video. – In 60 seconds or less, scholarship applicants must answer a specific question and show who they are.
    4. Have two references submit the online reference form. – Acceptable references include those from a boss, supervisor, teacher or someone you have reported to.
    5. Verify your college or vocational, technical or trade school costs. – A financial aid officer from your school must submit a form to verify the cost of the program you’re in or will be enrolled in.
    6. Provide your high school or college transcript. – If it’s the first year in a program, students can submit their high school transcript. If it’s the second year, send the transcript for the prior year.
    7. Submit your most recent 1040 tax form – Annual income is requested to understand student financial needs. Dependent students will need to submit their parent or guardian’s tax form claiming him/her as a dependent.

    Similar Scholarships for Skilled-Trades Programs

    If you’re considering trade school, you may be interested in the vocational and technical school scholarships below:

    Kevin Phillips Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Award Amount: Varies The Kevin Phillips Scholarship is open to students pursuing a career in RV technician training. You must be a new high school graduate, leaving the military, or have tried college and found it wasn’t for you in order to be considered for this award.

    WHVACR Scholarship

    Deadline: Rolling
    Award Amount: $5,000 The WHVACR Scholarship is available to female students who are enrolled in a college or trade school program that is preparing them to enter the HVACR industry. You must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be eligible for this award.

    Home Depot Foundation's Path to Pro Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Award Amount: $2,000 The Home Depot Foundation's Path to Pro Scholarship is available to students who will enroll in an approved trade-related program at an accredited two-year technical/vocational school or college in the U.S. To be considered for this award, your focus must be on carpentry, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, or construction management.

    Nuts and Bolts Foundation Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Award Amount: $2,500 The Nuts and Bolts Foundation Scholarship is available to students enrolled in or entering a certificate or degree program which leads to a manufacturing career on a full-time basis. You must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 for trade/tech/community college and 3.0 for college/university to be eligible for this award. Be sure to create your free Fastweb profile to find all the vocational and trade school scholarships you should consider applying for!

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