Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, as a part of the Smidt Foundation, supports skilled trades education in US public schools, sponsoring a Teacher of Excellence award—a financial prize of $100,000 to three first-place finalists with $70,000 going to the school’s trade program and $30,000 going to the winning teacher. Career and Technical Education instructors from across the country apply to be recognized as one of the “most passionate, skilled teachers” operating a “skilled trade program with a proven record of performance.” Applicants submit essays and complete reflections on learning modules, connecting those modules to their own teaching. Applications are then reviewed by a panel of judges drawn from diverse worlds, including education, skilled trades, community development, business, philanthropy and the arts.
Charles (Chaz) Kachmar was selected in November of 2018 as one of the three $100,000 finalists for Harbor Freights Tools for Schools Teacher of Excellence. Mr. Kachmar is the welding program instructor and pioneer at Maxwell High School of Technology. Since 2012, Mr. Kachmar has consistently grown his program and provided his apprentices with hands on experiences and access to jobs right after graduation at Maxwell. His passion and love for his students and craft is known to everyone who has spent time in his midst, now including those at Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.