For the fourth year in a row, the time has come to announce another pile of free money available for the Work Ethic Scholarship Program, a program that gives scholarships to people getting trained for skilled jobs that are in demand.

The 2017 Work Ethic Scholarship Program launches Monday, March 20, 2017. Anyone with a pulse, and a desire to learn a trade, is invited to apply at that time.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, there are some hoops to jump through. Here are a few of them that set us apart from other programs:

  1. The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge must be signed by ALL applicants. S.W.E.A.T stands for, “Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.” Basically, you’re signing a solemn oath not to become a lazy, self-entitled drone who blames others for their troubles and expects to be taken care of. Fair warning: this Pledge is not for everyone; so if you’re offended or threatened by its content, it’s probably best to seek out a different pile of free money.
  2. We’ll need to see at least two solid references. No, Mom doesn’t count; we know she loves you. We only accept references from a boss, superior, teacher, or someone you have reported to who will gush about with you in a way that will knock our socks off. But we’ll accept more than two references; if more than two people want to sing your praises, send them on.
  1. You’ll need to write an essay and answer a few short questions. Your essay is a chance to make the case for why YOU should get some of the free money. Tell us about yourself. 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. For example, do you volunteer, or were you an Eagle Scout? Do you put in extra hours helping other students or mentoring kids? What else do you do that sets you apart from all the other applicants? Make your case, and be persuasive.
  2. While we don’t require attendance records, if you can get them then give them to us. Showing up counts.
  3. While also not required, send us a video where you make a case for yourself. Consider it the audiovisual version of your essay. There are rules on submitting a video so be sure to read those carefully and comply, or the video may not be considered.

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.

For more information, check back with us March 20th!

For inquiries regarding the 2017 Work Ethic Scholarship Program, email

GenNext - scholarship page



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  • * A trillion dollars in student loans.

  • * Record high unemployment.

  • * Three million good jobs that no one seems to want.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation started the Profoundly Disconnected® campaign to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. The Skills Gap is here, and if we don’t close it, it’ll swallow us all. Which is a long way of saying, we could use your help…

Mike RoweMike Rowe talks about Skills Gap 

mikeroweWORKS Foundation’s 2016 Work Ethic Scholarship Program





Workforce / Skills Gap