Editor’s note: This news brief originally ran in the July 18th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to our print edition to keep up with all our news, even the news that doesn’t make our website. Visit

ENOSBURG FALLS: As a way to promote their brand, Harbor Freight Tools, is running a grant for high school skilled trades programs, and Baxter Weed, the Automotive Technology teacher at Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg is among the 50 finalists for the award.

There were almost 750 contestants in the initial round, according to the organizers of the grant, which include automotive as well as construction, welding, manufacturing, and agriculture mechanics.

The $1 million will be split between the winners, with the top place finisher picking up $70,000 for their school, and $30,000 for themselves to help continue their work. Second place winners will receive $35,000 for their school and $15,000 for themselves.

Weed is among 50 finalists who have advanced to the next round of judging where they will be asked to respond to online expert led video learning modules designed to solicit their insights and creative ideas about teaching practices. The contenders will be asked how ideas from the modules might be used to inspire students to achieve excellence in the skilled trades.

Now in its third year, past winners of the competition have dedicated their winnings to modernizing their shops, investing in specialized tools, promoting their programs to families and purchasing equipment to prepare students for higher level accreditations. Semifinalists whose school, district or state policy prohibits receipt of the individual portion of prize earnings were eligible to apply on behalf of their school’s skilled trades program. If they win, the entire prize will be awarded to the school, according to organizers.