WILLIAMSPORT -- A teacher working to break the stigma sometimes connected with trade programs is now being awarded for his work.
Students in this shop class at Williamsport Area School District are busy building their projects. Their teacher Randy Williamson is busy building something else: the school's program.
"I could see the importance of a quality program to train the upcoming kids to enter the workforce," Williamson said.
Susan Bigger, the assistant superintendent at Williamsport Area School District, took note of that too. She nominated Williamson for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools prize for teaching excellence.
"Really, any of our teachers could be nominated but Randy really fit the bill," Bigger said.
The cash prize giveaway was started by a privately owned company and was open to any skilled trades teachers in the U.S.
About 700 teachers or groups were nominated.
This week, Williamson found out he's in the top ten.
"We at least have the $30,000 and we are keeping our fingers crossed for the major award," he said.
Three first-place winners will get $100,000 and $70,000 will go to their school.
Seven second-place winners get $30,000.
Instead of buying some new tools for the program, Williamson would like to see a portion of the money set aside and put into the school's education foundation. That way, future students can also benefit from the money.
What Harbor Freight Is trying to do is bring recognition to the skill trade programs, try and reduce the stigma," Williamson said.
It's something Williamson's students say their teacher is already doing
"We're learning things in here that will get us job-ready for if we want to enter our field or if we want to enter into college," said student Angelo Girardi.
The three first prize winners will be announced later this month.