As high school industrial arts classes fall by the wayside, RIDGID Tools, a division of Emerson Tool Co., and The Home Depot have developed a plan to combat the problem. The two companies launched Tools of the Trade, a program that donates tools to schools, gives safety instruction seminars, and awards tool scholarships estimated at $4,000 to selected students, at four post-secondary schools.
"The intent [of the program] is to encourage and reward students pursuing a career in woodworking," says Dave Hazelwood, marketing director for Emerson Tool. The schools selected for the pilot program are the New England School of Architectural Woodworking, East Hampton, Mass.; Jefferson College, Hillsboro, Mo.; George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology, Toronto, Ontario; and Seattle Central Community College, Seattle, Wash.
If the pilot program proves successful, Tools of the Trade will likely include more schools next year. "We’re already getting additional inquiries," says Mike Tracy, senior vice president of proprietary brands for The Home Depot. "Our hope is to expand [the program]." If a school in your area might benefit, call (404) 873-5330 and refer to RIDGID’s Tools of the Trade program.