Coats is Driving Force in Pinellas in National Skills USA Student Program
by Leo Coughlin
Perhaps not generally noticed but of critical importance for the future of young people and Pinellas County and beyond is the Skills USA program sponsored by Sheriff Jim Coats and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Aligned with the program and a driving force behind it are the Pinellas Education Foundation and the Centers of Excellence Program created by Superintendent of Schools Clayton Wilcox and the School Board.
Through the Coats Skills USA scholarship program, students participating in the Center of Excellence and Pinellas Technical Education Center career programs will have the opportunity to showcase their skills on a regional, state and national level.
The whole idea of the Skills USA project, which is initially being funded by money from the Drug Seizure and Forfeiture funds, is to allow Pinellas County students who graduate from high school "certified to industry standards" to continue their education as a highly skilled, highly paid employee.
The countywide scholarship program is designed to -
The plan is to build a $1 million endowment fund that will yield about $40,000 a year to directly support the Coats USA Skills scholarship program.
Skills USA is a national program that includes 284,000 students and instructors organized into more than 14,000 sections in 54 state and territorial associations.
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