April 21, 2021 – Economic Progress

mikeroweWORKS Foundation helps Americans find meaningful work


While millions of Americans are working from home, millions of others cannot. These people leave the house every day to keep our lights on, our water running, and our grocery-store shelves stocked. They design, build, and execute, but often are still nameless and faceless.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation (MRWF) celebrates individuals like Victoria Knight whose company Hard Hats in Heels is working to empower more women to work in construction, and John Fitzpatrick, a formerly incarcerated individual who learned a skilled trade. Like the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF), MRWF recognizes that many essential workers are eager to expand their contributions by accessing new training and education opportunities to provide a better life for themselves and their families.

Through its annual Work Ethic Scholarship Program, MRWF rewards people who demonstrate the importance of work ethic, personal responsibility, delayed gratification, and a positive attitude. Scholarship applicants can come from a variety of industries, including construction, plumbing, farming and agriculture, emergency medical technology, and welding. Recipients use the scholarship to develop skills and access new work opportunities. CKF will provide support for the scholarship again this year.

The scholarship has helped thousands of people transform their lives already, including Knight and Fitzpatrick.

Josiah Bardo used his Work Ethic Scholarship to learn how to weld. He now works full-time as a boilermaker, makes a good salary, and gets time off to spend with his daughter. Kevin Samuel used his scholarship to learn how to work on engines. Today, he is an automotive technician and is saving money for a down payment on a house.

Tracy Wilson’s Work Ethic Scholarship helped her get an associate’s degree in electrical technology. That degree allowed her to trade-in her job as a housekeeper for a job at Boeing working on F-18s.

“We share Mike’s deep belief in the dignity of work,” said CKF Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “We’re proud to continue our support of students discovering, developing and applying their aptitudes in the skilled trades.”

The Work Ethic Scholarship Program application deadline is May 6, 2021. Learn more.

The Charles Koch Foundation partners with social entrepreneurs to drive societal progress through academic research and innovations that help all learners realize their potential. Read more about the Foundation’s support for education.