Derek Lewis, a Soldotna High School student, poses for a photo with Mike Rowe at a luncheon hosted by mikeroweWORKS, before the national SkillsUSA competition.  Photo &

Derek Lewis, a Soldotna High School student, poses for a photo with Mike Rowe at a luncheon hosted by mikeroweWORKS, before the national SkillsUSA competition. Photo &

Soldotna student receives scholarship

A dirty job may not be in his future, but Soldotna High School student Derek Lewis was able to travel to Louisville, Kentucky thanks to television host Mike Rowe’s foundation mikeroweWORKS.

Lewis was invited to the national SkillsUSA competition, which is a nonprofit aimed at closing the skills gap in the United States through various partnerships between students, instructors and industry leaders.

“The skills gap is not only real, it’s a reflection of what we value,” Rowe said in a release. “To close the gap, we need to change the way the coutry feels about work.”

The mikeroweWORKS foundation works with SkillsUSA to encourage real-world training and lay the groundwork for careers in skilled trades. The foundation offered Lewis a scholarship, which covered travel expenses for him to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, which took place on June 20 in Kentucky.

“My foundation supports SkillsUSA because it celebrates the kind of skills that are actually in demand,” Rowe said.

Lewis attended the conference with a focus on law enforcement. SkillsUSA also focuses on other areas in career and technical education such as automotive service technology, carpentry and mobile robotics technology.

Kat Sorensen can be reached at

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