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Blackhawk Technical College Student Wins Mike Rowe Scholarship

July 21, 2020

Congratulations to Blackhawk’s Casey Bennett who is among the nationwide recipients for the 2020 Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation Work Ethic Scholarship. Of the 223 scholarships, only five scholarships were awarded to students in Wisconsin. Casey is a student in the Agribusiness Specialist program housed at Blackhawk’s Monroe Campus. He currently serves the Wisconsin Technical College System as a student District Ambassador.

Casey Bennett in gray dress shirt and navy tie with dark blue background

The application process for the scholarship is designed to allow applicants to demonstrate their work ethic. “Receiving this award means a lot, not just financially, which was generous, but as a confidence builder.  The Mike Rowe Work Ethic scholarship is very competitive and the application process is designed to make you prove you want a spot,” explained Casey. “To go through the process and be selected is a huge confidence boost that I'm doing the right thing for me and my family; that I'm on the right path and have a supportive network that believes in my potential for success.” 

Casey’s background and work experience might take some by surprise. His diverse experience includes stay-at-home-dad, preschool teacher, and founding member of Ghostbusters Incorporated Worldwide. Before returning to the classroom in 2019, Casey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He returned to BTC in 2019 to retrain for a career in agriculture. “Since I began this journey last year, it's become more than just a goal of retraining for the workforce but a lifestyle change as well,” said Casey.   

“Casey is excelling academically and is taking full advantage of his education and other related opportunities at BTC,” said Agribusiness and Farm Management Instructor Dustin Williams. “Casey has a great work ethic and can-do attitude, and is a great representative of a role model student.”

According to the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation, “the Work Ethic Scholarship Program is about recognizing the people who understand the importance of personal responsibility, delayed gratification, a positive attitude, and, of course, work ethic.” The Foundation goes on to explain, “The hardworking men and women who keep the lights on, water running, and air flowing—the next generation of skilled workers who will work smart and hard. These are the folks we consider rock stars, and we want to reward them.”

Casey is no stranger to hard work and perseverance. At Blackhawk, he has assumed leadership roles in Professional Agriculture Students (PAS), an organization for students in the Agribusiness Program. In PAS, he has served as treasurer as well as the state representative. In the community, Casey has led Modern Woodmen, a youth club, for four years. Under Casey’s leadership, the organization has earned premiere status for the last three years.

As a recipient of the scholarship, Casey had to sign what Mike Rowe calls “The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge.” S.W.E.A.T. stands for “Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.” The pledge has 12 principles included that outlines the importance of work ethic, personal responsibility, delayed gratification, and a positive attitude. To learn more about The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge visit mikeroweworks.org/sweat/.

Casey is on track to complete the Agribusiness Specialist Technical Diploma in Spring 2021 and will transition into the Agribusiness/Science Technology degree in Fall 2021. After Blackhawk, Casey plans to seek an administrative role within the industry or with an organization that supports agriculture. His family also plans on relocating to the country to do some sustainable homesteading and small scale production for supplemental income. 

He offered this parting advice to others: “I would encourage other members of the BTC community to consider applying for next year’s scholarship spots and say yes to a great opportunity.”

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