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‘Dirty Jobs’ Host Mike Rowe Sends Letter To Romney About Putting America Back To Work

mike rowe mitt romney

Mike Rowe asserts that the country is “emotionally disconnected” from the jobs that require working with your hands, and he wants to close the growing skills gap in America by changing the way we feel about such work.

The Dirty Jobs host, who refers to himself as a perpetual apprentice, wrote an open letter to the GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on his website mikeroweWORKS about the shortage of skilled labor in our country even in a time of massive joblessness. Rowe added that he will vote for Mitt Romney if Romney actually reads the entire letter.

Mike Rowe’s open letter says in part:

That’s the essence of what I’ve heard from the hundreds of men and women I’ve worked with on Dirty Jobs. Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers…they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again – our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce. We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it.

Today, we can see the consequences of this disconnect in any number of areas, but none is more obvious than the growing skills gap. Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)

Mike Rowe’s website has evolved into a non-profit foundation to help connect workers, particularly young people, with jobs in the skilled trades and to provide good PR for those trades.

It looks like Mike Rowe may be voting for Romney because he tweeted a picture (see above) of Romney reading his letter on a tablet computer. Rowe apparently wrote a similar letter to President Obama in 2008 but never received a reply.

Dirty Jobs, described as an “unscripted celebration of hard work and skilled labor,” airs on the Discovery Channel every Wednesday at 10 p.m.

Do you think that Mike Rowe has a good point about encouraging workers to become skilled craftsmen and women? Carpenters, plumbers, electricians and others make a good living and do important, necessary work. And they have plenty of it. Wouldn’t the skilled trades be a better career path than getting a college degree in art history or some other going-nowhere liberal arts field and winding up with massive students loans to pay off?

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39 Responses to “‘Dirty Jobs’ Host Mike Rowe Sends Letter To Romney About Putting America Back To Work”

  1. Kristin O'Banion Magee

    I am in total agreement with you, Mike! I'm a teacher and I have always said that skilled labor is where it's at. My own son is not a college bound student. I've encouraged him to go to trade school to learn a skill. AC men make a ton of money down here in Louisiana! I applaud your fortitude in propelling skilled labor in the US. Thank you for writing that letter.

  2. Candalee Spradlin

    I've been saying this for years. Not everybody wants a 4 year degree. Not everybody wants to wear a suit and tie to work every day, and not everybody wants a career. A great many people just want a job that pays enough to cover the bills, has a rainy day allocation, and leaves the worker enough time to pursue other interests. We have been promoting the elitist idea of higher education for so long and so hard I think we have encouraged those who have no interest beyond high school to drop out without a simple high school diploma because their idea of a future life does not correspond with what they are being told is an appropriate, and acceptable dream. K-12 educators should be encouraging kids to pursue their dreams instead of endeavoring to mandate what those dreams are.

  3. Baltimore Breitbart

    Just try to find a decent Trade School these days! That's one of the problems. I've known many young people who say, "The suit and tie gig in a cubicle isn't for me, but I shouldn't have to get a 4 year degree with a 40k student loan to learn how and be qualified to lay pipe or weld."

  4. Mary Constance

    Twelve years ago we hired a contractor to build our home. I was able to be there everyday and watch as they used their skills, hard work and creative ideas to help make our dream home a reality. I marveled everyday and saw first hand how hard they worked and how much they enjoy what they were doing. I tried to make sure I said thank you everyday. There are so many people out there who do jobs that are very important, jobs that not everyone can or would do. Thank them when you get a chance….they make all of our lives better.

  5. Mary Constance

    Twelve years ago we hired a contractor to build our home. I was able to be there everyday and watch as they used their skills, hard work and creative ideas to help make our dream home a reality. I marveled everyday and saw first hand how hard they worked and how much they enjoy what they were doing. I tried to make sure I said thank you everyday. There are so many people out there who do jobs that are very important, jobs that not everyone can or would do. Thank them when you get a chance….they make all of our lives better.

  6. Rick Diaz

    I was one of those who college was not an option for. After joining the Marines right out of high school I managed to turn my early interest in fixing things into a career as an appliance repairman. That led to a high-tech job in the Silicon Valley in the early '80s and then to a job in aerospace as an avionics installer. I managed to turn my love of motorcycles into a career, first as a custom bike builder and shop owner, then as a technical editor for motorcycle magazines. The skills I learned early in life have made me forever employable despite never having earned a degree. I may not have made as much money as my college-educated contemporaries, but I made a pretty good life for myself without ever having worried about continued employment or of being downsized out of a job. People who can fix or create things are always in demand and always have something to fall back on in tough times. Many a college grad has looked down their nose at me (there's many of them in the publishing industry that couldn't write a coherent sentence if their life depended on it), but I take pride in what I do and never feel inferior for not having a piece of paper to define me.

  7. Billy Bartels

    I've been railing against our "college at all costs" mentality about education. It's stupid. There will always be technical jobs that we can start teaching at the high school level. And we can do it without stigmatizing or shady "tracking" practices.

  8. Mary L Diaz

    I am very proud of you my son and always will be as I am of all my children who didnt have it handed to them. They all worked very hard to be who they are today no help from the govt. Both my daughters went to college with no help from Govt. My son Bob is a lead estimator for an aerospace company and my son Rick can run rings around a lot of college graduates with all his learned skills, no help from Govt. My husband came from Cuba in 1947 without a dime to his name, raised 4 children never took a welfare check or food stamps, never collected an unenployment check. Had his own business and before that was the top salesman for Sanyo and was making over 100,000 a year. No help from the govt. So if my children can be successful, with or without a degree, so can anyone elses. Without the help of govt.

  9. Anonymous

    Make money just using the Google. You choose working hours. You can make above $2000/day working for this billion dollar company. For more info visit makecash25.cøm.

  10. Robert Hensley

    I have taken many young folks under my wing and grand them to be good cabinet makers. These were the kids people found as failures. The only thing the failed at was not meeting others idea of what they should be. Well, they became great cabinet guys, fathers and husbands.

  11. Gary Walker

    I have to agree and like what Mike has to say. I think this is where Unions and the GOP might patch up there relationship. As a Journeymen in almost any of the major trades you can make a good living wage.

  12. Pat Meiners

    It begins in the schools, with teachers who have degrees & stress going to college. Even if they don't say anything outright that is demeaning about technicians, that is what comes through. My husband & I have an HVAC/Appliance Service business and often hear rude comments and customers who must think we are just waiting for their call to have the privilege of working in their filthy homes.

  13. Janis Walker

    Community colleges all over the country offer great vocational training programs, at a much lower cost than "trade schools" with high tuition rates.

  14. Joel Krach

    Mike could have said it better.skilled treads aways have something to fall back on if life make a bad ture. Plus alot of side work.

  15. Theresa Dunavant

    Plus, those that do get degrees still have a hard time getting a job these days.

  16. Rebecca Roe

    While everyone is so hyped on "everyone" getting a college education-which is all fine and good, there is a need beyond the intellectual, the need for the practical/creative and pragmatic application of skills. We need a balance of thinkers and doers in this modern age. Especially when infrastructures are crumbling and people downplaying and making derogatory statements about professions that "get your hands dirty". With the emphasis in this campaign on putting people back to work-I encourage both candidates to articulate plans on apprenticeships, creative solutions and training mechanisms that will bring lost skills back to the forefront. We need masons, artists, potters, plumbers, and craftsmen/women to become the next "Renaissance" movement. Believe me the integrity of blue collar outweighs white collar in my mind 1 million times over!

  17. Robin Rushlo

    I am having a hard time finding people that want to take the time to learn the skills it takes to be customer service reps and sales reps. The want to just show up and get s check. The customer is never right. They always know better and never want to improve their skills.

    Stocking shelves or marking boxes correctly who cars as long as it gets on the box. No pride is boxes stack and square.
    I have no idea what happened to this but I would sooner hire everyone over the age of 50 to work for me then anyone under 30. That's a pity too. That group yells the loudest about not having work, but they refuse to really work.

  18. Sandra Dunn Layne

    I'm with ya, girl!!! Too many academics and not enough 'brains'. Obama is the one who goes out and says, 'everyone you have to go to college and promises government-sponsored loans' (the next bubble to burst). Perfect example, my dear friend had 2 daughters. She always talked about one with a 'left' brain and one with a 'right' brain . . . now, that is NOT being political :) . . . but one did very well in college, and the other was more of a 'hands on' type and quit after 1 year of college. Both have done well, but took different paths to get there. The blue-collar, middle-class that I grew up in knew these 'hands on' folks and they could get down and dirty or clean up with any academic!!!

  19. Roger Tuftskins

    What I have noticed about the "dirty jobs" people, both on the show and in real life, is they are happy with their work, and take pride in it. The whiners and complainers (via their Facebook posts) all have jobs in IT, or education/health administration, and like to call in sick twice a week. They all have their 4-year paper degrees as well. They would consider a shovel-ready job as so far beneath them that they would rather collect unemployment than take a job that doesn't involve sitting in a cubicle and whining on Facebook during perpetual work breaks.

  20. Roger Tuftskins

    Great posts, Rick and Mary. You are products of a better vanished time. Most of these college graduates ring up $100,000 in debt so they can get a job sitting in front of a computer (something they could have mastered with two weeks of on the job training). Debt scam.

  21. Roger Tuftskins

    My local school district recently opened a tech school. This needs to happen everywhere. It is the first step towards rebuilding our broken manufacturing base.

  22. Lewis Frank Regner

    I agree but during a time when companies like Comcast, Sprint, and any other (you name the) communication or power company, are themselves guilty as sin of perpetrating this; holding in low esteem of their hands on part of the workforce, this is not going to change. They treat their lowest level employees like shit,, as if they were some kind of an adversarial, even hostile part of the company structure, and hold their often physically unskilled, even incompetent managers in importance above all else, even though most are ass kissing wannabees who could have never made it as a truly competent part of the rank and file workforce of the men and women they purport to supervise.

  23. Shelly Summer

    Many liberal art grads have no clue of reality that says high tech science / math are needed for successful careers & strong Culture / Country / World.

  24. Amy Faye Smith

    Would that be real jobs for real people? I believe they discontinued that line of people so those real jobs are not needed anymore. I am sure there is a few collage student that would just love to do a study in why real people are not needed anymore

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