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?