Mike Rowe and the Working Man’s Revolution

“We’re lending money we don’t have, to kids who will never be able to pay it back, for jobs that no longer exist… That’s crazy, right? That’s what we’ve been doing for the last forty years.”  — Mike Rowe

With everyone from your local High School guidance counselor to the President of the United States telling high school students that the only way to make a living in today’s day and age is a college diploma, we have more and more students graduating from college unable to find work. Well, Mike Rowe of the famed TV show Dirty Jobs is trying to help students unlearn that worn out and misguided advice.

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“Tricky thing about talking about the issue…things are so polarized and politicized that people will immediately wonder what it is you’re against if you start talking what it is you’re for… I’m not against a college education. I’m against debt.”

College is important, for some people. In today’s America we are pushing students towards college who would be better served heading towards Technical schools or apprenticeships. We have a dearth of skilled workers in technical fields doing what we so often see as blue collar or manual labor. We have a surplus of workers being trained in colleges to do things no one needs them to do! The answer is, as Rowe suggests, not sending everyone to college to build up debt, but teaching them useful skills to contribute to our society.

postermikeroweHe’s right to worry that some, especially on the left, will assume he is against education when he argues this way. But it’s a false logic. Being for training is not the same as being against education.

We have trained a generation to believe that the only path to success lies on the road through University, when in fact, we still need skilled workers in jobs across the work spectrum. Our economy tells us that there is a job shortage because millions of workers sit unemployed. But the facts tell us something different. There are over 3 million skilled labor positions that need to be filled, but there is no one to do the jobs. That should tell us something – and if it doesn’t, it means we’re just not listening.

Wake up, America. It’s time to teach our kids skills that can be useful for them in the real world. College isn’t for everybody, but work should be.


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