You may know him from Dirty Jobs, but Mike Rowe’s new mission is to help skilled workers in the U.S. get their hands dirty.
The May jobs report showed the unemployment rate at 7.6%, which means that about 12 million Americans are still looking for work. Yet every year about three million jobs go unfilled because of the lack of skilled workers to fill them.
Not long ago, there was a push to teach children vocational skills in elementary and high school, which could help them in the workforce. Rowe thinks that was a good way to start. “We want to close the skills gap and eliminate unemployment. Save Western civilization and all but eradicate student loans,” Rowe said on The Cycle. “The thing that helped push vocational education out of schools was the same thing that helped push college enrollment, and it was a kind of PR campaign that elevated one form of education at the expense of others.” So he plans on changing the game through mikeroweWORKS, a resource center aimed at training workers in trades and new technologies.
Rowe created a poster to inspire students to get involved in blue-collar work. “If you Google ‘work smart, not hard’ right now you will find it’s on backpacks, it’s the title of best-selling books….So what if it’s not just about attitude, what if it’s advice that we took?” Rowe said. Here’s his version of the saying: