Mike Rowe Addresses US Senate Committee

Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the need for more skilled blue-collar workers.
In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We've elevated the importance of "higher education" to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled "alternative." Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as "vocational consolation prizes," best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of "shovel ready" jobs for a society that doesn't encourage people to pick up a shovel.

In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a "good job" into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber – if you can find one – is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we'll all be in need of both.

His purpose was to encourage support for industrial education through programs Rowe participates in, such as  Go Build Alabama, I Make America, Discover Your Skills, and mikeroweWORKS. Read his entire testimony at the Discovery Channel site. Link -via reddit

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I just started a job requiring a haz-mat license for delivering liquid oxygen for $10.84 an hour. I needed a job so I had to take it. even though I have military experience working with LOX for over 6 years.
and the company's wondering why they have such a hard time finding and keeping their CDL drivers. where if they paid $15-18 they'd have no problem.
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I managed out an associate degree [history], but since I didn't go to college right out of HS, my career history is pretty much one dead end job after another. I've been trying to get into the electricians union training program, but the wait to even see if you get in is over a year. Hopefully I'll hear something come fall.

At least my parents encourage me in this. My dad's a mechanic by trade, worked for the airlines for many years, so they know the value of blue collar and are both strongly union. They don't see blue collar work as beneath anyone. Then again my grandfather [dad's dad] built his own house too.
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When I was working as an engineer at IBM, one of my co-workers said that he was disappointed that most of the time we were just high-paid plumbers. I asked when was the last time he hired a plumber for less per hour than what he made.

It is still true. An independent plumber makes more than an engineer.
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mellie928; many junior colleges also offer votec training. I'm starting welding courses at one to become a certified welder through the AWS.

I agree with some of Mike's points; we've certainly made a fetish of higher education. The only reason I tried college was because it was socially unacceptable for me not to go. And god knows a degree doesn't equal a good job either; I don't have a degree and make more than my wife (who's got a science degree).
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