Mike Rowe has spent his career defining what a dirty job is. Now, he wants Americans to decide what makes a good job. The television host believes that’s fueling the growing skills gap and labor shortage in the country.
“I tend to believe the skills gap exists because we do not collectively agree in this country on the definition of a “good job,'” he said. “That definition is changing and morphing every day.
“I remember a couple of years ago, a Senator or Congressman from New York proposed something called the ‘Good Jobs Bill.’ On Dirty Jobs, we just laughed at that because the people I worked with would say, ‘There’s no such thing as a good job or a bad job, it’s all work.’ There’s nobility in all of it, and if you don’t particularly like the flavor of work you currently find yourself involved in, then there may be a thousand different ways to improve your position. None of them are easy, and most of them aren’t particularly pleasant, but that was the assumption for generations. That is no longer in play. I don’t think anybody on either side of the aisle can argue with that. Our expectations have really changed.”
And Mike Rowe is putting his money on the line to prove this point. He’s giving scholarships to students willing to take on trade jobs and traditionally undervalued positions through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. He recently interviewed a woman who received one of these “work ethic scholarships” to become a welder. Chloe Hudson said she loves her job and makes more than $100,000 a year.
Mike Rowe Says Pushes Back Against Criticism of His Work
Mike Rowe recently got into a row with New Republic writer Jake Maynard. Maynard took Rowe to task in an article that said the Dirty Jobs host was furthering the “Republican con that ‘unskilled labor’ deserves low pay.”
Maynard wrote that Rowe’s idea of work is outdated and his shows furthered the wants of the industry leaders and owners rather than glorifying workers.
Rowe pushed back on many of the claims in a lengthy Facebook post. Rowe argued that he has no political agenda on his shows, Dirty Jobs, How America Works, and Somebody’s Gotta Do It. He said his only goal was to entertain and put a spotlight on the people who don’t get enough credit.
“(Dirty Jobs) was a love letter to skilled labor and hard work, as well as a love letter to risk-taking and entrepreneurship,” Rowe added. “Fact is, many of the workers we profiled on that show were business owners themselves. And many of them were very successful.”