‘Dirty Jobs’: One State Modeled Approach to Promoting Trade Work off of Mike Rowe’s Work

by Amy Myers
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When Mike Rowe began Dirty Jobs, he wanted to not only show the world the kinds of odd careers available but also demonstrate the kind of pride and satisfaction that came with them. Sure, the men and women at the sites were all covered in dirt and filth, but almost every one of them loved their jobs and was proud to do them. This is exactly why Alabama decided to model its trade work initiative off of Rowe’s ideas.

Through his work both on and off Dirty Jobs, Rowe has become the ultimate advocate for trade work. He’s even created the Mike Rowe Foundation which promotes the teaching of trade skills in school curriculums. By teaching about electricity, construction and other trade jobs, Rowe hopes to challenge stigmas that discourage young adults from taking careers in the trade industry. Alabama has been taking notes and applying this model to their own schools.

“We’ve been gradually training our kids to equate dirt with vocational dissatisfaction,” the Dirty Jobs host shared with Good Magazine. “The real enemies of job satisfaction are drudgery and boredom, and those can be found just as readily in cubicles as they can in ditches. The state of Alabama seems to understand that. They have used mikeroweworks.com as a model and a resource to launch their own initiative for skilled labor.”

And so far, the state’s program, Go Build, has been really successful, according to Rowe.

“Go Build is a statewide initiative in Alabama with the same goals as our website, and I agreed to speak on their behalf the moment they called me,” Rowe explained. “We’ve shot half a dozen commercials so far. I’ve also introduced them to my friends at Caterpillar, who are supporting their efforts with advertising dollars. It’s been a success all around.”

‘Dirty Jobs’ Host Says Trade Jobs ‘Aren’t Alternatives to Viable Careers’

Don’t take Rowe’s work as a slight against indoor-based occupations. There’s nothing wrong with a stable, nine-to-five job in an office. Despite his interest in more hands-on jobs, Rowe doesn’t condemn cubicle positions so long as it keeps employees happy. Through Dirty Jobs, Rowe has found that more times than not, when employees aren’t engaged in their work, they feel dissatisfied with their careers.

That’s why he feels that a four-year degree isn’t the right track for everyone. The Dirty Jobs host wants to create an environment for those that prefer to work with their hands. With his foundation, he aims to change the conversation around trade jobs and give new members of the workforce a wider range of jobs to choose from.

“We’ve proven that opportunities in the trades aren’t alternatives to viable careers – they are viable careers,” the foundation’s website reads.

Outsider.com