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Mike Rowe: The 'Dirty' Jobs Alternative to a College Degree

As seen on Huckabee

Is an expensive college degree always the path to success? This weekend’s “Huckabee Special: Where’s My Job?” tackled the debate over pricey degrees versus skilled labor jobs. Host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” Mike Rowe, joined Governor Mike Huckabee to discuss the college narrative that has resulted in a record amount of student loan debt.


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His foundation called Mike Rowe Works aims to train young people for well-paying jobs in skilled labor. Rowe said, “Not all knowledge comes from college.”

When it comes to topics like the skills gap to unemployment, Rowe said, “These things are symptoms, in my opinion, of a bigger problem and that’s our relationship with work.”

The single worst piece of advice Rowe said he ever received was in high school, written on a poster that reads, “Work smart not hard.”


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His foundation has redesigned the poster to read, “Work smart and hard.” He explained, “The argument is really simple. If you took the advice of ‘work smart not hard,” you really do believe you can separate hard work from success.”

That attitude is what’s missing, Rowe said. “I don’t care if you work for McDonald’s. […] If you show up early, if you stay late, if you volunteer for the hard stuff, you’re going run that organization.”

Huckabee said, “I think we’ve almost diminished the importance of people who do work with their hands. […] When I’m sitting on an airplane and it has a mechanical problem, I’m much more excited to see an A & P certified mechanic than I am to see a history major.”

Rowe added, “It’s not about this is bad or this is good. This is a skills gap. […] It’s another inconvenient piece of the narrative that nobody ever talks about. There are three million jobs available right now. Companies like Caterpillar are struggling to find, for instance, heavy equipment mechanics.”

The bottom line, Rowe said is that, “We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.”

Watch the clip above to hear Rowe's advice for the president. Plus, check out the debate below from the 'Huckabee Special: Where's My Job?' on unions. 


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