employment | September 12, 2012

Skilled Labor & Shovel-Ready Jobs: Mike Rowe's Letter to Mitt Romney

“We need people who see opportunity where opportunity exists. We need enthusiasm for careers that have been overlooked and underappreciated by society at large [and] we need to have a really big national conversation about what we value in the workforce.”

While those may seem like the proposals of a candidate running for office (and perhaps they should be) they were the words of Mike Rowe, the host of the popular Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs. In an open letter to the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, Rowe addressed his concern about the skills gap, unemployment, and a general lack of appreciation for hard work. Both in his role as a jack-of-all-trades apprentice on Dirty Jobs, and in his keynotes (and even his speeches to Congress), Rowe has exhibited support for the blue-collar, hard-working American. Rowe admits to having no political agenda (in fact, he released a similar letter to Obama when he secured the presidency). His goal with the letter, rather, is simply to illuminate the need to put value back into “shovel-ready jobs,” something he does with his company, mikeroweWORKS.

“Even as unemployment remains sky high,” Rowe's letter continues, “a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills.” By addressing this counter-intuitive relationship that exists between soaring unemployment and a shortage of skilled labor, Rowe argues that many of America's employment concerns can begin to improve. And, as he says in the letter, he and his company mikeroweWORKS will be there to support anyone who also believes in this cause.

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hr | September 11, 2012