Mike Rowe has never been one to keep his opinions to himself even when others disagree. For instance, the former “Dirty Jobs” host has always been an outspoken proponent of people working vocational jobs rather than earning a four-year degree and racking up thousands of dollars in debt. So when someone tried to call him out on his opinion, Rowe did not hold back.
A person only referred to as “Chad” posted on Rowe’s Facebook page and wrote the following: “I always see these articles saying there is a shortage of construction trade workers, but everywhere I go I see hundreds of them unemployed. There is definitely no shortage of these workers, there’s just a shortage of people willing to work for sub-par poverty wages. That’s why these Mike Rowe types want to flood the labor market. Don’t believe any of that s*** if you read it.”
Rowe was not oblivious to the fact that pay is a contributing factor. “Obviously, I’m aware that some people refuse to work because they believe the pay is too low,” Rowe retorted. “People like that exist in every industry, and the construction trades are no different.” He adds that “6.3 million jobs are currently vacant. The fact is starting salaries in the skilled trades rival or exceed those of many more popular careers.”
Rowe then proceeds to unload a knowledge bomb on Chad. “I often post about opportunities in the skilled trades, but unlike your claims, mine are easy to verify. According to the BLS, 6.3 million jobs are currently available – the vast majority of which do NOT require a four-year degree. Many of those jobs exist in construction. I’m not making this up, Chad. It’s right there in black and white. So too, is the amount of college debt currently on the books – 1.5 trillion dollars. A rather tidy sum, considering half of those who borrow money for tuition don’t even graduate.”
He then posed two questions to Chad. “Obviously, my desire to share stories of success doesn’t make me right, any more than your desire to share stories of failure makes you wrong. But it does give me permission to ask – respectfully and in all seriousness – what is it you hope to accomplish by telling people that opportunity is dead? In other words, what is YOUR agenda?”
Rowe has always simply suggested that people struggling to determine what they want to do with their lives could look into a vocational career. He insists that this keeps some from creating insurmountable debt and starts many workers at a wage that is far above what one would receive in other fields.
It may not be for everyone, but Chad argues that there are no jobs, which is simply incorrect. The jobs are there, but people have long been told they deserve more — more money, more paid vacation — but at the end of the day, you need a job. It may not be your ideal job, but it will pay the bills.