Spend Sunday Morning with Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe Talking College Debt, Work Ethic, and Blue Collar Jobs

If it's Sunday morning, it's Reason's deliberate counter-programming to the boring, Team Red/Team Blue yak shows. Here's a 40-minute-long conversation with Mike Rowe, popular host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs show. Originally released on Friday, here's the writeup:

"If we are lending money that ostensibly we don't have to kids who have no hope of making it back in order to train them for jobs that clearly don't exist, I might suggest that we've gone around the bend a little bit," says TV personality Mike Rowe, best known as the longtime host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs.

"There is a real disconnect in the way that we educate vis-a-vis the opportunities that are available. You have - right now - about 3 million jobs that can't be filled," he says, talking about openings in traditional trades ranging from construction to welding to plumbing. "Jobs that typically parents' don't sit down with their kids and say, 'Look, if all goes well, this is what you are going to do.'"

Rowe, who once sang for the Baltimore Opera and worked as an on-air pitchman for QVC, worries that traditional K-12 education demonizes blue-collar fields that pay well and are begging for workers while insisting that everyone get a college degree. He stesses that he's "got nothing against college" but believes it's a huge mistake to push everyone in the same direction regardless of interest or ability. Between Mike Rowe Foundation andProfoundly Disconnected, a venture between Rowe and the heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Rowe is hoping both to help people find new careers and publicize what he calls "the diploma dilemma."

Rowe recently sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to discuss his bad experience with a high school guidance counselor (3:20), why he provides scholarships based on work ethic (6:57), the problem with taxpayer-supported college loans (8:40), why America demonizes dirty jobs (11:32), the happiest day of his life (13:14), why following your passion is terrible advice (17:05), why it's so hard to hire good people (21:04), the hidden cost of regulatory compliance (23:16), the problem with Obama's promise to create shovel ready jobs (33:05), efficiency versus effectiveness (34:17), and life after Dirty Jobs (38:24).

Aprrox. 41 minutes. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Joshua Swain. Edited by Bragg. 

More, including links, downloadable versions, and more, here.

Editor's Note: At one point, Rowe says that college costs have risen over 500 percent the rate of inflation. According to the Department of Labor, college tuition costs have increased over 500 percent in nominal dollars since 1985, not 500 percent the rate of inflation. Read more about the increase here.

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  • RishJoMo||

    Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with the punches.


  • Ted S.||

    Ten inches of snow, and I didn't have to go up on the roof to clear the satellite internet dish!

  • Mike M.||

    So you're saying that global warming is working out pretty well for you then.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    ABC, New York Times, knew Robert Levinson was in the CIA, lied and said he was on a business trip to Iran


  • The Late P Brooks||

    Yak of the day.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    That's a fine looking yak.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I guess I'm going to have to watch this whole interview, judging by the snippets they been tossing our way all weekend.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's pretty good.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    8 reasons why Santa Claus is actually Asian


  • The Late P Brooks||

    Fucking scumbag Richardson hates Snowden. What a surprise.

    Nobody should question government secrecy. We have Top Men supervising these random warrantless data mining projects.

  • Dude, Where's My Liberty?||

    So, about all that compliance:
    “Perciasepe and OIRA’s director at the time, Cass Sunstein, would have “weekly and sometimes semi-weekly discussions” to discuss rules that affected the economy"

    At no point did a meeting start “You know, as frequently as we meet on this, I wonder if we might be affecting the economy too much?"


  • wareagle||

    depends on whether those effects were considered bugs or features.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Boomers who hid out in grad school to avoid Vietnam are the cause of yet another problem.

  • DJF||

    What is really strange is that many jobs require a college degree just to get in the door but then the employer has to train the person to actually do the job since the college did not.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Not strange at all. Thanks to society shoving as many people thru college the college degree is now the high school diploma - the signal that you'll jump thru at least the minimal number of hoops and be a good little cog. HR people can eliminate thousands of resumes w/o thinking w/ that requirement. Saying 'college' is necessary to get a job is reversing cause and effect for many jobs.

    I wonder how many progs who believe economics is a zero sum game will resist the thought that every working woman means a job unavailable for a man?

  • Invisible Finger||

    To be a prog means to display your emotive bona fides by disagreeing with your parents, even if they themselves are progs.

    I wonder how many progs who believe economics is a zero sum game will resist the thought that every working woman means a job unavailable for a man?

    Post WWII progs believed exactly that. Thus the propaganda to turn women into housewives. Thus the "ERA" movement one generation later, which has now morphed into the idiotic modern feminism movement which, among other foolishness, seems to hold up homosexual men as an ideal that all men should strive for.

    This goes somewhat hand-in-hand with compulsory education laws. 8th grade was the norm before WWII, then 12th grade, and now (essentially) 16th grade. High School became mandatory because every 16-year old working meant a job unavailable for an older man, the fetish beyond 12th grade was mostly due to the empowerment the education racket got by being a holding pen for another 4 years.

    I remember seeing my Dad's 7th and 8th grade electronics and auto repair text books, stuff that I was not allowed to take in high school until 11th grade. And he CHOSE his public high school based on its curriculum, and had to take mass transit to get there. And this was the norm in the 40's; modern Americans can only fathom such a scenario as child abuse and anti-intellectual.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Math geeks: a prime discovery.

  • Creme Fraiche||

    The push to make all kids go to college is at least being debated in education circles. Based on my experience I'd say at least some teachers recognize that states with high school graduation requirements that read like the requirements on a 4 year college application are a problem. That not everyone should, could, needs to, or wants to go to college. I think it's more apparent for millennials like myself. We went to college like everyone said we should, and now we have some debt and no job or a job in way related to what we hoped.

  • LIFE.time.opertunity||


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