Maybe There Are Jobs Out There – Just No One Qualified to Fill Them!


Mike Rowe, who stars in Dirty Jobs, testified before Congress about the lack of training for “real jobs”, and the vocational arts.

“...Rowe noted in his testimony that manufacturers in the United States can’t fill 200,000 jobs, and that “there are 450,000 openings in the trades, transportation and utilities.”…”

“…Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions. There are 450,000 openings in trades, transportation and utilities. The skills gap is real, and it’s getting wider. In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are over 55. They’re retiring fast, and no one is there to replace them.

Alabama’s not alone. A few months ago in Atlanta I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture. Tom told me about a governor who was unable to move forward on the construction of a power plant. The reason was telling. It wasn’t a lack of funds. It wasn’t a lack of support. It was a lack of qualified welders….”

More power to him!

To think that a person needs a college education to be successful is just plain foolish.  There are a heck of a lot of vocational careers that pay a heck of a lot more than the average person can make with their MBA.

Just who is the busiest person in town during the summer?

Same thing in the winter?

You don’t call an MBA when your pipes are frozen, you get in line for a reputable plumber, and wait for ages for them to arrive, then be prepared to pay until it hurts.   My sister and I want to build a simple patio for our parents for their 60th Anniversary.  We’re getting quotes up in the thousands – for a slab of cement, a wall out of cement blocks, and a roof out of branches.   Need something altered?  You’re going to pay a good $25-$50 an hour.

There’s no competition.

No one is telling a young person that they can literally wrote their own ticket in life if they learn how to work a sewing machine.  It is not glamorous, doesn’t require a degree, and no one wants to admit that is what they do for a living.  It doesn’t matter that they work 4 hours and charge $150 for a skirt. A person who knows how to sew, and works regular hours can pull in anywhere from $75,000 – $100,000 a year!  That is just working a 40 hour week.

Rowe is an advocate for young people learning how to do the trades.  So is The Pink Flamingo.  Rowe told a Congressional Committee:

“…”In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We’ve elevated the importance of ‘higher education’ to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled ‘alternative.’ Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as ‘vocational consolation prizes,’ best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree,” Rowe said.

“...By lunch, the lawn was littered with fragments of old pipe and mounds of dirt. There was welding and pipe-fitting, blisters and laughter, and maybe some questionable language. By sunset we were completely filthy. But a new pipe was installed, the dirt was back in the hole, and our toilet was back on its best behavior. It was one of my favorite days ever.

Thirty years later in San Francisco when my toilet blew up again. This time, I didn’t participate in the repair process. I just called my landlord, left a check on the kitchen counter, and went to work. When I got home, the mess was cleaned up and the problem was solved. As for the actual plumber who did the work, I never even met him.

It occurred to me that I had become disconnected from a lot of things that used to fascinate me. I no longer thought about where my food came from, or how my electricity worked, or who fixed my pipes, or who made my clothes. There was no reason to. I had become less interested in how things got made, and more interested in how things got bought.

At this point my grandfather was well into his 80s, and after a long visit with him one weekend, I decided to do a TV show in his honor. Today, Dirty Jobs is still on the air, and I am here before this committee, hoping to say something useful. So, here it is….”