A good read from Mike Rowe

A good read from Mike Rowe

This is a discussion on A good read from Mike Rowe within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Saw this in a FB article, so I copied & pasted it here. I've always appreciated how Mike Rowe keeps fighting for trade skill training/jobs, ...

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    A good read from Mike Rowe

    Saw this in a FB article, so I copied & pasted it here. I've always appreciated how Mike Rowe keeps fighting for trade skill training/jobs, and maintains a foundation to reward young people for their hard work in learning a trade skill. Rowe is also one of the best at articulating his POV with clear thinking, and clear writing:


    Off the Wall

    Daniel Sulfridge writes…Mike, as a man who fights for the skilled trades and the people behind them, I'm curious what you think of Bloomberg's comments against farmers and other skill tradesmen and tradeswomen.

    Hi Daniel

    I was struck by the smugness of Bloomberg’s remarks, and their underlying ignorance. But I wasn’t surprised, because all he really did, was articulate what many others already believe.

    Before I go further, allow me to say that I go out of my way to avoid politics on this page. Well, not completely out of my way, but far enough to be routinely criticized for not publicly taking a side. Obviously, I have an opinion on most things, but as the CEO of a non-profit, bi-partisan foundation, it’s not my place to endorse candidates, or talk publicly about who I vote for. On the other hand, Mr. Bloomberg’s remarks are difficult to ignore, because they speak directly to the primary objective of my foundation — specifically, the business of challenging the many myths and misperceptions that dissuade millions of kids from considering a career in the trades.

    These misperceptions exist for all kinds of reasons, but they continue to grow, thanks to the metaphorical fertilizer that Bloomberg and others are constantly spreading. When he implies for instance, that farmers and tradespeople do jobs that don’t require a great deal of “grey matter,” he simply reinforces a long list of stigmas, stereotypes, and colossally ignorant assumptions currently in play. Consider his actual words.

    “You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.”

    “You put the piece of metal in the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow, and you can have a job.”

    Today, many of his defenders are saying his comments were taken out of context, and I sympathize with that. It happens to me all of the time, and it’s frustrating. But what possible context can explain the ignorance of his basic claim?

    Bloomberg seems to suggest that anybody can be a farmer, or a tradesperson, because doing so requires very little brain power. He’s wrong. For proof, I could direct you eight seasons of Dirty Jobs, or, to the thousand individuals my foundation has helped train for good paying jobs that don't require a four-year degree. Unfortunately, like so many others, Bloomberg looks at the opportunities as “process jobs,” and therefore less intellectually demanding. This belief is widespread, and part of the reason we have 7.3 million open positions today, (most of which require training, not a degree,) and $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loans.

    To state the obvious, farming is not merely a “process,” it’s a way of life that requires expertise in many areas, and the fact that just 2% of our population feed 300 million people three times a day, is nothing short of a marvel. The modern farmer is a businessman, an entrepreneur, a soil specialist, a crop specialist, an environmental engineer, a logistical whiz, a shrewd negotiator, a real estate expert, a prognosticator, a climatologist, and a technology expert. If he’s not all of those things, he’s out of business. Likewise, our crumbling infrastructure requires a trained workforce a hell of lot more sophisticated than the lathe operator Bloomberg describes. And that’s a problem, because the current shortages in the construction trades are real, as is the frustration expressed by so many, when their power goes off, or their pipes break, or the cost of milk or gasoline gets too high.

    This isn’t a political problem, it’s a human one. We have a tendency I think, too resent the things we rely upon. Take a plumber for instance. If your only toilet breaks, you need it fixed — fast. Why? Because you rely on it. But also, because you can’t do it yourself. So, you need a plumber. But the plumber can’t come out for 48 hours, and all the other plumbers are busy. Then, when he finally arrives two days later, you can’t believe he charges $150 an hour! It’s an outrage! And so, you resent him, precisely because you rely upon him. And then, consciously or not, you make him small. You diminish his contribution, by turning him into a man who must follows the arrows, in order to get the job done.

    Obviously, it’s not the plumber’s fault that he can’t get to your house the same day your toilet blows up. And it’s not the farmers fault that milk is expensive. And it’s not the lineman’s fault that the power went out. And it’s not the energy’s industry’s fault that we still rely upon oil and natural gas for just about every single thing we do. And yet, our tendency to demonize, marginalize, and talk about these industries as subordinate “alternatives” to other more laudable pursuits, is rampant. Worse, it’s fashionable. And it’s gotta stop. The question is how, and the answer, in part anyway, might have been floated in the most recent State of the Union, when President Trump said this:

    “Tonight, I ask Congress to support our students and back my plan to offer vocational and technical education in every single high school in America.”

    Again — aside from the fact that both of these billionaires want to be president, this isn’t a political post. But if I’m going to be honest about why I think Bloomberg is wrong, I should tell you why I think Trump is right. When we removed shop class from public schools, we sent an unmistakable message to millions of parents and kids. A chilling message. We told them, in the only way that really matters, that entire categories of jobs weren’t even worth considering. But we didn’t just tell them — we showed them. We literally removed all examples of skilled labor from view.

    Is there a more persuasive way to tell a kid what’s irrelevant, than by removing it from view?

    Our current skills gap isn’t a mystery, and neither is the student loan crisis. Both are reflections of what we value, and what we believe. And right now, a lot of people believe that good jobs are for college graduates, and the rest are for dummies. This belief should be challenged wherever it appears, by anyone who shares my addiction to reliable electricity, smooth roads, heating, air-conditioning, indoor plumbing, and three meals a day.

    Obviously, my foundation doesn’t have the resources of a Trump or a Bloomberg, (though I'd accept donations from either.) But this year, I'm proud to offer another round of work ethic scholarships to qualified applicants willing to learn a useful skill. My goal is to award a million dollars by the end of March. Apply below.

    And no, “qualified applicants” do not include those whose talents are limited to “throwing a seed in the hole,” or “turning a wrench in the right direction.” Sorry...

    Mike
    "Learn to work the saxophone, and I play just what I feel,
    drink scotch whiskey all night long, and die behind the wheel ...
    "

    Steely Dan / Deacon Blues

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    I agree. For many years I have preached about educational reform, revising basic education through high school level to graduate students at 15-16, and incorporate the community college system into the public schools to offer 2-year college prep (for those wanting to pursue a university degree) along with skilled trades programs (certificate or associate degree programs such as carpentry, plumbing, electrician, auto mechanics, nursing, fire science, law enforcement, corrections, computer maintenance/repair, and a dozen other skilled trades/professions). By age 18 the majority of young people would be ready to enter the work force at a good pace, or enroll in a college or university with a bachelors degree attainable within 2 years.

    Inducements might include changes in state driver license laws so driver licensing is allowed for those continuing education at 16-17, otherwise no license until age 18 (or 21), work permits for 16 year olds who have completed high school, otherwise no legal employment until age 18, perhaps DOD involvement with ROTC-type programs for 16-18 year olds in community college programs (with summer camps to complete basic training and some military skills training for those with aptitude, allowing 18 year old graduates to enter the military with those skills that are in demand (and promotable).

    Education programs that prepare young people to become productive citizens, not public babysitters for adolescents staffed by educrats conducting social experiments. Sports programs can be conducted separately, participation optional, and expenses covered by students/parents/community groups.

    I also like the idea of high school level required courses in home economics (math, finance/banking, hygienic necessities, culinary, etc). Beats the heck out of passing out commodities (flour, salt, sugar, cheese, pasta, other basics) to young people who barely know how to pop the top on a soda can or heat up a ready-made burrito in a microwave oven.

    I could go on, but I think the point has been made.

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    I just read Mike's entire post to my wife, and we agree Mike is 100% dead on. The man is a genius at pointing out the obvious to the intellectually blind. I know he would refuse the offer, but I would like to see him on a Trump-Rowe presidential ticket.

    It would be a Democratic massacre.

    Oh, and thanks, Tstone, for the most enlightenment post of the day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I just read Mike's entire post to my wife, and we agree Mike is 100% dead on. The man is a genius at pointing out the obvious to the intellectually blind. I know he would refuse the offer, but I would like to see him on a Trump-Rowe presidential ticket.

    It would be a Democratic massacre.

    That would be great. You're right that he'd never do it, but it would be great.
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    I spent 22 years of my life in school. I earned a number of degrees - most of which had absolutely nothing to do with the skills I would need in life.

    I learned that Driver's Ed didn't prepare me for driving 140 miles to get home for Christmas on an ice-covered highway.

    I learned that getting a marriage license in no way meant I knew the first thing about real marriage.

    I learned that there was no school that could prepare me for what I had to do during my time working in the defense industry. I learned that despite the 2 days a week, every week, over a period of 9 years of in-house classes by some of the brightest minds in the world, my skills were outdated by the time I finished each class.

    I learned that there was nothing I learned in 5 years of Seminary that helped me in all my years of ministry. Those were skills that had to be learned by living, not learning.

    College is fine as long as one understands that the purpose of that is not to prepare you to just step into a job. It's purpose is to give you a foundation and the basic skills needed to learn what you really need to know afterward to do what you want to do - assuming you know what that is. There are millions and millions of jobs for which no amount of classroom time will prepare you to be a success. Success in any field comes from having the common sense to learn exactly what is needed and ignore all the rest.

    Off the soapbox!

    Edit to add: I thought I knew what wearing a badge and working alongside police officers was like, and that I was prepared. Boy...what a bonehead thought that was!
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    Boy if Trump or any Republican would have said that about farmers...MSNBC and CNN would be running it 24/7.
    If Trump has to run against him he will use that against him unlike all the stuff Mitt failed to bring up when he debated Obama.

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    Gotta love Mike. A man with an unlimited amount of common sense that should run for office.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldChap View Post
    I spent 22 years of my life in school. I earned a number of degrees - most of which had absolutely nothing to do with the skills I would need in life.

    I learned that Driver's Ed didn't prepare me for driving 140 miles to get home for Christmas on an ice-covered highway.

    I learned that getting a marriage license in no way meant I knew the first thing about real marriage.

    I learned that there was no school that could prepare me for what I had to do during my time working in the defense industry. I learned that despite the 2 days a week, every week, over a period of 9 years of in-house classes by some of the brightest minds in the world, my skills were outdated by the time I finished each class.

    I learned that there was nothing I learned in 5 years of Seminary that helped me in all my years of ministry. Those were skills that had to be learned by living, not learning.

    College is fine as long as one understands that the purpose of that is not to prepare you to just step into a job. It's purpose is to give you a foundation and the basic skills needed to learn what you really need to know afterward to do what you want to do - assuming you know what that is. There are millions and millions of jobs for which no amount of classroom time will prepare you to be a success. Success in any field comes from having the common sense to learn exactly what is needed and ignore all the rest.

    Off the soapbox!

    Edit to add: I thought I knew what wearing a badge and working alongside police officers was like, and that I was prepared. Boy...what a bonehead thought that was!
    I thought that the point of college is to insure that one is indoctrinated with the proper social values.

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    Quote Originally Posted by demanic View Post
    I thought that the point of college is to insure that one is indoctrinated with the proper social values.

    Sent from my Alcatel_5044C using Tapatalk
    Some so-called institutions of higher learning lean that way.

    Not all.

    My school teaches people to go out and make stuff.
    https://www.sdsmt.edu/News/Mines-Hol.../#.Xk4V3kp7mUk
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdprof View Post
    Some so-called institutions of higher learning lean that way.

    Not all.

    My school teaches people to go out and make stuff.
    https://www.sdsmt.edu/News/Mines-Hol.../#.Xk4V3kp7mUk
    I would, at this point substitute "most" for "some". "All" if we're talking about the big names.

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    The current atmosphere of "If you don't go to college you are a dummy", and "If you work a job where you get your hands dirty then you are a dummy", works to the advantage for those who do choose a career in the trades in that it insures them high wages.

    Supply and demand.
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    A good read from Mike Rowe

    The Way I Heard it by Mike Rowe

    Can't really say "it's a good read" because I've been listening to it as an audiobook.

    Two thumbs up!
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    I sure would like Bloomberg to come to Colorado and learn what it takes to be a barely competent but Colorado-licensed journeyman inside wireman after a four-year apprenticeship of school at night and OJT during the day. On the first day of being a journeyman where all the responsibility is now on you to perform your work in a journeyman-like manner, you learn you don't know as much as you thought you did on your last day as an apprentice.

    Anyone who denigrates honest manual labor has no value as a person. Such is someone like Bloomberg.
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    Today's farmers use more "technically advanced equipment" than wall street does. Almost like today's military. A lot of skilled trades to boot. I was a machinist/fabricator for 25 years & an auto technician for another 25. I was lucky to be in these fields at the time of transition. I learned the old ways of both, while moving into the computer age. Gave me an understanding of theory of the job, SO I just didn't morph into a button pusher. My mother's family were farmer's since they imigrated here in the 1700's. I spent ever summer on my mother's "family farm" growing up, & saw first hand how my cousin's deal with things now. Satellite & GPS data steam their knowledge base now. If you're not ahead of the curve today, it'll be "belly up!" The same for just about ANY TRADE! I attended college, but, only to allow me to move into job's, so I could "really learn"! Any body that thinks other trades, such as plumbing, masonry, & carpentry are "simplton job's", need only watch "ONE episode" of "This Old House" to be set straight! I watched "Dirty Jobs" from it's inception, & love Mike Rowe. Glad he continued on with his foundation.
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    Anyone who denigrates honest manual labor has no value as a person. Such is someone like Bloomberg.
    The thing is, it's just a stupid thing to say. Some of the most "sophisticated" professions rely a lot on what is essentially manual labor. Just ask your local vascular or neuro-surgeon, how important it is to tie knots correctly. These are people who make sometimes millions of dollars a year for their expertise (and there's obviously a lot more to it than knot tying), who have practiced for thousands of hours doing a single task. I have scrubbed into solid organ transplants and one of the things that impressed me most (maybe because I can actually tell the difference) was how when sewing a blood vessel a competent surgeon can make every suture absolutely perfect AND absolutely the same as the previous, with zero extra movements, and in very rapid succession. It's the same thing that adds to a professional piano player's expertise - experience, manual dexterity, and extreme consistency born out of years or decades of practice. Is that different than a competent taylor? Sure it is - there are many more layers of complexity based on whom to operate on, how, and why, and numerous additional techniques, and the clinical decision-making pre- and post-operatively. But none of that will matter if you can't tie a knot.

    I have realized before that Bloomberg is a pompous *****, but have not considered that he might be so removed from reality as to utter such a stupid statement. It's sad, to be honest. Sad, ignorant... and hateful. Mind you - in the same speech he had suggested that "we" should provide "job satisfaction" for "the working class" or they will "build guillotines for us in the future". I guess the latter makes a great point as to the real motivation in his push for gun control.

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