What do cow birthing, mattress recycling, maggot farming, salt mining, skull cleaning, and airport runway maintenance have in common?
One fearless man with, well, more than just a little dirt under his fingernails.
His name is Mike Rowe.
You probably know Rowe from his television show, Dirty Jobs, in which he spent several years traveling to all 50 states, working as an apprentice on over 300 jobs that most people go out of their way to avoid.
Septic Tank Cleaner?
Shock value notwithstanding, Mike’s ultimate goal was to spotlight and celebrate hard-working Americans who make civilized life possible for the rest of us.
I love this guy.
And he just keeps getting better.
What you probably don’t know about Mike Rowe is that on Labor Day of 2008, he launched a website called MikeRoweWorks.com, which focuses on the decline of blue-collar trades that are essential to keeping this country on its feet—think construction, railroad engineering, road work, skilled manufacturing, truck driving … you get the idea.
“As the host of a TV show about hard work, people often assume I speak for tradesmen and skilled workers. In reality, I don’t. I can only speak for myself and anyone else who shares my addiction to paved roads, reliable bridges, heating, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing,” Rowe declared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in 2011.
Mike’s call to arms is aimed at redefining what he describes as “our nation’s dysfunctional relationship with work.”
And, no, he insists he is not running for office.
He’s just a good-deed kind of guy.
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation has provided over a million dollars in tool stipends and scholarships to people looking to learn a skill or master a trade.
What’s more, Mike has partnered up with Discovery Communications on a new multimedia initiative, Discover Your Skills, to provide unemployed and underemployed Americans with access to resources for obtaining marketable job skills and employment opportunities.
Thanks to Mike, it has never been easier to don a blue collar and bolster the foundation of America.
Tune In, Tradeswomen!
Lest you shrug off the topic of trades because it feels like “man’s work,” let’s regroup here.
Gender boundaries ain’t what they used to be.
Mike’s website highlights Pride and a Paycheck, a newsletter tailored to women who work—or would like to work—in the trades. It includes resources, announcements, safety tips, photos, stories, art, and poetry by tradeswomen as well as advice from advocates who recruit new workers into these surprisingly lucrative professions.
For a free e-mail subscription to Pride and a Paycheck, send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.