Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe testifies before Congress

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Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe testified in Congress about how disconnected Americans in general have become from the people who produce their food, fix their pipes, make their clothes, etc.

"Chairman Rockefeller, Ranking Member Hutchison and members of this committee, my name is Mike Rowe, and I want to thank you all very much for the opportunity to share a few thoughts about our country’s relationship with manufacturing, hard work, and skilled labor. 

"I’m here today because of my Grandfather.

"His name was Carl Knobel, and he made his living in Baltimore as a Master Electrician. He was also a plumber, a mechanic, a mason, and a carpenter. Everyone knew him as a jack-of-all-trades. I knew him as a magician.

"For most of his life, my grandfather woke up clean and came home dirty. In between, he accomplished things that were nothing short of miraculous. Some days he might re-shingle a roof. Or rebuild a motor. Or maybe run electricity out to our barn. He helped build the church I went to as a kid, and the farmhouse my brothers and I grew up in. He could fix or build anything, but to my knowledge he never once read the directions. He just knew how stuff worked.

"I remember one Saturday morning when I was twelve. I flushed the toilet in the same way I always had. The toilet however, responded in a way that was completely out of character. There was a rumbling sound, followed by a distant gurgle. Then, everything that had gone down reappeared in a rather violent and spectacular fashion.

"Naturally, my grandfather was called in to investigate, and within the hour I was invited to join he and my Dad in the front yard with picks and shovels.

"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 eighties, 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.

"I believe we need a national PR Campaign for Skilled Labor. A big one. Something that addresses the widening Skills Gap head on, and reconnects the country with the most important part of our workforce.

"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.

"In general, we’re surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage. We shouldn’t be. We’ve pretty much guaranteed it.

"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.  And still, we talk about millions of “shovel ready” jobs for a society that doesn’t encourage people to pick up a shovel.

"In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a “good job” into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber – if you can find one – is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we’ll all be in need of both.

"I came here today because guys like my grandfather are no less important to civilized life than they were 50 years ago. Maybe they’re in short supply because we don’t acknowledge them they way we used to. We leave our check on the kitchen counter, and hope the work gets done. That needs to change.

"My written testimony includes the details of several initiatives designed to close The Skills Gap, all of which I’ve had the privilege to participate in. Go Build Alabama, I Make America, and my own modest efforts through Dirty Jobs and mikeroweWORKS. I’m especially proud to announce “Discover Your Skills,” a broad-based initiative from Discovery Communications that I believe can change perceptions in a meaningful way.

"I encourage you to support these efforts, because closing The Skills Gap doesn’t just benefit future tradesmen and the companies desperate to hire them. It benefits people like me, and anyone else who shares my addiction to paved roads, reliable bridges, heating, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing.

"The Skills Gap is a reflection of what we value.  To close the gap, we need to change the way the country feels about work." - Mike Rowe

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Karen Koenig    
Gahanna, Ohio  |  May, 11, 2011 at 06:24 PM

Very well said, I'm glad you took the time to bring this issue to everyone's attention. Thanks Mike!

Lisa Kruger    
SD  |  May, 11, 2011 at 08:27 PM

Awesome article. Wish more people than just Congress could hear it.

Mary Beech    
Slayton, MN  |  May, 12, 2011 at 09:06 AM

Great testimony! As a high school counselor, I am frustrated with the "competition" of schools to be able to say they have a high percentage of students going on to 4-year colleges. We have 35-40% of our graduates going on to 2-year vocational and technical schools. And I say, "way to go"!

Carrie Koester    
Red Bud, IL  |  May, 12, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Thank you Mike Rowe! I am an agriculture instructor in Southern Illinois and this is exactly why I came a teacher; to teach students where our food and materials come from and why it is important to understand that process! thanks again!

Rebecca Bowes    
maine  |  May, 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Amen. My husband (61) remembers rebuilding a car when he was 12. He can plumb, wire, fix cars, and do carpentry. He laments the fact that most kids today can't or won't do those things. We've made dirty work a dirty word. Thanks Mike for your efforts!

Rebecca Bowes    
maine  |  May, 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Amen. My husband (61) remembers rebuilding a car when he was 12. He can plumb, wire, fix cars, and do carpentry. He laments the fact that most kids today can't or won't do those things. We've made dirty work a dirty word. Thanks Mike for your efforts!

Jerry Johnson    
Springdale,Arkansas  |  May, 12, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Thank you Mike. I am (50) and a machinist for 32 years and most in my profession are my age or older. I am also a cattle rancher and vice president of a cattle breed association. In the cattle business most of the ranchers are older than me. I enjoy working with my hands and getting dirty. I see the great divide of skilled labor and college graduates. Because of the shortage I will say when I reach retirement I can set what ever price I want and the hours I want. High school students if you are reading this I encourage you to check out trades. I have made a good living at what I do and love doing it.

Richard Blessing    
Bristol, Va  |  May, 12, 2011 at 11:55 AM

We in agriculture and also those in skilled trades do need to speak out more and I'm glad Mike has done so. Part of the reason more don't is because those people with the abilities to do are to busy either trying to get a cropin or checking on a heifer calving or the fact they work until late fixing something for some one else and then go home to take care of things at home or like alot of farmers in my area do their farming after work Again thanks Mike. American take heed, if not for farmers and skilled trades, who would feed you or fix your pipes or build that power plant that furnishes your electricity

Laurie Waltz    
Smithsburg, MD  |  May, 15, 2011 at 01:48 PM

Glad I took the time to read this article. Usually if they are long I skip them, too busy. The comment by Richard Blessing prompted me to make a comment. Richard you nailed it right on the head. We are too busy. Would love to be more involved. My husband and I farm and also work off the farm full-time and are starting to get in the farm market scene. There's not enought time in the day (or night) to get it all done. We just give our best and pick up where we left off the next day. Thanks Mike . I've felt for many years that tech trades , ag industry and the like should be given just as much consideration as college. I went to college, about 25 years ago, and the cost now is unreal !!! Kids need other choices. At my sons high school the trade schools and armed services do stop in to visit with the juniors and seniors. I have a Marine in training !!!

Florence, Arizona  |  May, 12, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Bravo Mr. Rowe!!! I hope that you are able to make a difference before we become a society with gadgets and no way to figure out what they do or how to fix them.

Mike Keenan    
Omaha  |  May, 12, 2011 at 01:01 PM

Thanks Mike very well said. I grew up learning from men like Mike's grandpa, they taught me to use my hands and my head. I served my counrty as an aircraft mechanic, been a carpenter and a business owner. I now work as a safety consultant in the insurance industry, mostly involved with agriculture. I am around people on a daily basis that work hard to produce the food we eat, they are smart, caring and well educated. They take pride in what they do and have the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of their labor. Keep up the good fight Mike.

Cody Griffin    
Sioux City, IA  |  May, 12, 2011 at 01:10 PM

Well said Mike!

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  May, 12, 2011 at 01:13 PM

So right but I am certain not of interest for the main stream media. This should get more attention in education circles but right now all it is is in higher education. Anyone in their right mind think someone with a college degree is going to be happy doing "just manual labor"? Right now the goverment is forgetting we need trained laborers just as much as educated workers. Next time the highly trained educators go on strike for higher wages let's lay off all the garbage collectors in that area and see which group gets the most attention.

WI  |  May, 12, 2011 at 01:23 PM

I agree 100%, for to long we have encouraged all academic studies and don't get your hands dirty! The schools in our rural area also encourage 4 year degrees and the heck with the trade jobs. Why does no one complain wn it costs $100 to fix your computer and then grumble abot$100 tofix your toilet or your roof. Somewhere along the line our priorities got screwed up.

Ev Vaughan    
Denver, Colorado  |  May, 12, 2011 at 01:23 PM

My dad had an 8th grade education but was one of these "fix it" kind of men who could fix or make anything he set his mind to. His education was through the use of his hands and his mind. Teaching me HOW to do something was one of the greatest things he left me. We need to begin looking at Career and Technical Education (Vocational Ed) as selective education rather than elective education.

C Beckler    
SD  |  May, 12, 2011 at 01:56 PM

Does anyone really know what it takes to get the 'hamburger/steaks' they eat at the restaurant. This spring the cattlemen have waded through 3 - 4 feet of mud to rescue cows and newborn calves, put them in a barn, make certain the calf is getting enough milk/the cow enough feed, keep them relatively dry from the elements. Do any members of congress know how their 'hamburgers/steaks' got to their favorite restaurants? How long it takes to get that baked potato, sweet corn, beans on their plate. Our country is full of hardworking men and women in agriculture, manufacturing, and ordinary tradesmen that are rarely appreciated. Thank you Mike Rose

Melanie Snyder    
Grand Junction CO  |  May, 12, 2011 at 02:35 PM

WOW, I give Mike a standing ovation. I can only hope that those who are intent on cutting Perkins funding and Career and Technical Eduction have a major plumbing, electrical, roofing, etc. issue so that they can see how important the skilled trades are. I hope they revitalize the skills of America. Signed by a CTE instructor. Oh by the way, I may lose my job as well because of cuts to Career and Technical Eduction.

Jack Yon    
Grand Junction, CO  |  May, 12, 2011 at 03:07 PM

Mike, outstanding testimony! I think you make a great advocate for Career and Technical Education (CTE). You understand what is needed, what is necessary, and many of the callenges. Thank you for the support and please continue to boast on CTE and how it is needed and is successful when funded and supported!

Aaron Williford    
Grand Junction, Colorado  |  May, 12, 2011 at 03:33 PM

Bravo Mike Rowe, I too give you a standing ovation. It is truly amazing how many people cannot help themselves in the United States today. I grew shadowing my father, who, like most older fellows can fix a car, build a house, do any plumbing or electrical repair or new work that is required. I am a Career and Technical Instructor and am amazed at how many students in my local area shy away from attending classes here, in favor of the more academic pleasing classes that will get them into a “better” college and a “better” job. If we as Americans do not do something about our educational system, it will only get worse. For congress to even think that the best place to make spending cuts in their budget is CTE is simply ludicrous; if anything they should be pouring more money into the proper education of our future.

Sam Givhan    
Safford,AL  |  May, 12, 2011 at 03:54 PM

Good Show and keep up the great work you do.

Sam Givhan    
Safford,AL  |  May, 12, 2011 at 03:54 PM

Good Show and keep up the great work you do.

Colo  |  May, 12, 2011 at 06:42 PM

Gotta agree with Lisa 100%. Mike Rowe is fast becoming my hero.

San Angelo, TX  |  May, 12, 2011 at 07:28 PM

Mike, thank you for your commitment on the Skilled Trades issues. My husband and I own a construction company in Texas and we have been running into the problem that all of our subcontractors are nearing the age of retirement. And anytime we need to hire a new framer we can hardly find anyone under the age of 60. The last 2 people we hired came from out of state to do the job. My husband, 33, is one of the youngest builders in our town. Our oldest son has been working on the job site during the summer since he was 12. I feel that is imparitive for our youth to know a trade and to know the meaning of hard work. I think that is one of the greatest pit falls of our youth today! Through out the X-box and go build something!!

Mike Iager    
frederick, Md  |  May, 12, 2011 at 07:29 PM

I remember watching Mike Rowe on Sunday mornings, on our local Baltimore channel, helping to sell real estate for local developers. He would interview developers or real estate agents, and show video of real estate listings. He has come a long way since those days. I appreciate him using his celebrity status to help bring this situation to light. Unfortunately the more you actually use physical labor in the job force, the lower your salary becomes. Most desk jobs today, with 4 day work weeks, and work from home one day a week actually pay a premium today in this country.

Todd Bachmayer    
Temple, Tx  |  May, 13, 2011 at 09:18 AM

It's ironic that many of the people I hear complaining about illegal immigrants are people who don't want to do the work that those immigrants do. I believe that a big part of the problem in this country is that our standard of living has gotten too high. Society tells us that if you don't have a 4000 square foot home, 3 cars, a boat, and swimming pool, you are poor. You can't get that on $10 per hour. I have always believed that the amount of money you make is not as important as doing a job that you are proud of at the end of the day. I hope to impart this idea to my son, that he may grow up to be a man that HE can be proud of.

Steven Williams    
Bloomfield Iowa  |  May, 13, 2011 at 10:37 AM

It has become such a problem to get some people motivated to do those jobs that don't include using the high speed something or other. This should have been addressed before now and hopefully something is done soon. After a company closing instead of just drawing on unemployment benefits I went back to college and hope to have a degree soon in machine technologies. This is my personal goal but think that there are many different areas of the trades that workers can become proficient in that will be paying well if you are willing to put on the gloves and work some hours. One area of interest is the AG Sector which is becoming more of a specialty type of farming instead of diversified. This is of great importance because at the present time we all eat food that is safe to eat, cheap, and readily available. I am going to add that it appears that a lot of people have become interested in growing gardens and buying fresh vegetables from coops and produce auctions and this is good. Please invest in this type of food production.... Keep up the dirty end of things Mike GOD BLESS

Matt Micci    
Colorado  |  May, 13, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I have been teaching carpentry and wood working for over thirty years and I have seen and felt the effects of the attitude change Mike is talking about. Parents don't want there son or daughter to have to "work" for a living. Building contractors and sub-contractors tell me all of the time of the difficult time they have finding and hiring qualified help. Thanks Mike for making a statement.

Ramona Hatch    
Pinckneyville, IL  |  May, 13, 2011 at 02:09 PM

I'd like to echo Mike Rowe's sentiment and take it a step further. As a Family and Consumer Science educator, I say that we need to equip our young people to take care of themselves in the home as well as on the job. Entrusting our well being to food corporations and other manufacturers has put the health of our nation at risk. We need validate practical education once again. Well said, Mike!

wilma sachtjen    
burke s.dak.  |  May, 13, 2011 at 04:22 PM

I couldn't agree more. We need to show interesr and respect to the 'alternative' educations. These are NOT so called 'menial' they are needed components in ALL our lives---we needto recognize this very important fact.

Shawn Nutting    
Trussville, Alabama  |  May, 13, 2011 at 08:50 PM

Well stated. I grew up in the trades and now work as an educator. Most of the emphasis is placed on college while the trades are scoffed at. I can fix anything myself from car engines to computers. I owe that knowledge to my grandfather, the machine tool And die maker and my great uncle the diesel mechanic. I am working hard to pass that knowledge on to my two sons.

Jim Craner    
Richmond, VA  |  May, 14, 2011 at 06:08 AM

I am one of those "do anything guys". I,ve seen it comming for years. Too bad Mike's words will fall on many deaf ears. God willing, there will be one who hears. Thanks Mike.

George Spinks    
Eldorado,Texas  |  May, 14, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Thank you Mike Rowe for the positive attatude that you seam to have. It is to be admired. I am a retired Industrial Arts teacher and it breaks my heart when we have cashears that donot know how to make change, young people that cannot read a fractional rule and people that donot seam to care enough to get out and learn a trade instead of relieing on WELFARE, Thank you again Mike and GOD bless your efforts to help regain our American standards.

Suzy Allen    
Pullman, WA  |  May, 14, 2011 at 12:49 PM

This is an amazingly well thought out and eloquent testimony to an unrealized problem we have in America. I have discussed with my friends many times how I feel about the importance of both agriculture and the lack of support for graduating high schoolers to pursue a trade, rather than a four year degree. I am just glad that there is someone out there that is willing to advocate for this problem. Mike Rowe you are true inspiration.

Andrew Runyan    
Morrisonville,NY  |  May, 15, 2011 at 06:54 PM

Thank you Mike. I am an electrician by trade but I know alot like your grandfather. The younger kids I see every day do not look at the trades as a good thing. I see them saying oh well someone else will do it and they can learn nothing. I see the trades shrinking with each day and it really shows what our country is going to end up like and I'm not liking it at all. I have seen the schools focusing less on programs that are going to help someone in their futures and more on just getting them out and passing the buck. We need to implement those programs that taught me.

Adam Wright    
Germany  |  May, 16, 2011 at 03:39 AM

I am an educator who has worked with students who are your average Joe's and I applaud what Mike Rowe has said. Too often in our society there is only the focus on having everyone attend college. Well, based on the normal intellectual curve that exists, not everyone is going to get a higher level education. If more awareness was made for programs that would train people for these professions, our society would be in much better shape and these opportunities would allow people to establish homes, businesses, and further opportunities for individuals to get ahead.

Pittsburgh  |  May, 16, 2011 at 04:11 AM

Mike Rowe, Congress may have been the deafest ear to your powerful message. That is the base of power propagated by the money that "higher" education and support of its increasing and continued pursuit for reasons not tangible to the American need. I built my own early cars and I am rebuilding my second entire house. Each pursuit required the help of specific or licensed trades whose work, friendship and skill I respect greatly by my continued patronage. I have taken the time to learn and perform everything else and rank this powerful skill set well ahead of my baccalaureate education. I am a healthcare professional but have difficulty, due to the context you describe, in defining what it is that do in my "time off". How do you explain the careful and efficient loading of a 33 cubic yard roll-off container when gutting an existing structure being renovated yet alone the carpentry and problem solving exercise? These are higher function skills regardless of how we've been conditioned to consider them. The loss of such in the American work force is going to create a void and as much of a loss of context and understanding as our diminishing understanding of the military as fewer and fewer citizens know or are related to a service member.

Mickey Mantlo    
Grand Junction, CO  |  May, 16, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Mike Rowe, please run for president!

Midwest  |  May, 16, 2011 at 12:12 PM

My husband and I farm, and try our hardest to educate people on where their food comes from. It's amazing that so many people don't have a clue. When our machinery breaks, we fix it. We are teaching our children the same thing. In school we have taught them to be proud of who they are and where they come from. We let them know that what we do, helps feed people everywhere. That's a pretty big job. Thank you for your voice. I wish more people could hear it.

Oklahoma  |  May, 16, 2011 at 02:54 PM

Thanks Mike! We the people need to realize that God made some people to be perfectly happy working at something that gets their hands dirty. Our current education system makes them to feel like a second class citizen for that. Until this changes, we are going to have to rely on the immigrants illegal or otherwise to do much of this work for us. "No child left behind" wonder whose brilliant idea that was. Hold back your brightest while pushing harder on the slower benefits no one in the long run.

Oklahoma  |  May, 16, 2011 at 02:54 PM

Thanks Mike! We the people need to realize that God made some people to be perfectly happy working at something that gets their hands dirty. Our current education system makes them to feel like a second class citizen for that. Until this changes, we are going to have to rely on the immigrants illegal or otherwise to do much of this work for us. "No child left behind" wonder whose brilliant idea that was. Hold back your brightest while pushing harder on the slower benefits no one in the long run.

Lamont OK  |  May, 18, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Sir, Very good article, I am proud of you and your stand. America needs more people who will willingly get the job done and maybe get dirty .We also need Christian ideals , we need to fix America now ,first and let God bless thoes for doing right . Sybil

Touradj Etezadi    
Fresno, CA  |  May, 18, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Thank you Mike. Well said.

James Lester    
Gainesville Ga.  |  May, 18, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Your article is right on. I am 64 and we see all America just waiting for something. Not only young people, but older people not wanting to do anything except collecting unemployment for two years. The only way we survived was to jump in and do everything ourselves unless I just didn't know how!

Michael Redmond    
May, 18, 2011 at 12:38 PM

The big problem is Americans don't want to get dirty anymore !! Dirt don't hurt nobody,it washes off !!

Melita Cramblet    
CAnyon, Texas  |  May, 18, 2011 at 06:13 PM

Very well put. Wish more people understood this and where their food comes from. It is not the grocery store!!!

Bill Maness    
Texas  |  May, 20, 2011 at 04:50 PM

No doubt that a skill set is primary in this world, and no, College is not a skill set, only proof that you or someone can pay up for a degree. I rasied a fmily with skills taught by my Dad and the US Navy, at the ripe old age of 62 I earned my degree, mostly just to enjoy the learning experience. Get dirty and get to work so you can fix the world around you. Good to Go MIKE.

Arlington, TX  |  May, 20, 2011 at 08:08 PM

These skills and the interest in learning and acquiring them are slipping away because they are devalued by our leaders, who attack unions and the working class people who comprise them. Working people are blamed for the fiscal irresponsibility of our political and economic leaders and the corporate shills who are paid hundreds of millions for devising crooked financial and other schemes to line their pockets at the expense of the real working people of America. We applaud and lavish praise and tax breaks on those who invent worthless securities (derivatives) and the inventors of parasitic social networking schemes such as Facebook and Twitter or online discount coupons such as Groupons that add nothing of real value but are emulated by young people who see these as the work that is praised by their elders and the media.

Lou Knight    
Big Spring TX  |  May, 21, 2011 at 07:17 PM

Very well put Mr. Rowe. You are exactly right. No one wants to start at the bottom and work up today. Be the best you can be in whatever field and the world is waiting for your expertise.

Big "A"    
Locust Grove Ga  |  May, 25, 2011 at 09:59 PM

atta boy Mike, I can't tell you how many times in my Heating and Coolin' days folks looked down at me when I was at the local BK Lounge eating luch in my sweat soaked/dirty clothes, all the while being the one who stretyched the ducts that kept them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Bakersfield, ca  |  May, 27, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Mike you are beginning to look more like a hero for the working man than just another tv personality every day. I remember taking up the lawn mowing and other typical "man" duties at the age of 7 when my parents got divorced. With my real dad passed away and being the only boy in the house, those responsabilities fell in my lap. Today I feel the same sense of pride as a commercial framer as I did back then because we are a dying breed of men. It seems most skilled laborers coming up are ex convicts and immigrants. Why, because no one else wants to get their hands dirty. Im proud to have knowledge and toughness to build buildings. I hope generations to come get to experience that pride as well.

Kim Nelson    
Pine Bluffs, WY  |  May, 27, 2011 at 11:57 PM

In our rural area, the state had a terrific idea- pay tuition for all qualified students to attend college in state. Unfortunately, the requirements throw out all vocational classes, and do not allow for attendance at trade schools or vocational schools. Local and state-wide participation in FFA and in vocational classes has dropped dramatically. Shame on Wyoming for not treasuring the wonderful resource they had: hard working young people able and willing to learn vocational trades and the agricultural industry!

Cindy Cleveringa    
Iowa  |  May, 31, 2011 at 08:57 AM

Thank you, Mike. I work with and believe in the 4-H program and it's goal to teach youth life skills by allowing them the "hands-on" experiences you have described. I hope we can change attitudes and begin again to prepare our youth to become skilled, employable adults.

Rock Rapids, Iowa  |  June, 03, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Thanks Mike for your comments. This country better wake up and start learning how to work again instead of sending our jobs and manufacturing over seas and hiring foreigners to do our work.

Texas  |  June, 07, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Mike We never meet because the line was long in Atlanta 2011. You put on a great show at the FB conference. You gave me your contact information however it got lost on the way home. Would like to communicate with you about job and some ofyour comments you made atthe show. Arthur

Jo Ann Hansen    
Ames, Iowa  |  June, 21, 2011 at 09:52 AM

Some of my most satisfying moments have been admiring work I have accomplished with my hands. I learned many of these skills from being involved in 4-H. I work with students in a middle school in a college town - we need to value vocational skills so we don't lose students who give up on themselves by thinking the college route is the only way to go.

Mossyrock wa  |  June, 22, 2011 at 08:23 PM

I agree 100% But, lets not have our schools train these people. They have already failed us. Have the journey men craftman train them.

Laura Roberts    
United States  |  July, 10, 2011 at 07:15 AM

Thanks for this great article. You are spot on in your assessments and I hope that someone out there will do something on this.

Judith McDowell    
Columbus OH  |  August, 06, 2011 at 08:17 AM

Very much appreciate your testimony. As Worship Committee chair of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, I see you describing a greater need for us to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of all people, one of our foremost tenets. I especially appreciate your concrete suggestions and Initiatives which will help us to rebalance this 21st century side effect of strong emphasis on high technology--often to the exclusion of callings to more ancient and classic skills of carpentry, plumbing and masonry.

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