Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Praise for Mike Rowe and "Work"

Gail Pennington, columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is the latest to discover the important commentary coming from the mouth of Mike Rowe, star of the Discovery Channel's shows World's Dirtiest Jobs and Most Dangerous Catch. Pennington's recent column gives voice to Rowe again and his message that "America has declared war on work," and this attitude is detrimental to our future.

Rowe asks an important question: "Doesn't it seem strange we can have a shortage of skilled labor, a crumbling infrastructure, and rising unemployment? How did we get into this fix?"

How indeed.

It is particularly troubling that we continue to ignore the needs of our economy and assume that all Americans need a college degree or that America should lead the world in college degrees. Interestingly, according to the Department of Labor, the average four-year college graduate in this country makes $45000/yr while the average plumber/electrician makes $49800. Of course, we shouldn't forget that only 29% of Americans have a bachelor anyway, and many of them are over-educated for what they do.

However, I am not going to argue for or encourage kids to pursue career and technical education in this country if we continue to not only declare war on work, but also continue to devalue work by continually padding the corporate bottom line by decreasing wages and benefits. Europe and Asia can effectively increase education while maintaining skilled labor because they support their workers.

Hopefully, Americans will actually get a clue about what makes America "work."

No comments: