Mike Rowe


Sure, I'm five slices of pizza and three fingers of whiskey into my Wednesday evening, but the memory of a YouTube video that my Rowan classmate Zack Kinslow (@zkinslow) recently posted has been ringing into my head all night.

Mike Rowe, that guy we know from Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs and the voice of Ford Trucks, recently stood before the US Senate to discuss the importance of skilled trades versus a college education. To sum it up, our nation's infrastructure is falling apart, and we as a society have placed so much emphasis on a college education that we simply don't have enough workers to keep our industries running smoothly.

This is something I've wondered about for years, especially now that our economy is still amidst a bit of an employment crisis. When I was in high school, there were just a few vo-tech kids who spent the second half of their school days learning how to weld or work on cars. These days, vocational schools seem to be largely ignored. Students are pushed towards "higher education."

"Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant position. And there are 450,000 openings today in trades transportation, and utilities."  -- Mike Rowe to US Senate, May 11, 2011

That's a hell of a lot of jobs that we just can't fill because we're overly stressing the importance of getting a college education, which, in today's economy, is more likely to leave the graduate swimming in debt with few career prospects.

So I leave you with this question -- regardless of where you are in life right now, if you could trade your college education for a guaranteed job working a skilled trade, would you?