Mike Rowe is calling for a cultural shift in how Americans define a “good job.”
Rowe became famous on his show “Dirty Jobs,” where he would travel the United States and meet people who were working jobs that other Americans might find unsavory to highlight the dignity of all work.
During an interview with Fox News’ Steve Hilton, Rowe explained that there are plenty of meaningful jobs available in the U.S., but cultural stigmas are keeping Americans out of high-paying careers.
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“Good work implies the existence of bad work. Bad work suggests the existence of bad jobs. If you go into the world with an expectation that you have a category of good jobs and a category of bad jobs, then you’re going to be informed to act accordingly, which means you will look at education in terms of good education and bad education. Four-year degrees. Trade schools. The language is important, so if we want to redefine the way we think about work in the coming decades, we need to redefine the definition of a good job.”
He noted that the Mike Rowe Works Foundation gives out work ethic scholarships to help young Americans fund their education. Several of the program’s alumni have landed trade jobs, including welding, carpentry, and mechanical work that yield six-figure salaries without the burden of student debt.
“We have 7 million jobs that are currently available, 75 percent of which don’t require a four-year degree,” said Rowe.
Rowe also explained that changing the cultural outlook of all jobs could ensure that more people remain employed to keep the economy thriving.
“People look at unemployment as a reflection of, ‘Gosh, if only we had more jobs, the unemployment would go away.’ That’s not true. That’s a big, hairy fabrication. The reality is the existence of opportunity makes people uncomfortable because it says something that’s ultimately unflattering about our country.”
Rowe noted that the best way to “change the narrative” of what qualifies as a “good job” is to tell the stories of those who thrive while working in industries that don’t require a degree and the burden of student debt.