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Mike Rowe Lobbies Romney to Support 'Dirty' Jobs

Spokesman, Host Continues Crusade for Skilled Labor

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Mike Rowe
Mike Rowe Credit: Discovery Communications, LLC

Mike Rowe may be the smart-ass host of "Dirty Jobs" and the spokesman for a number of brands (Ford, Lee jeans, Viva paper towels), but he's dead serious when it comes to America's relationship to hard work. And that 's nowhere more evident than in an open letter he's written to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

On behalf of the nonprofit he started, mikeroweWORKS, Rowe notes that "our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce. We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it." The foundation, he says, has raised "over a million dollars for trade scholarships."

Why trade scholarships?

"We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education," writes Rowe. "Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed 'alternative.' Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as 'vocational consolation prizes,' and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to 'create' over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million "shovel ready jobs" made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)"

All of which is by way of background before Rowe makes his pitch specifically to Romney:

"Certainly, we need more jobs, and you were clear about that in Tampa. But the Skills Gap proves that we need something else too. We need people who see opportunity where opportunity exists. We need enthusiasm for careers that have been overlooked and underappreciated by society at large. We need to have a really big national conversation about what we value in the workforce, and if I can be of help to you in that regard, I am at your service -- assuming of course, you find yourself in a new address early next year.
What, if anything, comes of this remains to be seen. Obviously, if Romney loses the point is moot. Then again, if Romney responds and makes a big deal of it and still loses, maybe it will prompt President Barack Obama to follow suit. According to Rowe, he wrote a similar letter to Obama four years ago, but never heard back."

Via Ace of Spades.

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