TV Show Celebrates Working People

The host of a new CNN program has long been an advocate of the skilled trades and the idea that a four-year degree isn’t for everyone.


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Created by Mike Rowe, this poster parodies an old college recruitment message that he viewed as bad advice. The original version used a smiling graduate and a frowning factory worker with a hammer (with the word “not” intact) to push the supposed advantages of a four-year degree. (Image courtesy of profoundlydisconnected.com.)

“We’re lending money we don’t have, to kids who can’t pay it back, to educate them for jobs that don’t exist.”

It’s always a good feeling when the mainstream media starts harping on the same topics that tend to obsess those of us in the manufacturing trade press (and, of course, you, our audience). That’s why I was particularly pleased the other day to hear the above quote on, of all places, CNN. The quote comes from Mike Rowe, who is perhaps best known as host of the now-defunct “Dirty Jobs” TV show and, for me, a consistent source of the warm fuzzies when it comes to people outside our industry talking about the skilled worker shortage.

This is a topic that’s near and dear to Mike’s heart, and CNN has given him a new platform on which to tout it. October 8 marked the inaugural episode of “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” an unscripted reality series that sounds very much like his old show (I haven’t yet seen it, but the first two episodes are recorded on my DVR!). The third episode airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Granted, I’m not sure whether Rowe has plans to dedicate any episodes to moldmakers, or even to any metal-cutting shops in general. Nonetheless, his stated purpose in introducing the show will resonate with many of this magazine’s readers. I, for one, welcome any outside influence that can help convince the masses of what those involved in our industry and other skilled trades already know. Check out CNN's video and Q&A to hear his message for yourself.

Rowe is active in this arena off the screen, too. For more information, check out “Profoundly Disconnected,” a foundation he set up to help close the skills gap.