Mike Rowe, creator and executive producer of Discover Channel’s Dirty Jobs, writes an open letter to Mitt Romney. An excerpt:
Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. 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.)
For a great book on the value of physical/manual labor, check out Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford (Penguin, 2010).
Related: The Trades Alternative
Update #2: Trade School Enrollment Soars:
Trade schools nationwide are bursting at the seams as demand for skilled factory workers pushes enrollment to record highs.American manufacturers in certain sectors are enjoying a rebirth fueled by the return of overseas production back to the United States. As factories crank up, they have an urgent need for high-skilled workers such as machinists and tool-and-die makers knowledgeable in computers.