Mike Rowe, best known for his nine-year Discovery Channel hit show, "Dirty Jobs," returned to the material handling industry this week to deliver his message about Americans' need to "change our relationship with work." Rowe first spoke to material handling industry professionals two years ago and was invited to continue his conversation by delivering a keynote address at Modex 2018.
His primary message? American society has obscured thousands of job opportunities by telling young people that an expensive four-year degree is the only path to prosperity.
"We steadfastly refuse to look at trade schools, community colleges, [and similar organizations] in the same way as four-year colleges," Rowe told attendees, emphasizing demand for skilled labor in the logistics and materials handling industry. "There are tens of thousands of opportunities in logistics and material handling, [but] the country doesn't know about it."
Rowe talked about the need for a public relations campaign to raise awareness of the opportunities available in the skilled trades and also discussed his efforts to do so through his organization, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which awards scholarships to students pursuing those careers. Rowe emphasized that the foundation's scholarships are based on a student's work ethic, and he shared the qualifications applicants must meet for a chance at funding. Among them, students must agree that "any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm," and they must also make the pledge: "I choose to work my butt off."
To date, mikeroweWORKS has given $5 million in work ethic scholarships to students across the country.
For more information on Rowe and on mikeroweWORKS, visit mikerowe.com.