CNN Student News
CNN Student News
May 19, 2011
May 19, 2011
(CNN Student News) -- May 19, 2011
Meet a TV host who wants to change minds about blue-collar jobs
Is This Legit?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS:
Is this legit? Plumber, auto mechanic and electrician are examples of white-collar jobs. Not legit! These are blue-collar jobs, where workers do manual labor.
War on Dirty Jobs?
You might know Mike Rowe. He's not a blue-collar worker; he just plays one on TV. Hosts a show that's all about the kinds of jobs we might not think much about, but that we all rely on. The problem is -- according to Mr. Rowe -- is that fewer people want those jobs. Christine Romans shows us how this host is trying to change people's minds, starting in Washington, D.C.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT:
You know him as the host of "Dirty Jobs"...
MIKE ROWE, HOST OF "DIRTY JOBS":
My name's Mike Rowe, and that's my job.
Where he catches snakes...
I'm being bit by a snake!
Cleans up tar...
I'm just doing some glopping
And deals with a lot of dirt.
Whooo, now we're all dirty!
And now, Mike's taking on an issue he says he's learned from the people who deal with all our dirt.
We've got this great rift in between blue and white collar. I would just say that our society is waged in a sort of cold war on work.
A war on a specific type of work: skilled labor. As our work force shifted to more white-collar jobs and the definition of a "good job" changed, lucrative skilled labor careers, such as plumbers, electricians and machinists, have seen their image suffer.
There's a category of work though, in our work force, that's critical. And those jobs have come to feel like, call it vocational consolation prizes. We are simply not celebrating their contribution. That's why you have a skills gap right now, at the same time as you have unemployment.
According to the Department of Labor, skilled labor like plumbers and steam fitters will see a 16% increase in the number of jobs available by 2018. Skilled construction workers a 19% bump. The problem: finding workers with the right qualifications to fill the jobs, and an aging workforce that will retire soon.
All my other suits are made out of rubber.
This problem brought Mike all the way to Capitol Hill, where he testified in front of the Senate Commerce Committee about the skilled labor crisis.
We need a national PR campaign for skilled labor, like a big one. Something that addresses the widening skills gap head on and reconnects our country with the most important part of our workforce
They are the "dirty jobs." And while not glamorous, they are essential to keep the country running.
It's not about, "Oh no, the poor tradesman." They're gonna be fine; they're gonna be great! In fact, it's the rest of us, who rely on their work. We're gonna take it in the neck.
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