Mike Rowe

Famous for his rugged voice, being covered in excrement and his charming abilities to sell Ford pick-ups, former Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe is on a mission to put people to work.  After eight seasons of Dirty Jobs, Rowe is using his experience, celebrity power and his nonprofit organization to find creative ways to solve the “skills gap” in American employment.

Mike Rowe launched his site, Profoundly Disconnected, this year, featuring a revamping of the “Work smart, not hard” poster made popular by a college promotional campaign in the 1970’s.  Rowe says that Americans took “their own stupid advice” and became too obsessed with the idea that a college degree was the only way to be successful.  The website now sells a poster that says “work smart not and hard,” and depicts a grumpy college graduate and a clean cut warehouse worker holding a mobile logistics device.

On Labor Day in 2008, Rowe and a large group of volunteer fans launched the Mike Rowe Works Foundation, which provides scholarships and aid for students interested in pursuing trade schools.  Mikeroweworks.com also features media, job boards, resources, an online store and forums for anyone interested in finding or supporting jobs in agriculture, construction or other trades.  The foundation is also raising money by selling memorabilia from Dirty Jobs, most popularly a set of satin boxers worn by Rowe on set.

Rowe is also hitting the news circuit, claiming he will talk to anyone that listens.  Jobs are something that should concern everyone, regardless of politics or ideology.  Overall, Rowe’s goal is to change the way Americans think about vocational work and change ideas about what a meaningful career can be.  Over 3 million trade jobs are left vacant because of the skills gap, and Rowe is working to change that.

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