‘Dirty Jobs’ reality TV star Mike Rowe is one of America’s favorite advocates for blue collar workers, but according to Rowe, his words haven’t always been properly translated on social media.
Rowe, who has nearly six million Facebook followers, said recently that he has been misquoted often on Facebook memes.
Despite that, he has continued to remain active on social media, and shared his thoughts on the plight of the blue collar worker in this country which many have deemed controversial.
Recently, a quote from Rowe taking aim at student loan forgiveness went viral, as part of a social media campaign to shine the spotlight on his own scholarship program.
According to Rowe, the government should re-think where it allocates its money and loan forgiveness, in a way that keeps the blue collar worker in mind instead of focusing on only one segment of society.
“Why Would We Forgive the Cost of a Degree But Not the Cost of a Lease Payment?”
It’s no secret that the United States faces a shortage of skilled labor and tradesmen and women, with nearly half of all companies or 47% recently reporting a shortage in skilled workers in the third quarter of 2021 according to the National Association of Business Economics (NABE).
Meanwhile, the current administration is scheduled to cancel more than $6 billion worth of federal student debt as part of its ‘Public Loan Forgiveness Program,’ which will run through October.
According to Rowe, the government should be just as forgiving with business owners who are forced to take out loans to pay for expensive equipment, like diesel trucks.
He called students’ demand for loan forgiveness “kind of self-involved,” according to an article from investigative reporter John Stossel.
Rowe shared the information in a meme that has gone viral.
“I know guys who worked hard to get a construction operation running, some had to take out a loan on a big old diesel truck,” Rowe said.
“Why would we forgive the cost of a degree but not the cost of a lease payment?
“For some reason, we think a tool that looks like a diploma is somehow more important than a big piece of metal in the driveway that allows you to build homes that you live in.”
Following the meme’s release, Rowe took to his own social media page to share his reaction.
He said he has been misquoted in the past, but this one is 100% true.
“This meme is making the rounds. ￼Like hundreds of other memes out there featuring yours truly, I have no idea who made this one.
“Unlike the others, however, this one features a quote that I actually said. And the image, for what it’s worth, still looks like me. I’m sharing it because it’s a good way to remind people that mikeroweWORKS is once again taking applications for our next round of work ethic scholarships – assuming of course, you share it as well. Which I hope you will. A million dollars is up for grabs for anyone who wishes to master a skill that doesn’t require a four year degree.
“Apply today at mikeroweworks.org/scholarship.”
Following Rowe’s post, many of his followers agreed with his assertions and thanked him for his support of skilled trades in the United States.
“AMEN Mike! Thanks for doing what you do to actually increase trades in America- we need good tradesmen now more than ever! College degrees are over rated and not for everyone! I think younger people these days could use work that makes them feel valued and that they accomplished something with their own hands! It’s so rewarding!” said commenter Mecinda Tyler.
Another commenter named Meckie Pender had the following to say.
“Thank you Mike!!! My vocational training allowed me to build my family 2 homes and remodel numerous!!! I met my wife of 35 years there as well!!! I remember being discouraged from attending by peers and school staff because only “losers” went to trade schools. Joke’s on them!!!”
Gail Wozniak, another Facebook user, had the following to say.
“I have ALWAYS supported the Trades, and ALWAYS will!! We need to teach our kids and adults there’s a great need for them. They are the first people we call when things go wrong, and they deserve our utmost respect!”
Has the U.S. Government Forgotten the Blue Collar Worker?
“Now everybody is armed with a degree. What kind of world is that?” Rowe asked.
“Everybody dreams of being in the corner office, but nobody knows how to build the corner office?”
Lots of good jobs in skilled trades don’t require a college degree, Rowe later added.
“The push for college came at the expense of every other form of education.
Shop class was taken out of high school. We have denied millions of kids an opportunity to see what half the workforce looks like.”