He's the guy who took on some of the toughest jobs in America on his hit Discovery Channel show, Dirty Jobs.
Now, Mike Rowe has a new mission; encouraging high school kids to consider learning a trade instead of spending big bucks on a college degree.
He told INSIDE EDITION, “We have got a trillion dollars in student loans today. A trillion. You have got really high unemployment among college graduates. You have got many graduates working in fields they didn't even study for.”
According to a recent survey, 53% of recent college graduates are either jobless or underemployed.
Even though, Rowe points out, there are four million jobs out there for skilled workers like mechanics, plumbers, and electricians that are simply going unfilled.
He said, “The thing I hear over and over and over and over again from small business owners and entrepreneurs is how hard it is to find workers with the combination of the right skills and willingness to work their butts off.”
Through his foundation, Mike Rowe Works, scholarships are being provided for trade school education. To illustrate his point, he has updated a vintage poster from the 1970’s.
He said, “It was a PR campaign for college. Here's a graduate with his degree, he's happy and smiling, here's a guy without a degree, and he’s got a wrench look how miserable he is. Look at the caption, 'Work Smart Not Hard,' it’s the worst advice in the world. The opportunities that exist are for the guy in that poster who is portrayed as a loser.”
Rowe says his version of the poster is more in line with today's economy, “ I am assuming the role of the graduate, thousands of dollars in debt, no real prospects, therefore I look a bit confused. Next to me is a far more aspirational version of today's skilled workers. He has no debt, he has a job, he likes what he is doing. If that poster is hanging in school maybe it starts a conversation and when parents and kids sit down to talk about the future, it will put more options on the table.”
Rowe's new initiative is called "Profoundly Disconnected." If you would like to learn more, click here.