HR Strange But True!
May 26, 2011

Mike Rowe, who is typically covered in dirt, grease, or some other residue, threw on a jacket and tie for his trip to Capitol Hill. Rowe, the creator and host of “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe,” traveled to D.C. to speak before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee about the importance of blue collar jobs.

Rowe made his way to Washington, D.C. to lobby for skilled labor. Looking sharp, he joked that all his other suits are made out of rubber.

However, his testimony before the Senate Committee was more serious in nature. Using his grandfather, a master tradesman, as an example, Rowe illustrated how the attitude toward blue-collar jobs has changed over time.

“Nobody hates skilled tradesmen,” Rowe explained in a CNN interview. “But look at the way those industries are portrayed in pop culture. Show me a plumber, and I'll show you a 300-pound guy with a giant butt crack and a tool belt. He's a punch line.”

In a letter on his website, Rowe discussed how important tradesmen are to the U.S. economy.

“Despite persistently high unemployment rates, our country now faces a pressing need for more skilled workers,” Rowe said.

He referenced President Obama’s “Skills for America’s Future,” an initiative that connects businesses to community colleges with the goal of training students so they can enter the workforce prepared.

While Rowe noted the program was a good start, he believes that more needs to be done. “We need to engage the entire country in a larger conversation about the value of skilled work,” Rowe advised.

“This is about much more than “creating” jobs. This is about the consequences of not closing the skills gap.”

While this was Mike’s first Senate Committee meeting, this isn’t the first time he has stood up for blue collar jobs. Apart from his television show, Rowe also launched a website,, with a goal “to challenge the prevailing definition of a ‘good job’.”


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