After learning that more American students are deciding not to apply for college, America Works host and Dirty Jobs legend Mike Rowe feels gratification.
Fifteen years ago, the writing was on the wall. Two people who leave the skilled trades replace them every time they leave. Rowe said on Friday that it was coming. "We knew it was coming," Rowe said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that college enrollment has declined about 15% over the past decade, while the number of apprentices has gone up by more than 50%, based on federal and Urban Institute data. Some colleges and universities enroll about 15 million students in total, while around 800,000 of them are employed by companies.
We also knew that colleges were raising tuition faster than any other commodity that'd ever gone up: food, real estate, health care, all of it, Rowe noted. The chickens have come home for real, even though they've come home to the roost. DIRTY JOBS Rowe expanded on how vocational or apprentice programs are showing signs of encouragement while Americans disassociate from the college-for-all culture.
Trade schools are up, and four-year enrollments are down. I'm not saying anything, Rowe said, but I'm just saying that after decades of telling kids, the best path for the most people is the most expensive path, we've created a problem that we have right now. I think the ship is starting to turn. While the How America Works host gave kudos to President Biden on the road next week to tout jobs that don't require a four-year degree, Rowe said the president must be able to address multiple issues at once.
It's the bromides that have had parents and guidance counselors brainwashed. He clarified that it is not one path for the most people. We have to put all the options on the table early, and then we have to confront the stigmas and stereotypes that keep people out of these careers. In an effort to support young people who want to pursue vocational or industrial jobs, Rowe created his nonprofit, mikeroweWORKS Foundation. This month Rowe awarded $1 million in work ethic scholarships to students who are trying to make a difference.
It is hard to know the soul of an individual and know their character. The job expert said that we try to champion the work ethic in the same way that a lot of other scholarships focus on scholastic aptitude or talent or athletic ability.
If you're willing to show up early, stay late, apply yourself, we can prove that there is a road to prosperity, because we're trying to make a case that says, look, look, he continued, if you're willing to learn a skill that's in demand, if you're willing to show up early, stay late, apply yourself. Although the importance of the work ethic has been part of Rowe's core message for 15 years, he pointed out that it wasn't until recently that he could point out to young people who have practiced the mentality.
It's hard to define, but I know this for sure: when you find it, you can either reward it or ignore it, Rowe said. TV shows I've worked on over the years, 'Dirty Jobs, 'How America Works', are some of the TV shows I've worked on. They are all an attempt to start a conversation around opportunity. If you get a kid interested in that point, it's incumbent on us to encourage that interest.