Turns out that Mike Rowe, of Mike Rowe Works, has sent an open letter to Governor Romney, about work. I didn't check it out, but he claims to have sent a similar letter, four years ago, to President Obama.
The thrust of the letter is that while we have high unemployment, employers are out looking for skilled workers to do jobs that take technical knowhow, but not a college degree. Mr Rowe's point is that we have devalued jobs we see as "dirty" and alternatives to "white collar" jobs.♠ Here is what the InstaPundit quoted from the letter:
In each case, I shared my theory that most of these “problems” were in fact symptoms of something more fundamental – a change in the way Americans viewed hard work and skilled labor. That’s the essence of what I’ve heard from the hundreds of men and women I’ve worked with on Dirty Jobs. Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers…they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again – our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce. We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it.One of the things that stuck in memory was my Father saying, I don't care what you do as long as you don't do what I do. He was a Safety Engineer and I always took that to mean I should strike out on my own. Incidentally, my Father wasn't always a Safety Engineer. He had worked in a steel mill as a welder and a fireman. He had worked in a service station, back when the normal thing was for the attendant to pump the gas and wash your windshield. I can remember him working for our landlord, helping to build a house, as a way of saving money by working off the rent. Work is good.
Today, we can see the consequences of this disconnect in any number of areas, but none is more obvious than the growing skills gap. Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)
Regards — Cliff
♠ I think that is why I enjoyed by Air Force career. I got to do jobs that were about doing things and I got to do jobs that were about sitting behind a desk and thinking and writing. Being a Forward Air Controller (FAC) in Alaska was about getting bombs on target for soldiers and it involved flying and riding around in a jeep and sleeping out. It involved learning to cross-country ski with a pack and a radio. Yes, a Taxpayer supported Boy Scout on an adventure.