Mike Rowe is known for going where no man (or woman for that matter) wants to go, which is how his hit TV show “Dirty Jobs” came about. He has traveled across the United States and explored a wide range of blue collar jobs, from crabbing in Alaska to pig farming in Las Vegas. Part of seeing the various blue collar jobs that exist in our country has made Rowe realize one thing: there’s a serious skills gap. Kids are being taught from a young age that they have to go to college and take out student loans in order to be successful in life.
Here’s the problem: America’s landscape has changed over the years. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s America was built on blue collar jobs. There was a desperate need for people to attend college in order to obtain white collar jobs. There was a shortage of educated individuals. But the public relations campaign used to push people into pursuing college degrees had the opposite impact and tipped the scale in the opposite direction. Instead of having a lack of people in vocations that require a college education, we now see a huge vacancy in so-called “dirty jobs,” the jobs that are absolutely vital to our economy, and quite frankly, our way of life.
We’ve become so focused on jobs that we think we should have versus the jobs we think we need that we've created an economic nightmare. But that's where Rowe and the mikeroweWORKS Foundation come in. Back in 2008, the TV star decided to give back to the people who made "Dirty Jobs" such a success.
"It was 'Dirty Jobs' in part, and my grandfather, in part, but it was mostly because, in 2008, I had done well by 'Dirty Jobs.' It was a hit show and people seemed to love it in a couple hundred countries and then the economy tanked, and what happened was the unemployment numbers went higher and higher and higher every week it seemed and the skills gap got wider and wider and wider at the same time," Rowe told me back in 2018. "So, on the one hand, more people were out of work than ever before, on the other hand, we had 2.3 million decent jobs that were open and no one was trained to do. So, I started the foundation, initially, to shine a light on the opportunities that actually existed, that were going unloved."
It's that desire to create scholarships that has Rowe challenging former Vice President Joe Biden to help raise funds for his organization. He asked for the former veep to donate some sort of signed item that could be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. One item that was suggested was a bathrobe.
"Admittedly, this is a weird request, but I’ve auctioned off a lot of other weird things to raise money over the years, and as you can see from the attached photos, this is not the weirdest. However, if you do decide to send me an autographed bathrobe, I’ll post a video of me, sitting at my kitchen table, wearing your robe and drinking coffee. I'll also encourage the six million people on my Facebook page to bid on it, and express my sincere thanks for your support," he wrote in a post on Facebook.
"What do you say? An autographed Joe Biden bathrobe, auctioned off by the Dirty Jobs Guy, to help close America’s Skills Gap? How can you say no? On behalf of everyone at mikeroweWORKS, and America’s next generation of skilled workers, we’d be grateful," the TV star concluded.
He also made sure to mention that President Donald Trump had already donated to the cause before, which is why Biden was being challenged.
"PS Full disclosure, I did the exact same thing four years ago with a bathrobe signed by Donald Trump, and raised over $15,000," he explained. "I’m betting I could get just as much for one of yours…"