Mike Rowe about college: “It’s not working. You’ve got a trillion dollars in debt on the student loan side. You’ve got a skills gap. Right now you have about 3 million jobs, transportation, commerce, trades that can’t be filled. Jobs that typically don’t sit down with their kids a say looks if all goes well, this is what you’re going to do."
“Opportunities. A good welder, right now, can pretty much write his or her own ticket. Companies like Catapillar, you can go down the list. They have had open shortages for years.
“The scholarship program, and the scholarship business, as I understand it, right now awards four basic things. Intelligence, so you have academic scholarships. Athleticism, if you can hit a three pointer, we’ve got money for you for days. Talent, we reward talent and of course need. Need based scholarships. Those are the categories that most scholarships address to some degree or another. Who’s addressing work ethic? Who’s affirmatively trying to reward the behavior we’re trying to encourage?"
Mike Rowe on his foundation: “the behavior that Mike Row Works wants to at least talk about, is two things. The willingness to learn a useful skill. And the willingness to work your ass off. Combined, we think that is something that outta be affirmatively rewarded."
"The question is, what is better? Is it better, right now today, to have $140,000 in debt, but have a degree from Georgetown in law? Or is it better to be that kid I described up in Butler? (Earlier he talks about a kid in Butler North Dakota, that works on heavy equipment making over $100/hour, working when he wants, paid for his house in cash, raising a family, no debt. People don’t tell his story. "
“If we’re lending money that extensively, we don’t have to kids who really have no hope of paying it back in order to train them for jobs that clearly don’t exist, I might suggest that we’ve gone around the bend a little bit."
“The cost of a degree has increased over 500 times the rate of inflation since the mid 80s. 500 times the rate of inflation. Nothing else comes close, not even healthcare. Healthcare is like, 250-260. The cost of this thing has increased so exponentially, I can’t believe it’s not daily headline news. Image any other commodity increasing at that rate. I get it, education is hugely important. If there’s only more thing that’s more important than education, maybe health and fitness. Right, cause what’s the point, if you’re not functioning."
“Fear. It’s gotta be very scary to not have a really specific answer to questions like: “What’s the best path dad?” And to have somebody tell you in a fairly convincing way that there is an answer to that question. That must be very comforting. And that must be very comforting to pass that certainly onto your kid too. "Here’s what you need to do, you need to work hard in school. You need to study"…..It’s not bad advice. It’s just that, like I’ve said before, it always goes too far. Because, rather than put a period after work hard and study hard. We put an ellipsis, and that’s followed by “or else, you’re gonna end up working down at the construction thing…er…eh"
“Whether you’re a tv interviewer, or an opera singer, or a writer, you’re gonna approach your craft like a tradesman. And by that I mean, like a freelancer. Instead of, “ok I need my job and my job will be 30 years, and it will come with benefits and it will be provided bla bla la . That’s not working anymore.”
“Les Swansin from Wisconsin cleans septic tanks. I asked him one day, we were literally standing literally up to our nipples in the most undescribable bouillon base on the planet, and I said Les, “what did you do before this?” It’s 110, the sweats running off his face and he looks at me and he says “I swear I was a guidance counselor.” He was a psychiatrist, a psyhologist. And I said, “Why’d you leave that? And without missing a beat he says, “I got tired of dealing with other peoples shit.” It was very funny, but it was also very instructive, because he always thought what he wanted to do was the thing that he was told he should do. He became passionate about something he really didn’t care for. When it came time for him to make the change, he just looked around to see where everybody was going, and he went the other way. Took him into a septic tank. Owned a business, couple of workers, very happy. So if you’re asking how do you know if you’re going in the right direction, how do you really foster a good work ethic, I think you have to identify the thing that most people don’t want to do, figure out a way to do it, and then figure out a way to love it"