‘Dirty Jobs’ Host Brings Trade Scholarships to Indiana

You’ve probably seen “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel at some point, or at least know the basic gist of the show: People call up host Mike Rowe and challenge/invite him to join them for some of the dirtiest, wildest and often incredibly interesting jobs in America.

And he (and a camera crew) joins in on those jobs for a day, giving the rest of us just glimpses into some of the “dirty” jobs that make the world go round.

With experiences from his show as inspiration and first-hand knowledge of the good jobs that come from hard work and skilled trades, Rowe created mikeroweWORKS in 2008 as a Trade Resource Center for people seeking skilled trade employment. The initiative has since grown into a PR campaign promoting hard work and skilled labor. Today, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation is a non-profit organization that gives scholarships and assistance to people seeking skilled trades.

Rowe has testified in front of Congress about the growing skills gap and the student loan crisis plaguing the country. We’ve heard time and again from Hoosier employers that they’d hire for the (sometimes hundreds of) open positions they have available if they could just find employees who have basic skills and show up to work.

An Indiana Chamber-commissioned study from 2009 points to 900,000 Hoosier adults that are in need of adult education and training because they a) don’t possess a high school diploma; b) don’t have a college education and earn less than a living wage; and c) have no college education and speak little or no English.

In early October, the mikeroweWORKS foundation announced a unique scholarship opportunity in partnership with the Midwest Technical Institute – 49 scholarships for full tuition to students who work hard and want to learn a useful skill.

“The only way to close the skills gap is to reward those who exhibit the qualities we want to encourage – the willingness to learn a useful skill, and a solid work ethic. That’s what these scholarships are all about. They’ll have an impact not just on the kids who receive them or the companies that ultimately hire them, but on everyone who benefits from their work. In other words … all of us,” Rowe said in the press release announcing the scholarships.

Applicants submit a 500 word essay on why they are pursuing such a career; a copy of the S.W.E.A.T. pledge (Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo); proof of high school GPA; three letters of recommendation and documentation of the need for financial aid.

And then, the top 100 applicants for each of the school’s seven campuses – there is a campus in Brownsburg – will be asked to submit a short video about why they deserve a scholarship. Via Facebook, the public will vote to choose the winners by who they believe to be the most deserving. Seven applicants for each of the seven schools will be given full-time tuition scholarships.

Rowe’s web site, www.ProfoundlyDisconnected.com, has more information on the scholarship and the mikeroweWORKS Foundation.