So I sat down this morning and wrote what I thought was a humorous and subversive take on the events of 2016. Then I stumbled across this, by Dave Barry.
Dave Barry is a much better writer than I am, which is annoying. He also wrote about the same things I did, which is doubly annoying. Because now, my humorous and subversive take on 2016 not only appears weak in comparison to his, it appears to be partially plagiarized, and therefore unfit for sharing.
However, while Dave Barry is funnier than I am, he does not appear to be all that concerned with closing America’s skills gap, and that makes him far less important to the future of our country. So, rather than trying to be all wry and arch about 2016, I’m going to forego any attempt at humor, and share some information that proves I’m a much better person than Dave Barry. Specifically…
In 2017, mikeroweWORKS is going to give away a lot of work ethic scholarships. How many? I’m not sure yet, but so far we’ve raised over $500,000, and I think there’s a lot more on the horizon. Along with the generosity of the people on this page, our partnership with This Old House is turning out to be rather remarkable.
Here’s the short version. This Old House, a diabolically simple TV show that’s been on the air for nearly a hundred years, has determined – quite rightly, I think – that America’s skills gap poses a clear and present danger to anyone addicted to solid foundations, straight walls, sturdy roofs, affordable electricity, smooth roads, and indoor plumbing.
To help close the gap, Norm Abram and the crew at This Old House have launched an initiative called Generation Next – a targeted effort to encourage more kids to explore careers in the construction trades. Check it out here, along with some videos of yours truly being uncharacteristically earnest.
As a part of Generation Next, This Old House wanted to offer a scholarship program, funded in part by sponsors of their show. But then, they stumbled across mikeroweWORKS, and realized that we’ve been doing that very thing since 2008. So, rather than do the same exact thing in the same exact way, someone at This Old House said, “Hey, let’s just give the money to mikeroweWORKS and let them handle it.”
Actually, I have no idea if anyone said any such thing, but I do know that I was weighed and measured, and after confirming that I was neither crooked nor crazy, (or in any way connected to Dave Barry,) Generation Next chose our Work Ethic Scholarship Program as the beneficiary of the money they raise. Additionally, the actual house featured on this season of This Old House will be auctioned off at the end of the year, and mikeroweWORKS will receive those funds as well. Consequently, our 2017 program will be more robust than usual.
So – mark your calendars. Sometime in March, we’ll be announcing the existence of another large pile of money specifically for those willing to learn a skill that’s actually in demand. It’s going to be great, and thanks to my new friends at This Old House – and their amazingly generous sponsors, we’re going to help a lot of people get to work.
In spite of Dave Barry.
More later, and Happy New Year.
PS. I love Dave Barry. And his look back at this mind-numbingly weird year is worth reading. Not as good as This Old House, but close…