OFF THE WALL: Passion is Too Important to be Without, but Too Fickle to Be Guided By

Stephen Adams, Auburn, AL “Hi, Mike. Let me begin by saying that I love what you and your foundation are attempting to do. However, I’m confused by your directive to NOT “follow your passion.” I think it can be safely argued that if no one followed their passion, companies like Apple, Microsoft, Dow, and many more wouldn’t exist. If no one follows their passion, who innovates? Who founds companies that provide jobs for the outstanding workers that your foundation aims to help?” Hi Stephen A few years ago, I did a special called “The Dirty Truth.” In it, I challenged Read More

OFF THE WALL: A Price Worth Paying

“Mike- you were recently tagged in Glen Beck’s post about being interviewed on his program. Do you realise how many people are upset about this because they despise Glen Beck?! I am disappointed that you did the interview because I want nothing to do with Beck. It’s a travesty.” Posted by Tobey Gloss, 3:20 pm, 9/25/2014 Hi Tobey I’m not so sure we agree on the definition of a “travesty.” To me, a travesty is what happens when the state executes an innocent man, or sets a guilty one free. A travesty is ignoring a bully, or betraying the public Read More

Mediaplanet USA Today – Manufacturing in America

  Mike’s call to Empower America’s Tradesmen ENCOURAGING THE NEXT GENERATION: ‘We need to nurture mechanical talent in all those who possess it and encourage all forms of learning.’ I have a neighbor named Doris, she’s approximately 130 years old and legally blind. Doris called me on Labor Day and asked if would help her assemble a bookshelf — I said sure. Why Doris needs a bookshelf is a bit of a mystery, but neither here nor there. The instructions were on the box, along with some helpful illustrations of a child, happily putting the whole contraption together in six Read More

Dubiski Career High School & Holt Cat doing their part to Close the Skills Gap

Spent yesterday in Grand Prairie Texas, just outside Dallas. There’s a trade school there called Dubiski. They train kids for jobs that actually exist, and they are without question one of the best facilities I’ve ever seen. Nearby, there’s a Cat Dealership called Holt. As many of you know, Cat has supported my efforts with mikeroweWORKS for years. Down here in Texas, The Cat Dealership is always looking for kids with the talent and the work ethic required to repair and maintain really big machines. In the heat. Currently, they’re hiring, and the opportunities are really, really good. Long story Read More

OFF THE WALL: Disapproval from a Fake Journalist

Mike, a friend of mine posted this article recently. “Mike Rowe’s Dirty Job.” While I fundamentally disagree with every point in it, I would love to hear your rebuttals to the personal attacks. Posted by Joey Defourneaux, 10:02 am, 9/7/2014 Thanks Joey Happy to oblige. When my flight’s delayed, and my entire day goes to hell in a handcart, there’s really no better way to pass the time than by analyzing the thoughtful prose of a fake journalist who has the courage to make shit up. The writer is a guy named Ari Paul, and the publication is called The Read More

mikeroweWORKS Turns 6 and 176 Students Are Going to Have Wonderful Lives in 2014

Howdy As some of you know, I have a small foundation called mikeroweWORKS. It began six years ago on this day. Since then, things have since gotten progressively and delightfully out of hand. The purpose of mikeroweWORKS is to encourage more people to pursue job opportunities that actually exist – specifically, opportunities that require the mastery of a skill that’s in demand. That means lots of PR, lots of speeches, and lots of partnerships with companies and organizations that help reinvigorate the skilled trades. Toward that end, we also have a Work Ethic Scholarship Program. So far this year, mikeroweWORKS Read More

OFF THE WALL: Safety Third Conversation Continues

Is worker safety and safety training (beyond the standard OSHA handshake) under your purview? If so, can you tell us a little about that? If not, may I ask why? I appreciate your work and I am not, I must stress NOT, calling you out. I am genuinely curious of your stance. Respectfully, Bill Hayward, Ph.D. Hi Bill Worker safety is a huge issue for me, and one that I got personally involved with about halfway through the Dirty Jobs run. After several seasons of accident-free shoots, my crew and I were suddenly enduring a rash of injuries while shooting Read More


Interesting conversation over on the wall. It was started by a guy called Jayson LaVictorie, who has posted a few thousand words about what’s wrong with America. He started with these observations, inspired apparently by my S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. Jayson: “The 12 points are stupid. Corporate SHILLS don’t want you to think (critically) of how the average worker of the United States are getting screwed over by the ultra rich! They don’t want you to know that you are losing your jobs to people that are working for nothing or next to nothing! Why do they get freebies on Labor Costs, Read More

OFF THE WALL: Bucking the Odds

Today’s question comes from Jenn Foit, who bucked the odds and got my attention in much the same a shiny object fascinates my dog. Hey Mike – I have a 1 in 1,443,953 chance of you writing back to me. I am a 27 year old single mom who is about to finally take the step and start in a welding program. I am nervous and would love and appreciate any words of wisdom! Posted by Jenn Foit, 2:14 pm, 7/11/2014 Hi Jenn Most friends of this page know better than to ask me for advice, primarily because I’m known Read More

OFF THE WALL: The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge and Chuck Norris’s Beard

  Many thoughtful comments after yesterdays post. This one for instance, from Steven Oklesh, rose to someplace near the top. “Fact – After reading this post, Chuck Norris’ beard abandoned him and is now en route to attach itself to Mike Rowe’s face.” Crazy thing Steve – you’re right! Chuck Norris’ beard arrived a little after 2 pm yesterday, and gave me quite a start. I kinda like it, but I’m prepared to give it back. But only if Chuck buys a SWEAT Pledge. Speaking of The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge – wow. Lots of question regarding it’s content. This one caught Read More

No Sour Grapes – Go Vote for mrW/UTI Videos

Here’s a picture of me holding a copy of The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. (Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.) I wrote The Pledge last year for three simple reasons: 1. I believe what it says, and felt strongly the world needs one more acronym. 2. I wanted to raise some money for the scholarship fund. (We sell them for $10, and the money goes to the foundation.) 3. I needed something declarative that everyone must sign who applies for a mikeroweWORKS Scholarship. Something that reflected my own view of work-ethic and personal responsibility. Number 3 is especially relevant to this post, Read More

SkillsUSA Torch Carrier Award – It’s a Major Award

I’ve always been ambivalent about trophies and plaques and various other tokens of accomplishment designed to live forever on walls and mantles. Unless the memento in question falls into the “major award” category – like The Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story – I prefer to display and cherish my various keepsakes in the garage. Last Friday though, I was honored by my friends at Skills USA, and received from them the rarest kind of souvenir – the kind I will actually show off. It’s called The Torch Carrier Award, and as I told the audience that watched me receive Read More

General Mills’ Generous Donation to the mikeroweWORKS Foundation

I am not a spokesman for General Mills. Neither is my mother. But here at Mom’s place, this morning’s breakfast came in the form of a mixing bowl filled with “Oven Toasted Whole Grain Gluten Free Corn Chex,” courtesy of General Mills. (I’m not sure why all of a sudden people are taking the gluten out of everything edible, but my parents are on board with the trend, and so is General Mills. So as long as I’m here, I guess I am too.) Anyway, I was enjoying the most important meal of the day and perusing last weeks unread Read More

Mike’s Experience With Travis Mills

Say hi to Retired Staff Sargent Travis Mills, formerly of the 82nd Airborne, US Army. As you can see, Travis has undergone a few structural modifications, most visibly in the leg department. Likewise, his left arm is more machine than flesh, and though his right arm appears to be around my waist, it really isn’t. Like the rest of his limbs, it’s been missing in action for some time. I met Travis a few weeks ago in DC at The Science and Engineering Festival, and spent a half hour talking, mostly about Dirty Jobs. He wanted to tell me how Read More

A Sign of the Times

David Hebermehl writes, “Hey Mike – Myself and a bunch of other golf course superintendents in and around Louisville Kentucky are having a really hard time finding employees, especially if we have to use e-verify. I’ve tried all sorts of things. Nobody wants to work or work hard. Any ideas?” Hi David – The short – and somewhat self-absorbed answer is – yes. It’s a program called mikeroweWORKS, which many here are no-doubt tired of hearing me drone on about. Here’s the short version. The primary purpose of mikeroweWORKS is to help close the countries skills gap by calling attention Read More