Flutterby™! : Mike Rowe on skilled labor

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Mike Rowe on skilled labor

2011-05-13 15:26:43.651236+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

[ related topics: Politics ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-19 08:50:14.395732+00 by: spc476

A friend of mine is leaving academia, because there's only so many composition classes one can teach before going mad (not to mention the town he lived in was wiped off the face of the earth by an F5 tornado) to deal blackjack. I'm not sure what this says.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-17 19:32:59.993031+00 by: Larry Burton

While I see no real commercial value in a liberal arts degree I have found tremendous personal value in a life-long, self-guided liberal arts education.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-17 18:41:27.036265+00 by: Dan Lyke

Huge-ass Metafilter entry on the education finance bubble. afroblanco notes:

I guess that means an anthropology degree is the equivalent of a mcmansion in the exurbs purchased with a stated-income ARM?

Yep. And Lutoslawski has a few observations about the college experience:

In the case of my alma mater, undergrads, most of them wealthy, pay through the nose so grad students in English shitting out nonsense about deconstruction and Virginia Woolf can be funded. So professors can get subsidized housing and tenure sabbatical in order to write treatises that only the students made to purchase their books will read. So the college can expand its endowment and lobbying activities. So the president can earn more than a million dollars a year. So the college can pay for musical acts to come and play at Spring Fling or whatever and so the college can have on-site medics for when students get alcohol poisoning. So anyone who wants to start a club about WoW or crumping can get $1,000 from the student activities council.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-17 10:40:19.617737+00 by: DaveP [edit history]

Dan, there's also plenty of skilled knowledge that gets lost. I'm taking my 1955 DeSoto to the shop this morning to get its transmission rebuilt, and I need to drive 45 miles out of my way in order to get it to a shop where there's a guy who knows how to work on "those antiques," the owner of the shop closer to home having gotten too sick at age 80 to work any more.

But one of the things that runs counter to the situation Mike Rowe fears is amateurism. Yes, it takes years to learn a skilled trade. But there are people who are willing to put in their 10k hours on a hobby.

Plus, at least around here, the Vo-Tech schools are still doing reasonably well, even if all the hip kids are going to four-year universities where they sit through Psych 101.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-16 19:31:22.299857+00 by: Dan Lyke

Dave, I think that beyond the skilled handyman, one of the things that Mike Rowe is getting at is the more specialized skilled trade. A few years ago I met someone who was recently out of school with a mechanical engineering degree, and was working in a high end performance tuning shop. It was plain that he was useful for the degree, but it was also plain that he had 5 or 6 years yet to spend in that shop before he started to know how to make a car sing, or have the touch to consistently and accurately run a bead with the TIG welder without burning through the core material.

The question I think Mike Rowe is asking in the subtext, and the question I've asked numerous times, is: Have we gained anything by making sure that the person in question was able to sit through PSYCH101 and the obligatory sociology "elective" with a straight face? Yes, you want someone able to do material strength calculations and run the finite element analysis software, but the monopoly held by the current university system on such things seems like it's in the counter-productive stage.

Petronius: Or the Arts & Crafts movement of the 1840s?

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-16 19:18:57.881179+00 by: petronius

Can someone tell me the difference between the Maker Movement and the Do it Yourself movement from the 50s?

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-14 14:17:03.851385+00 by: DaveP

At least here in Minneapolis, it's not quite that bad. Anecdatally, there are two new plumbers for example, who used to run a hardware store that went bust (fewer people buy parts to fix their own houses anymore, and those who do end up at Home Depot) and who seem to be making a go of it. There's the guy who built my custom bookcases, rebuilt my stairway, remodeled my bathroom, and a bunch of other things around the house who started a wood-shop as a hobby and is making a living out of it now.

I think the Maker Faire movement may be the source of a lot of skilled labor in the future, too.

But there's a lot of things I see that tell me that Minnesota isn't like the rest of the country. That's one of the reasons I decided to move back here. And continue to support small businesses run by skilled tradesmen.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-14 05:10:42.260583+00 by: Dan Lyke

Full text on Mike Rowe's site http://www.mikeroweworks.com/2...ike-rowes-oral-testimony-to-the- senate-commerce-committee/

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-13 20:57:58.401003+00 by: ebradway

meuon: That job is too dirty, even for Mike Rowe!

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-13 17:08:06.704716+00 by: meuon

Mike Rowe for President,

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-13 16:04:08.287088+00 by: petronius

At least around my neck of the woods, the skilled craftsmen mostly are East European immigrants, the archtypal "Polish Plumber" of British media fame. The managers of the high-rises in my neighborhood have lists numbers for these guys. Some of them are not officially licensed, and when they need a new helper they send back to East Kishniak for their nephew Pyotr. For ditch diggers and muscle work, they get Mexicans. What is interesting is that there is obviously a market for skilled craftsmen, but the reliability factor starts to come in. What I'm always afraid of is Pyotr and Pavel doing a bad job and disappearing, hence the popularity of services like "Angie's List".