Television host Mike Rowe has been an advocate for blue-collar workers who have kept this country running. He explains that opportunities have never been better for anyone willing to work and willing to learn a skill in demand.
Unfortunately, we have seven million men (ages 25-54) who not only are not working but are not looking for work. Economist Nicholas Eberstadt refers to that in a recent Washington Post op-ed as the “flight from work.” The US currently has 11 million unfilled jobs. Businesses in every sector nationwide are desperate for workers, including positions that do not require high school diplomas.
Mike Rowe has provided more than a thousand scholarships to young people through his mikeroweWORKS foundation. They get trained for skills that are in demand (welders, steam fitters, pipe fitters, mechanics). None require a four-year degree. He says there has never been a greater need for skilled workers like right now. “If you are inclined to think that way and work that way,” he explains, “the world is your oyster.” Unfortunately, if you are not and are a man, “you are probably sitting home spending 2,000 hours sitting in front of a screen.”
A recent Fox News Poll asked this open-ended question: “What message would you send to government?” A majority (52%) said “lend me a hand.” The only other time a majority said that was during the pandemic. But we are two years past the pandemic and lockdowns.
Mike Rowe argues that two things could be true at the same time. First, there are people who need a hand who are well intended and willing to work. Second, many others have been given a hand and have done nothing with what they have been given.
I’m always willing to give someone a “hand up” to better themselves. But I think it is time to question whether we should be giving a “hand out” to millions who won’t work.