The man behind the hit TV show “Dirty Jobs” is in KELOLAND promoting the importance of technical education. Mike Rowe is making several stops during his time in South Dakota including a visit to Midwest Railcar Repair in Brandon.
Dozens of workers at a railcar repair company in Brandon are lining up to meet producer and popular TV show host Mike Rowe. Rowe is passionate about closing the skills gap in the country.
“My foundation and your efforts in this state share a lot of space on the old Venn diagram. I think if we make a more persuasive case for the opportunities that exist, the skills gap will start to close and hopefully the outrageous cost of tuition will start to come down,” Rowe said.
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation has granted more than $5 million in technical and vocational education. Here in South Dakota, the Build Dakota Scholarship funds 300 full scholarships every year in industries such as healthcare, construction, plumbing and welding.
“These two-year technical degrees that offer a skill that’s in demand today, that’s a very valid pathway to success. It doesn’t mean that when you graduate with that two-year degree and you start in a job in a certain area, that’s the end to your career. It just means you have an entry ticket to a real job that pays well and then the sky’s the limit from there,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said.
Workers in these fields are always needed. At Midwest Railcar Repair, they would hire 15 welders right now.
Making the public aware of those jobs is the point behind Rowe’s visit.
“At my foundation right now, we have a lot of people who are working debt-free making six figures that nobody knows about and nobody talks about because what our country aspires to vocationally doesn’t look like the opportunities that are actually present,” Rowe said.
Rowe and the Governor are also making stops at technical institutes in Sioux Falls and Watertown as part of the “New Day in Tech Ed” event.