Mike Rowe

Former Dirty Jobs host and current star of CNN’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It Mike Rowe is not only active in posting to his Facebook page, he’s unsurprisingly a big proponent of supporting trade jobs, particularly through his foundation mikeroweWORKS.

Sunday, Rowe combined these two traits of his to respond to a letter he received from (fan?) Craig P.

“Your constant harping on ‘work ethic’ is growing tiresome,” wrote Craig, criticizing Rowe for overlooking unemployed individuals who want to work but don’t have the resources. “How can you expect someone with no role model to qualify for one of your scholarships or sign your silly ‘Sweat Pledge’? Rather than accusing people of not having a work-ethic, why not drop the right-wing propaganda and help them develop one?”

Rowe responded to the note on a point-by-point basis, but first setting the record of his personal opinion straight: “For the record, I don’t believe all poor people are lazy, any more than I believe all rich people are greedy. But I can understand why so many do,” he began.

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Rowe goes on to point out the increasingly critical divide between liberal and conservative politicians and the way the unemployment problem is covered by the media, before explaining exactly why he started mikeroweWorks. He wanted to “shine a light on a few million good jobs that no one seems excited about. But mostly, I wanted to remind people that real opportunity still exists for those individuals who are willing to work hard, learn a skill, and make a persuasive case for themselves.”

He eventually gets to the crux of his efforts, explaining that even though he has met many people in his travels who are hard-working, he knows that most people “would prefer NOT to work,” and has heard from hiring managers about the problems of finding good help. “We’re churning out a generation of poorly educated people with no skill, no ambition, no guidance, and no realistic expectations of what it means to go to work,” he writes, asking Craig how he would like him to help these people.

“Do you really want me to stop rewarding individual work ethic, just because I don’t have the resources to assist those who don’t have any,” Rowe asks. “That doesn’t mean I have no empathy for those less motivated. It just means I’m more inclined to subsidize the cost of training for those who are.”

It may not be the answer Craig was looking for, but at least Rowe offered to send him an autograph!

Read Mike Rowe’s whole letter here.

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