Profoundly Disconnected: Mike Rowe's Latest Campaign

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Last week celebrity Mike Rowe appeared on the television newsmagazine Inside Edition to promote his newest initiative: Profoundly Disconnected.  Mike Rowe is known as the host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, and also for his efforts to promote careers in the skilled trades through his non-profit organization mikeroweWORKS.  The mikeroweWORKS Foundation supports careers in skilled trades through scholarships, community colleges and trade schools, and initiatives which recruit and support the industry.  Profoundly Disconnected is part of that effort to raise awareness as well as scholarship funding to advance young people in skilled trades.

This latest effort began when Rowe recalled seeing a poster when he was in high school which depicted a confident and happy young man wearing a graduation cap and gown while holding a diploma contrasted with a very dirty and dejected man wearing work coveralls while holding a wrench.  The caption on the poster read “Work Smart NOT Hard”.   The poster was obviously created as part of a college recruitment campaign; however, that kind of advice has led to the workforce crisis the United States is now facing.  Construction companies cannot find enough skilled craftsmen to complete the jobs they build, and thousands of college graduates face unemployment or underemployment just as their student loans are coming due.

Rowe decided to create his own updated version of the poster.  Using the caption “Work Smart AND Hard”, his team created a new side-by-side image of a defeated looking graduate (played by Rowe himself) next to a confident young man in work clothes holding a computer.  On the Profoundly Disconnected website, you can watch a 4-minute video about the re-creation of the original and creation of the new posters produced by MikeRoweWorks, Inc. in partnership with Caterpillar, Inc.  You may purchase a copy of the poster on the web site.  Proceeds benefit the mikeroweWORKS Foundation.

The Profoundly Disconnected web site also has some interesting and entertaining interviews presented in the form of an informal “talk show” in which Rowe has some fun with some of the people who worked on the creation of the posters.  He talks with the man who played the Dejected Worker in the recreation of the old poster, Tony Becker, who is an actor, but also a builder.  When Rowe asked Becker about the “disconnect” between the public perception of construction workers and the workers themselves, Becker shared an example of this from his own experience.  He recalled how once while he was working on the television series Tour of Duty, he overheard another customer in a bank lobby whisper about him, “Hey that’s the guy on that show”.  It made him feel proud.  Months later, he stopped into the bank to cash a check, sweaty and dirty from his job replacing a roof in the hot sun, and overheard a woman say “Oh! He should be ashamed of himself walking in here looking like that!"  He thought: “Wow, I deserve a lot more respect for what I did today, than for all that other stuff.”

This is exactly the attitude that Mike Rowe and the mikeroweWORKS Foundation appear to be trying to correct.  Careers in the skilled trades require hard work, but can also be very rewarding both from a financial and a job satisfaction point of view.  Be sure to spend some time on the web site for more information and fun.

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