Mike Rowe makes a living doing dirty jobs. As host of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," he gets paid to spend time with people who do the jobs that make it possible for the rest of us to live comfortable lives — the people who clean out the septic tanks, pave the roads, pluck the geese, and farm the spiders. He's great at his job, and you can tell that he has a deep respect for the people he profiles.

He showed how deep that respect is when he testified in front of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee last month in support of putting a greater emphasis on fostering skilled laborers. It's a sad fact that current U.S. educational policy neglects skilled labor education, something that's starting to bite us in the form of shortages in plumbers, electricians, welders and other skilled craftsmen.

Rowe thinks that we need a big campaign to stress the importance of skilled laborers. We need high schools to reinstate vocational arts programs and for society as a whole to reevaluate the value we place on the people who fix, make, and tweak the things that make life work.

Rowe is a great spokesman; I hope the senators took his words to heart.

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Mike Rowe on the importance of skilled labor
Mike Rowe, host of 'Dirty Jobs,' recently told Congress why we need to do a better job nurturing skilled laborers.