Mike Rowe Makes a Dent in the Skills Gap

I’m sure you know who Mike Rowe is…the guy with the incredible voice, the guy who has hosted the TV show “Dirty Jobs” for many years.  What you may not know is that Mike Rowe has been a tireless advocate of technical education, the trades, and the occupations that keep this country making and moving.  He clearly understands the fact that there are great jobs and great careers available for individuals with technical skills and simply not enough people to fill them.  This is commonly referred to as the “skills gap” in America.  I’ve attached a short video clip here that provides a snapshot of his advocacy.

Mike Rowe scholarship recipient Jonathan Block

Mike Rowe scholarship recipient Jonathan Block

I received an interesting call recently informing me that the Mike Rowe Works Foundation was going to award 40 scholarships to students from across the country who were pursuing a technical education and that one of those 40 recipients was FVTC student, Jonathan Block.  Turns out that Jon, from Birnamwood, WI, submitted an application for this scholarship seeking the financial support that would allow him to reach his goal of becoming a diesel technician.  We were asked to see what we could do to provide some amount of match to the $6,200 scholarship award from the MRW Foundation.  I’m pleased to share that the FVTC Foundation stepped forward with a $1,000 grant and our terrific partners at NAPA Auto Parts provided Jon with $1,800 in tools plus an awesome tool cabinet.

Gathered to commemorate the award were (left to right): Dan Poeschel, FVTC associate dean; Brett Chynoweth, NAPA; Jonathan Block, scholarship recipient; Lance Airis, NAPA; and Gary Skalski, Carlyle/NAPA.

Gathered to commemorate the award were (left to right): Dan Poeschel, FVTC associate dean; Brett Chynoweth, NAPA; Jonathan Block, scholarship recipient; Lance Airis, NAPA; and Gary Skalski, Carlyle/NAPA.

When all of this was presented to this very quiet and unassuming diesel tech student at a recent Board of Trustees meeting, Jon must have felt it was a little like Christmas.  I’m certain that he will make good use of his education, putting all of his new skills and tools to work right here in Wisconsin in the near future.  I know this is one student out of 40 nationally, but we’re going to need to fill the skills gap one person at a time and I applaud Mike Rowe’s passion, energy, and commitment to this challenge.  We at FVTC were delighted to be touched by Mike’s work and the opportunity to bring other partners together to support Jon’s educational goals.

What are your thoughts about ways to provide meaningful incentives for young people pursuing technical education, particularly in career fields that are in high demand?

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