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"Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe unveils anti-college scholarship program

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Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" has a new passion, encouraging teenagers to rethink college and their career paths. He's challenging the old notion that teens should "work smart, not work hard," saying that hard work is more important than ever today.

Rowe says: "We’re Lending Money We Don’t Have, To Students Who Can’t Pay It Back, To Educate Them For Jobs That No Longer Exist. That’s Nuts.”

While Rowe is not discouraging college as a career path, he is speaking out against the accepted practices of accruing lots of major debt to go to college and the notion that college is the only good career path.

Rowe's website, Profoundly Disconnected says:

A trillion dollars in student loans. Record high unemployment. Three million good jobs that no one seems to want. The goal of Profoundly Disconnected is to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. The Skills Gap is here, and if we don’t close it, it’ll swallow us all.

The new scholarship program, The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, is offering scholarships for kids who show that they are hard workers. The scholarships aren't for a college education, though. Trade schools are partnering with the foundation, including Midwest Technical Institute, Delta Technical College and Tulsa Welding School.

That's not the only way the scholarships are different. At mikeroweWorks, aid is primarily awarded to students who demonstrate a solid work ethic, not merely financial need or academic or athletic merit.

The foundation says:

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is concerned with promoting hard work and supporting the skilled trades in a variety of areas. Primarily, we award scholarships to young men and women who have illustrated both an interest and an aptitude around mastering a specific trade. Qualified candidates include those students who want to advance their education through an accredited trade school or apprenticeship program, exhibit high work ethic and need financial assistance.

Rowe points out that of the roughly three million jobs that companies are struggling to fill, only 8 to 12 percent require a college degree.

mikeroweWORKS also requires that its scholarship applicants take “The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge” (Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo), which includes twelve tenets such as:

  • I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.
  • I do not “follow my passion.” I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.
  • I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.
  • I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.
  • I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.

Visit Profoundly Disconnected for more information, scholarship applications or to buy Rowe's CRAP (Collectibles, Rare and Precious) and help support the foundation.

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