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October 30th, 2013
10:25 PM ET

Mike Rowe on what's needed to revive the economy: "A willingness to learn a new skill and a willingness to work your butt off"

On Wednesday evening Piers Morgan welcomed Mike Rowe for a live, face to face conversation that largely focused on the health of the American economy, in particular a challenging job market.

While Rowe doesn't discount the well-documented concerns of job-seekers, he's quick to offer an alternate perspective:

"There's a skills gap. There are about three and a half million jobs available right now. Ten percent of those jobs require a four year degree or better," explained the host of the Discovery Channel series "Dirty Jobs." "That means about 90 percent of them require something else. They require training, they require skill, a willingness to get dirty, perhaps, but mostly, a willingness to learn a new and useful trade. That's always been for sale, but it's kind of fallen out of the narrative."

For a man whose professional background includes stints in the Baltimore Opera and as a host on QVC, to key success in a stagnant economy is to refocus one's perspective:

"You can't keep talking about the expectations in the same sense or in the same way that we always have. You really have to step back and see what are the available jobs right now, and what do you have to do," said the 51-year-old California resident. "I talk every day to - we're in business with a couple of trade schools. We've been working on a scholarship program specifically to reward these two things: a willingness to learn a new skill and a willingness to work your butt off. It's difficult to reward work ethic, but work ethic scholarships are coming."

Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with Rowe, and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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Filed under: In the Chair
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Susan

    My two boys age 25 & 30 both went to a technical university instead of the four year college route. They are both highly successful in their field and earn a great living! Thank you Mike Rowe for making a lot of sense! Yes, I'm one proud mother! Many of their friends tried the "expected" choice, failed, and struggle to find work.

    October 31, 2013 at 12:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Cheryl PETERSEN

    Interesting no one addresses the 11 million people that will have insurance through Obama care

    October 31, 2013 at 12:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Cheryl PETERSEN

    Good for mike work ethic is so important

    October 31, 2013 at 12:37 am | Report abuse | Reply

    m sorry but it works in france the heath security and social help for anybody follow our model

    October 31, 2013 at 7:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Samuel Johnson

    Why would young people care to work when the government will send you cell phones, food stamps and unemployment benefits and NOW cheap healthcare. Only in America would you see such abuse.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. FinanceQA

    Mikes statements reflect a changing market here in the United States. Our jobs are becoming more skilled labor. I think we have the work force to handle it.

    October 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jennifer Bailey

    While Mike makes a valid point I have a few questions for him. 1) how can the middle class send their kids to college for "four or more years" when the Republicans have made it far to expensive with raising interest rtes on school loans and wanting to end federal grants? 2) vocational training has been taken out of most high schools. Would you not agree that they need to be brought back and kids be given the equivalent of a 2yr certification to apply to a trade school: Carpentry, welding, electrician....? 3) do you realize how many jobs would be available if the greedy corporations kept manufacturing and technical jobs here? The list goes on but I would say to you, that the GOP won't even pass The Jobs Bill and does nothing to help the middle class and our active military or veterans. They talked JOBS,JOBS, JOBS and all they've done is help their rich cronies, obstruct job making bills, make higher education unaffordable for everyone BUT their rich supporters! Why don't you look at THOSE facts and ask the GOP to get off their collective derrières, help create jobs and quit jeopardizing the future of the American people! Btw, people WILL work their butt off, Mike, if paid a fair living wage and have affordable healthcare. Getting their hands dirty isn't the problem. Being paid minimum wage with no HC IS the problem!

    October 31, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Davis

      Oh look, another "it's all the greedy corporations/GOP/anyone other than the Democrats' fault" argument. Why wouldn't a corporation move their jobs overseas when unions in America demand outrageous wages and benefits for menial tasks and unskilled labor? You claim you want jobs but then turn around and angrily oppose Right To Work states that make it hospitable for corporations (both American and International) to move their facilities here.

      November 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. orangeeye13

    how about you finally come will be backed by millions of real people!...Your attack on guns is "scripted" know and understand that criminal will go on a frenzy knowing that we are all disarmed citizens in the wake of a Feinstein Bill!!!!" are a person and you can still have the courage to come clean to real society!...Stop the personal madness!!!! COME CLEAN!!!!...just like Geraldo did,,sort of!..

    November 3, 2013 at 4:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Tony

    Jennifer Bailey...just FYI, Mike actually saw and answered your questions in two parts on his FaceBook page here:

    November 4, 2013 at 8:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. iris mathers

    Not one comment about the disgusting remarks made by Beck and Rowe in the clip you played, They obviously thought it amusing to have special schools for people they described as the being the R. word. I'm a big fan Piers but keep Beck of the show!!!!!!

    November 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Ziggy

    Tell this phoney a$$wipe to take off the ball cap and take a long walk off a short pier. Just another Ayn Randian moron masquerading as a "working man."

    November 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    Didn't everyone hear???Mike Rowe has a new's called "The dirtiest jobs in China'..heard he's doing great over love him...haha..
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    February 12, 2014 at 11:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
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    thank god show was taken off air best thing herd all day dosent pay to work when 40 plus percent is taken out in taxes job sdont pay what they used to ect so tax me more to work less or get on the dole ,,,,,mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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