American television host Mike Rowe said Tuesday that the effects of the coronavirus emergency could radically alter how Americans perceive the skilled trade industry.
Rowe said this while appearing on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
“I think if you’re looking for a silver lining in all of this, in my own foundation our prime directive over the past 10 years has been to affirmatively confront and debunk the stigmas and stereotypes and myths and misperceptions that dissuade people from pursuing a career in the trades. When we come through the other end of this thing, the need for skilled tradespeople in this country, I believe, is going to be at an all-time high. That is basically good news for the middle class. If we can somehow level the playing field by the way in which we present opportunities to kids, middle class kids in particular, I think we might see real success in not only closing the skills gap but getting people on a path to a six-figure job that doesn’t require a big, giant college debt,” Rowe said.
“And that’s the other thing that is inextricably linked to work, of course. It is education. And you and I have talked about this before, but the amount of money that we’re paying to go to a good school in 2020 is somewhere between cataclysmic and obscene. We have $1.6 trillion of student loans on the books right now, and I think if we stay hunkered down for another few weeks or so people are really going to become inculcated with this business of go-to-meeting and zooming and learning online.”
“This wasn’t around when you and I went to school, but here it is,” Rowe said as he help up a smartphone. “Ninety-eight percent of all the known information in the world is accessible on the screen I’m looking at right now and is the screen that most of your viewers are walking around with right now in their pockets.”
“We might be able to revolutionize the educational system. And at the same time we might be able to close the skills gap, making a more persuasive case for 7.3 million open positions. Of course that number will change somewhat dramatically.”
Carlson, meanwhile, said the coronavirus is likely “the single greatest blow to the American middle class ever in our lifetimes.”
“Any strategy to address the virus that doesn’t acknowledge that will leave the country worse off than it was before,” Carlson said.
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