As time passes, Americans are becoming less outwardly appreciative of blue-collar and gray-collar jobs, such as those in the trades, agriculture and elsewhere, “How America Works” host Mike Rowe said Friday, ahead of the new season of his Fox Business program.
On “Hannity,” host Sean Hannity cited his early work in restaurants and labor-centric jobs, saying many Americans don’t fully understand anymore what it takes to manufacture something or farm to a capacity that feeds the nation and world.
“There are two different things. Realization and appreciation,” responded Rowe, the host of “Deadliest Catch” and “Dirty Jobs.”
“Most of us have never really realized it, but we’ve always intuitively appreciate it. We know that when we flip the switch and the light comes on, that that’s the result of a miracle. And that miracle is made possible by men and women doing things out of sight and out of mind.”
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Rowe noted those two programs are at their core an attempt to “tap the country on the shoulder” to help it realize a “fundamental appreciation” for the underreported and often dangerous work they chronicle.
In Deadliest Catch’s case, dozens of boats depart remote Dutch Harbor in Unalaska, Alaska every winter to seek their fortunes in the crab fishery, in – as the title suggests – one of the most dangerous lines of work in the country.
“What I worry about is the overall lack of appreciation that has infected, in my view, our society over the last 30 or 40 years,” Rowe said, adding that forgetting the importance of such trades will lead to a list of unintended consequences “longer than my arm.”
Outside of television, Rowe is also the founder of MikeRoweWORKS in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, which seeks to help the next generation find meaningful work in blue collar jobs – which themselves have been in high demand for years as the public is often goaded toward college and white-collar work.
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“Pop culture has glorified the corner office job while unintentionally belittling the jobs that helped build the corner office,” MikeRoweWORKS says on its website.
Rowe later said the remote-work aspect of post-COVID America also brings new appreciation for telecom workers, who work round the clock to make sure fiberoptics and communication channels are sound.
“I think in a lot of ways, COVID gave us a wake-up call, but I’m afraid it did something else, too, honestly,” he said.
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“I’ll tell you what nobody’s talking about. No one is talking about the 7 million able-bodied men who are not only unemployed today, but who have affirmatively left the workforce.”
He went on to cite an economist who recently told him that statistic is one above all other economic indicators that should “scare the hell out of us” for the future if not addressed.
“If we don’t fix that, we’re on that part of the map where it says, ‘Here Be Dragons’ because we don’t know what’s coming next.”
The new season of “How America Works” premieres Monday night at 8 ET on Fox Business.