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Man At Work
Townhall.com ^ | March 2, 2014 | Leah Barkoukis

Posted on 03/02/2014 1:09:56 PM PST by Kaslin

America has a problem.

“We’re lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back, to educate them for jobs that no longer exist,” Mike Rowe of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation explains.

Although the country has become ‘profoundly disconnected,’ Rowe is doing his part to change that—and it all started while he was hosting the Discovery Channel’s hit series, “Dirty Jobs.”

The show was, at its core, a celebration of people who do the kinds of jobs that make civilization work. But it wasn’t until the economy crashed in 2008 that the series became relevant in ways neither Discovery nor Rowe could ever have imagined. Suddenly jobs and manufacturing, infrastructure and the skills gap were at the top of the headlines, and the “Dirty Jobs” perspective became highly sought after.

 photo 28b56fd8-fa76-41b6-b3ed-0a1426a9dc00_zps359a055c.jpg

Mike Rowe pictured with the 187th Battalion at Fort Jackson, S.C. at their Wheeled Vehicle Recovery School during the 100th “Dirty Jobs” special, “U.S. Army Mechanic.” Photo courtesy of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation.

At the same time, after nearly four years of production, Rowe admitted he was growing a little tired of always promoting “Dirty Jobs” through the lens of exploding toilets and misadventures in animal husbandry.

“It was a big part of the show and I love all that stuff … but I just thought, you know, I’m not gonna promote “Dirty Jobs” anymore without affirmatively talking about some of the things I’ve heard on the show from business owners over the years,” he tells Townhall.

But what he heard from business owners all over the U.S. conflicted with the headlines.

“There were still lots and lots of business owners who were desperate to find people willing to learn a trade and work, but they were getting zero press because that reality conflicted with rising unemployment,” he says. “So the skills gap was getting wider and wider and wider, but it was getting almost no attention.”

That’s when Rowe considered doing something to bring attention to the jobs that no one celebrates—the jobs that actually exist.

In 2008 mikeroweWORKS began as an online Trade Resource Center focused on educational opportunities that don’t necessarily involve a four-year degree (or debt). Information about trade schools, apprenticeships, financial aid, scholar- ships, and on-the-job training opportunities can be found on the site, which is broken down by state. Today, the nonprofit foundation has expanded its mission and is dedicated to helping close the nation’s skills gap by promoting hard work and supporting the skilled trades.

“I wanted to be able to point to an actual, tangible thing and say, ‘Look, don’t tell me that 14 million people who are unemployed are unemployed because there are 14 million too few jobs. It’s not that simple. And here are the jobs I’m talking about and they’re available right now, and all you have to do to get one is learn a trade and go to work,’” he says.

The foundation is putting its money where its mouth is by helping set young men and women on a track to fill the available jobs in America. This is done primarily through awarding scholarships to students who have a financial need, want to learn a useful skill, and are willing to work their tails off.

Most recently, the foundation, in conjunction with a handful of qualified technical schools, such as Tulsa Welding School and Midwest Technical Institute, created more than $1.6 million in education scholarships, according to Mary Sullivan, president of mikeroweWORKS. To receive a “work ethic scholarship,” students have to submit a video making a case for themselves, and the public then votes on who gets the money. Applicants even have to sign The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge (Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo). After all, the foundation is more than a scholarship fund; it’s also a PR campaign for the skilled trades, hard work, and ‘alternative’ education.

But closing the nation’s skills gap also requires understanding how we’ve arrived at a point where, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 4 million available jobs that companies can’t fill.

Rowe believes the skills gap is simply a reflection of what Americans have come to value. It’s no coincidence that the “4-Hour Work Week” was the best- selling book for four years, he says, or that “American Idol” is one of the highest rated TV shows ever.

“It’s not just that it celebrates fame and success, it’s that it celebrates them in a way that creates the idea that you can have them overnight. And so the expectations of what work was, and is, started to change.”

Culturally, he says, we’ve influenced those changes as a society. “Portrayals of many really important positions became one dimensional and kind of hyperbolic,” Rowe explains. “If there’s a plumber on TV he’s gonna be 300 pounds with a giant butt crack, right?

“So all these stigmas, all these stereotypes, combined with all the assumptions of what a good job was versus a bad job, combined with the fact that, exponentially, we want our kids to have it better than we do, combined with the fact that the four-year degree becomes, in many people’s mind, not just the best way,” Rowe continued, “but the only way to have a viable shot at a prosperous living, combined with a trillion [dollars] in student loans, combined with the way shop classes have been systematically removed from high schools across the country—you put all of that together … it’s [the skills gap] not a mystery at all.”

There is no simple solution, of course but Rowe believes change begins with a conversation. “The way to start talking about the problem in a sensible fashion is … to start with what you think a good and worthwhile job looks like. And are you able, as an individual, to look at a job and see a stepping-stone, or do you look at it and assume or expect it to meet all of your needs?” he says, pointing to the unionization of fast food workers as an example.

“Dirty Jobs” and the foundation were important first steps to get the conversation started, and the PR campaign Profoundly Disconnected, which is a partnership between mikeroweWORKS and Caterpillar, is the next phase. Its goal is to challenge the prevailing belief that a four-year degree is the best path for the most people, especially considering many of the career opportunities out there today require a skill, not a diploma. While Rowe is challenging the four-year degree, he’s not challenging college or education, just debt.

“Typically, what I can do is go out and tell [young people] the truth in an unvarnished way,” he says. “I can talk very specifically about dozens of people I know who have taken jobs that, typically, most people go out of their way to avoid, and bend them into opportunities that not only pay the bills, but are allowing them to thrive.”

 photo resized_zps3f872383.png

Mike Rowe poses with some of the foundation's scholarship recipients at the June 2013 SkillsUSA National Conference in Kansas City. Photo courtesy of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation.

Overall, the campaign has done really well, he says. “Anytime you get a phone call from Bill Maher and Glenn Beck in the same day … there’s something there … both sides of the aisle understand the danger of becoming fundamentally disconnected.”

And as for the foundation as a whole, they’ll never be able to meet the need, he explains, but they have impacted hundreds who may not otherwise have been reached.

Last year alone, for example, 118 individuals were awarded scholarships through the $250,000 National Educational Scholarship Fund, a partnership with Scholarship America, to help students finish their course of study in a skilled trade.

Additionally, the foundation has granted 120 students travel scholarships to compete in SkillsUSA’s national conference, which brings together gold medal winners from each state to compete in one of more than 90 skills, according to Sullivan. Other educational and travel scholarships are in the works for 2014 and information can be found at MikeRoweWorks.com/home.

“I try not to look at the foundation any further than the next person it might be able to affect,” he says. And that’s really what mikeroweWORKS was always meant to be—a small effort that hopefully would lead to big changes.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mikerowe; mikeroweworks; skilledworkers

1 posted on 03/02/2014 1:09:56 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Young people today.......Learn a trade. Go to a good trade school and become a plumber or a mechanic or a carpenter. You will be out of school faster, spend less money and in the end you could make good cash.


2 posted on 03/02/2014 1:14:10 PM PST by Yorlik803 ( Church/Caboose in 2016)
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To: Yorlik803

Or stay at home, smoke weed, watch TV and make the same money. That’s the choice people have today. Is there any wonder that trade jobs go unfilled?


3 posted on 03/02/2014 1:18:06 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Kaslin
a couple points my dear kaslin:

1) don't listen to women.

I can't stress this enough. Women wouldn't know how to build a functioning outhouse.

2) Learn a trade; a skill.

3) Master that skill.

4)Period.

One other thing; ignore women.

4 posted on 03/02/2014 1:19:51 PM PST by Pietro
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To: Yorlik803

Not a carpenter; they don’t have service calls. HVAC or electric, plumbing.


5 posted on 03/02/2014 1:20:00 PM PST by steve8714
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To: Straight Vermonter

I’d love to see a snarky YT vid “a day in the life of Julia and Pajama Boy”.

Suspect it could be an awesome hit job on the entitlement army.


6 posted on 03/02/2014 1:25:24 PM PST by nascarnation (I'm hiring Jack Palladino to investigate Baraq's golf scores.)
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To: Pietro
One other point; after a discussion w/ my wife:

Ignore what women say to you or

Again I can't strees this enough

you'll go nuts...............

7 posted on 03/02/2014 1:26:01 PM PST by Pietro
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To: Pietro

Yeah and I wished they let women especially housewives design kitchen cabinets


8 posted on 03/02/2014 1:34:00 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
I thought this was going to be a thread about Putin.

5.56mm

9 posted on 03/02/2014 1:35:10 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: Kaslin
Yeah, but that money's being laundered through to the education cartel (University profs, teachers' unions, Dept. of Education, bloated admin of school districts, common core proponents and all those sucking off that gubmint teat) as payback for filling the skulls-a-mush (present leftist and future voters) with socialist ideas and fervor.

It'll only stop when the real backlash takes hold.

HF

10 posted on 03/02/2014 1:38:22 PM PST by holden
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To: Yorlik803

When I was looking for a job, I went into a few places that do glass work, and carpentry. They all said I had to be part of the local union , so I left.


11 posted on 03/02/2014 1:38:48 PM PST by FreedomStar3028 (Evil must be punished.)
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To: steve8714

“Not a carpenter;”
I started working as a carpenter’s apprentice during my Summer vacations, at the age of 15. My Dad hired about 30 carpenters every year, so he greased somebody’s palm and I got in the union. After hammering away for three days as a framer, I got tremendous satisfaction from looking at the home we’d just built! Probably my most favorite job. Went on to be a one man home and condo maintenance com pay, doing everything. Plumbing and electric got me 40 to 60 bucks an hour, depending on the job. Drywall repair? Ha! I can’t begin to say how many thousands and though sands of bucks I pulled in just at McIntosh Farms. Shoddy construction equals roof leaks. Painting condos? Great money from insurance companies. Doing those jobs enabled me to keep working in my real chosen field, music.


12 posted on 03/02/2014 1:42:57 PM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Kaslin
Kitchen cabinets are simple; I built ours, but I ignored advise............

I know my position is radical and yet you know

Look man, I didn't make this up, it just is.

13 posted on 03/02/2014 1:49:02 PM PST by Pietro
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To: Straight Vermonter

Yeah but that skill will stay with them their lifetime, the gubmit handout is going to end, one way or another.


14 posted on 03/02/2014 1:50:49 PM PST by X-spurt (CRUZ missile - armed and ready.)
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To: Pietro

fyi, Kaslin is female


15 posted on 03/02/2014 1:56:04 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Kaslin
I buy younz books:

You rip out the pages.

16 posted on 03/02/2014 1:56:11 PM PST by Pietro
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To: yldstrk

nevertheless


17 posted on 03/02/2014 1:58:16 PM PST by Pietro
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To: Pietro

and so am I


18 posted on 03/02/2014 1:59:27 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Kaslin

There is an entire INDUSTRY dedicated to the furtherance of this situation. It is the EDUCATION industry which obtains its money by hypnotizing the youth of today with the never-ending slogan, “You MUST go to College.”
The nation is overrun with degree holding young people who are capable of nothing needed by this country. In fact, on the opening day of the new school year, there are NO jobs in all to many of these fields , and there are none when you fresh faced graduate tries to enter the world.
Meanwhile, in technical, vocational high schools across the nation, work ready high school seniors are actually sought after and recruited by anxious employers.
Me, I am a 79 year old watchmaker, semi-retired and working “ONLY” 50 hour weeks and I wish I was not alone. I have my trade, but I’m sure lonely.Without the guy holding the “dirty job” this society we enjoy would come to a screeching halt.


19 posted on 03/02/2014 2:00:23 PM PST by CaptainAmiigaf (NY TIMES: We print the news as it fits our views.)
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To: yldstrk

nevertheless


20 posted on 03/02/2014 2:07:22 PM PST by Pietro
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To: CaptainAmiigaf

Me, I am a 79 year old watchmaker, semi-retired and working “ONLY” 50 hour weeks and I wish I was not alone. I have my trade, but I’m sure lonely.Without the guy holding the “dirty job” this society we enjoy would come to a screeching halt.

_____________

do you fix clocks?


21 posted on 03/02/2014 2:08:49 PM PST by Chickensoup (leftist totalitarian fascism is on the move.)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
My grand dad said you have two thing you can do well and not related.

If my grandson has the math skills I point him toward being a Machinist, CNC type, and another trade.

22 posted on 03/02/2014 2:11:37 PM PST by Little Bill
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To: yldstrk; Pietro; Kaslin

Hahahaha!

That whole soliloquy by Pietro and the response by yldstrk is an example of one of the great joys of FR: a display of hard-edged wit with perhaps some truth provided by and for everybody.

“nevertheless”

“and so am I”

hahahahaha!


23 posted on 03/02/2014 2:11:40 PM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: Kaslin
Good article .. excellent advice and initiative from MR.

Yeah and I wished they let women especially housewives design kitchen cabinets

So, design 'em .. just don't forget the joinery details, as things tend not to work/last otherwise.

Oh, and hardwood @ < 1/32" tolerances.


(and keep yer fingers outta that blurry/spinny round thing)

24 posted on 03/02/2014 2:15:31 PM PST by tomkat (big sticks/little sticks x 30yrs)
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To: Kaslin

Got multiple degrees & use the knowledge in a well-paying job. Still, between Shop classes and helping my Dad renovate our old house I learned another whole class of skills that continue to pay off. I may take longer than the pros, but I can do wiring that doesn’t burn the house down (and is better than the pro stuff it replaced) and plumbing and carpentry and sheetrock work etc. It feels good to do something tangible too.


25 posted on 03/02/2014 2:19:37 PM PST by Glenmore
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To: CaptainAmiigaf
Absolute, unmitigated, 100% agreement.
26 posted on 03/02/2014 2:19:58 PM PST by tomkat (3%+1)
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To: CaptainAmiigaf

Me, I am a 79 year old watchmaker, semi-retired and working “ONLY” 50 hour weeks and I wish I was not alone.
= = = = = = = = = = = = =
Likewise, though ‘only’ 74.

One of my ‘quips’ is “It sure is good to see people in their mid 70’s being able to work on a daily basis. The ‘problem’ is if they HAVE to work in their mid 70’s”.

My eldest grandson had his life course set by wanting to go to a 4 year Electrician School.

Was on his way to work at 6AM couple weeks after graduation and some clown ran a light and T-Boned him.
Finally recuperating enough so he can get back on track but he sure was ‘down’ for awhile, as he was laid up and UNABLE to work at anything. With his ‘mood swings’ during his laid up period, I was afraid he was getting ‘bad habits’.

Good kid, played sports, worked after school, weekends and summers, graduated on time and had(has) a goal.

I don’t really believe in law suits but feel he should be compensated for his ‘lost time’, mainly because the woman that hit him was not only wrong, but tried to tell the cops he was drunk and ran the light. Thankfully, one of those ‘pesky’ cameras on a local business picked up the entire incident.

Funny though - but probably correct for the times - EVERYONE assumed he was ‘heading home’ from a party...It was close enough to his home that my daughter etal were on the scene in a short time.


27 posted on 03/02/2014 2:26:07 PM PST by xrmusn (6/98 --In CNNs (feeble) mind, EVERYONE that doesnt ask for more Kool-Aid is bullying BO)
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To: Fightin Whitey
Ahh, but that's only the tip

Of the iceberg, so to speak

The question here, if I understand it, is how how does a young man find his way?

I say ignore women. And I'll stand by that.

A man needs to be about something, if he's not, he's nothing.

Once he is something he can enjoy the delights of women.

28 posted on 03/02/2014 2:29:08 PM PST by Pietro
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Less than $2.7k to go!!

Make Today, Day 61 the day!

29 posted on 03/02/2014 2:31:32 PM PST by RedMDer (May we always be happy and may our enemies always know it. - Sarah Palin, 10-18-2010)
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To: Pietro

That is an old-fashioned viewpoint, I would say, from an old-fashioned man—at least so I judge from your homepage and your posts.

I am not prepared to argue with you.

It is not how I have lived my life, certainly not my youth.

But I am not so proud of some of those days either.


30 posted on 03/02/2014 2:53:30 PM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: Kaslin

“It’s not just that it celebrates fame and success, it’s that it celebrates them in a way that creates the idea that you can have them overnight. And so the expectations of what work was, and is, started to change.”

This is not true even of high-paying white-collar jobs. Anyone who wants to be successful in medicine, business, accounting, law, or information technology has to spend a lot of time working and learning. The guys who are successful as managers in large corporations come in at 8 AM and leave at 7 PM, and have been grinding away at it for years.


31 posted on 03/02/2014 2:58:52 PM PST by proxy_user
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To: X-spurt
the gubmit handout is going to end, one way or another.

Why? It never has before.

32 posted on 03/02/2014 3:07:13 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Kaslin; All

I work with some grads of Tulsa Welding School. They make 90k, +-. Ours is a stable job with no travel involved.

Those that get a degree from TWS and are willing to travel can make up to 100k-125k AND take off summers and winters. If you’re willing to work year round, the sky’s the limit.


33 posted on 03/02/2014 3:22:40 PM PST by mozarky2 (Ya never stand so tall as when ya stoop to stomp a statist...)
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To: Pietro
"Ignore women"

<insert gif of Orson Welles clapping, here>

34 posted on 03/02/2014 3:47:41 PM PST by Rodamala
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To: Pietro

Can I add to that even though I’m female?

1) If your girlfriend talks about being a stay at home mother, minus having a job/career before marriage, run away.

2) If your girlfriend is someone who thinks members of the working class are beneath her idea of a good husband, run away from her.

3) If she isn’t getting a husband by the time she is in her mid-twenties, her main plan is to be a stay at home mother, run away. Any woman who wants ‘just’ a husband and kids is waiting too long, she’s a user/gold-digger and someone who just wants a new lease on her adolescence.

4) If she doesn’t have a bank account and savings of her own, while living on her own and running her own functioning household, just run away screaming. NEVER let her move in with you. Make sure she can stand on her own two feet.

5) Marry someone on your level; someone wanting ot marry up is a user plain and simple.


35 posted on 03/02/2014 3:55:30 PM PST by CorporateStepsister (I am NOT going to force a man to make my dreams come true)
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To: Fightin Whitey
WTF????????

Look man, sure I'm old fashioned, I'm over 50 yrs old for pete's sake, but don't that mean something too? I'm anti-pc, I hate that crap, I hate what feminists are doing to our young men. Say no more.

I have a daughter. She's asking me where are the men?

Speak English for the love of God.

If you're a young man take this advise; ignore what women say. They'll tell you what to be and then hate you for being that.

They love what they hate and hate what they want. It's a feminine thing.

Learn a craft; be a master.

Ignore everthing else.

36 posted on 03/02/2014 4:06:38 PM PST by Pietro
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To: Rodamala
I detect sarcasm w/ a whiff of truck envy.

Do you own a truck?

37 posted on 03/02/2014 4:18:13 PM PST by Pietro
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To: Pietro
I only speak English because if I spoke construction I'd be banned from polite society.

Lord knows its touch and go as it is.

38 posted on 03/02/2014 4:39:44 PM PST by Pietro
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To: Chickensoup

Very Sorry but NO. Even at age 12, I was stubborn and wouldn’t fix anything BIG. The ONLY clock I ever fixed belonged to my grandmother. Without the chiming she and grandpa couldn’t sleep...too quiet.
The deal was-—No running clock meant NO MORE grandma’s cooking..ever. The clock was fixed before supper.


39 posted on 03/02/2014 5:25:05 PM PST by CaptainAmiigaf (NY TIMES: We print the news as it fits our views.)
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To: Pietro
No Sarc... and no Truck Envy... Funny you mention it, though... yesterday I sent this text and picture to my brother and father:

Subject: Dear RAM Owner...

Dear RAM owner that has the Blue RAM 1500
"Altitude" package truck with the 6" lift kit and
5.7L Hemi,

I tried to take a picture of your big ass truck with
the 4' long bed in the parking lot at the Bi-Lo today.
Unfortunately, the FULL SIZE BED on my DIESEL 2500
got in the way of the picture.

Warmest Regards,
[Rodamala]

p.s. Have a nice day.


40 posted on 03/02/2014 7:30:45 PM PST by Rodamala
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To: CaptainAmiigaf

What a great story! I bet her cooking was GOOD!


41 posted on 03/02/2014 7:57:31 PM PST by Chickensoup (leftist totalitarian fascism is on the move.)
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To: tomkat
I must say, I take exception to your swipe at women not being able to discern between kitchen cabinets. When I needed kitchen cabinets, I looked for plywood box construction, dovetail joints and well-matched solid oak raised panel fronts. The joinery on the ones I purchased was exquisite, which is why they ended up in my kitchen. The roll-out shelves (featuring Accuride drawer slides) are a treat as well. They are truly premium cabinets.

I've been designing and building things since I'm a kid, although I didn't build my kitchen cabinets. But I sure knew what to look for. Don't disparage the design and building talents of women

42 posted on 03/02/2014 9:58:37 PM PST by EinNYC
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To: Straight Vermonter

Never say never.


43 posted on 03/02/2014 10:35:59 PM PST by X-spurt (CRUZ missile - armed and ready.)
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To: yldstrk; Kaslin

No sh!t?

Now I know.


44 posted on 03/02/2014 10:43:19 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: Jet Jaguar

as your far side cartoon says...................


45 posted on 03/03/2014 4:16:22 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Kaslin

——skills gap——

The piece fails to mention the real problem. The real problem is not school or college or training. The primary problem is motivation. Work is a drag.

To get the training or trade school involves being motivated to get up every day and go. The motivation includes no drugs or alcohol in the drug test. The cost of weeding out those who aren’t reliable or that do drugs is enormous.

This is essentially testimony I have received from those that hire workers some times known as blue collar workers.


46 posted on 03/03/2014 4:26:35 AM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... History is a process, not an event)
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To: EinNYC
Tho I believe you read 'sinister' where none was intended,
  it's good to hear that you found a set that suits, and that you're pleased .. cheers.
47 posted on 03/03/2014 5:59:43 AM PST by tomkat (3%+1)
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