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The Case of the Canadian and The Opera Singer

December 20, 2010

I admit, I watch to much television.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good book and have read several, but sometimes mindless television is nice to numb the brain. Well, that would work IF I didn’t start thinking about everything in terms of work, and labor, and education, and our region…you get the idea.

So, the Canadian:

Mike Holmes, star of “Holmes on Homes” on HGTV, a professional contractor that goes around repairing botched general contracting errors, often saving homeowners from certain disaster. While the show is entertaining and insightful enough, what lies behind the show is even more exciting.  Mike Holmes started the Holmes Foundation, a non-profit organization that is promoting the skilled labor jobs in Canada. Realizing that Canada (and the United States) has a serious shortage of skilled workers in things such as carpentry and plumbing, Mike Holmes stepped up to the challenge of making skilled trades a viable option for young people.

If you watch his shows, two things strike you, first, Mike Holmes is a formidable figure. He stature and build reminds one of a linebacker, yet his caring personality screams empathy and love for what he does. The other thing you notice is his crew…young, intelligent, attractive men AND women…articulate, intelligent and highly motivated to work…the perception of skilled labor takes on a new look.

The Opera Singer


Of course, no discussion on the dire need for skilled work force would be complete without Mike Rowe. Believe or not, the king of dirty jobs once sang with the Baltimore Opera. However, his amazing voice aside, Mike took on the challenge of finding the dirties of the dirty when it comes to work.

Again, a highly entertaining show that only shows a part of this conversation. Similar to Mike Holmes, Mike Rowe also started his own foundation, Mike Rowe Works. This site discusses all of the current concerns that exists in these labor shortages. Our country needs to have a serious discussion on what work means any more.

The message of both foundation is simple. We need skilled labor as much as doctors and lawyers, accountants and stock brokers. Canada and the United States are not unique to this situation. Germany, France, Italy,  Mexico, India, China and Brazil are all in serious need of skilled labor. Lets also think about it financially…a plumber can make a nice living per year with minimal training debt to pay off (as opposed to college loans) and often own his or her own business within a few years.

Where does this leave us? If nothing is done soon, we’re going to be left with a lot of leaky pipes and failing structures. Is it time to rethink education? I think it is.



Categories: Uncategorized
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