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EXCLUSIVE: If Mike Rowe were to sit down with Joe Biden today, he would want to know if the president-elect had any questions for him.
“If he did, I’d give him the best answer I could, but I wouldn’t presume to tell Joe Biden or Donald Trump or any elected official anything that they didn’t want to hear,” the former “Dirty Jobs” star told Fox News.
“Now, if he invited me and said, ‘What do you think we can do for our country to make a huge and affirmative difference to a large number of people?’" said the 58-year-old. "I would say, ‘We need to treat vocational skills differently. We need to treat vocational education differently.’”
In September, it was reported that nearly half of the 22 million jobs that were lost to the coronavirus pandemic are still gone. That same month, the number of Americans who considered their job loss permanent rose by 345,000 to 3.8 million – the highest such figure since 2013. And more than 2.4 million people had been unemployed for at least six months, the most since 2015.
Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" fame has been filming "Returning the Favor" since 2017.
Rowe, an advocate for blue-collar workers, believes we should place value on developing vocational skills or picking up a trade as opposed to racking up student debt in a time of an economic crisis.
“[I would tell Joe Biden] we need to treat vocational education differently,” he explained. “I might say, ‘Hey, we have $1.6 trillion in student loans on the books, and we’re still encouraging more people to go get a four-year degree, but require training.’”
“I might say that we should stop lending money,” Rowe continued. “We don’t have to lend money to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that don’t exist anymore. I might have that kind of conversation with him, assuming he wanted to have it.”
“Dirty Jobs,” a reality show that previously aired on the Discovery Channel, highlighted professions that may appear strange, messy and even dangerous but were completed by everyday Americans. Roe would take on a typical workday to demonstrate the challenges the trade offers and why they were necessary.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
In 2016, Rowe took to Facebook where he compared Trump’s election to the now-defunct series.
“But here’s the thing – ‘Dirty Jobs’ didn’t resonate because the host was incredibly charming,” he wrote. “It wasn’t a hit because it was gross, or irreverent, or funny, or silly, or smart, or terribly clever. ‘Dirty Jobs’ succeeded because it was authentic. It spoke directly and candidly to a big chunk of the country that non-fiction networks had been completely ignoring.”
“in a very simple way, ‘Dirty Jobs’ said ‘Hey – we can see you,’ to millions of regular people who had started to feel invisible,” he continued. “Ultimately, that’s why ‘Dirty Jobs’ ran for eight seasons. And today, that’s also why Donald Trump is the President of the United States.”
These days, the Emmy-winning TV host has been keeping busy with his Facebook Watch show “Returning the Favor,” where he travels the country to highlight remarkable people making a difference in their communities.
So far, "Returning the Favor" has recognized and awarded 13 organizations dedicated to improving the lives of veterans.
(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
So far, “Returning the Favor” has recognized and awarded 13 organizations dedicated to improving the lives of veterans alone. Rowe refers to them as “the ultimate first responders.”
“We take so many of our freedoms for granted,” Rowe previously told Fox News. “The Bill of Rights, every freedom in the Constitution, the freedom to move around freely. Every good and decent thing we enjoy was paid in blood by men and women who put on a uniform and then went away.”
“We’ve abandoned them,” Rowe shared. “That might be too strong of a word, but we haven’t stepped up to do what we can to help them reassemble. We haven’t put them at the front of the line to get them the help and opportunities they need once they come home. We have a duty ourselves to return the favor. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years. We take things for granted. It is a very human thing to do. But unfortunately, the men and women who wear the uniform are among the things we take for granted.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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