Mike Rowe, the popular host of the “Dirty Jobs” TV program, has long focused on the importance of hard work and a strong work ethic and emphasized the need for more “blue collar” workers in the various skilled trades.
As such, he has created mikeroweWORKS, an organization that hands out scholarships for young individuals seeking the necessary training to enter the skilled trades work force, provided the applicants agree to sign the “S.W.E.A.T. Pledge,” which stands for “Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.”
According to The Daily Wire, the mother of a young man interested in applying for the scholarship took exception to that pledge and let Rowe know.
But if she was expecting an apology in regard to the requirement, she was disappointed. Instead, she received an incredible lesson instead.
The mother wrote, “Mr. Rowe — I heard about your ‘work ethic scholarship program,’ and suggested my son apply. He wants to be a welder! I was appalled, though, when he showed me your ‘sweat pledge,’ and told me that signing it was required of all applicants!! Where did you come up with this nonsense? There are so many things wrong with this document I don’t even know where to begin!! Suffice it to say, we will not be applying!!!”
Rowe replied in a Facebook post — which he noted in a post script was a repost from last year that simply needed to be shared again — “If it’s any consolation, you’re not the only one to object to my S.W.E.A.T Pledge, or do so with an over-reliance on exclamation points!! Over the years, it’s been my sad duty to inform lots of angry parents that this particular pile of free money might not be for them, or for their children.”
Rowe sincerely wished the woman’s son success in the wide-open field of welding, but added, “I have absolutely no interest in paying for his training if (he) doesn’t share my opinions on the importance of hard work, a positive attitude, delayed gratification, and personal responsibility.”
“Sorry — I made a promise to the people who contribute to this fund, and I can’t bend the rules,” Rowe said. “Fortunately, lots of scholarship funds will hand out money with no strings attached, and if you poke around, I’m sure you’ll find one that’s more in line with your worldview.”
As to the “nonsense” in the pledge that had raised the woman’s ire, Rowe offered up an unapologetic explanation of how the pledge came to be a requirement for earning the scholarships.
“I was looking for a way to encapsulate the qualities I value most in a document that would become part of the application process,” wrote Rowe. “What I settled on was the S.W.E.A.T Pledge. It stands for ‘Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.’ Mostly, it’s a collection of beliefs that I think every worker would benefit from embracing.”
Rowe said the woman hadn’t specified which parts of the pledge she took issue with, but proceeded to address some of the complaints he had received in the past in regard to certain aspects of the pledge, particularly that it was too “patriotic,” “parsimonious,” “paternalistic” or some sort of “conservative manifesto,” though he insisted there was nothing political about the pledge whatsoever.
Admittedly, it’s hard to imagine anyone reading Rowe’s S.W.E.A.T. pledge and finding anything so objectionable they would pull their scholarship application.
— DC Is Bankrupt (@pjamericanpatri) July 16, 2015
Rowe also addressed the complaint that the pledge was weighted in favor of employers against the employees, and though he understood that particular objection, he nevertheless rejected it out of hand, and noted that most of the successful employers he has met over the years had initially started off as hard working employees who embodied the ethos laid out in his pledge.
Hilariously, he also let the woman know that he had “raised tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships by selling S.W.E.A.T Pledges. Thousands now hang in schools, factories, construction sites, and cubicles across the country.” He even offered her a copy for free to show that there were “no hard feelings” in response to her critiques.
He closed by extending the offer of his scholarship fund — which has raised roughly $500,000 in funds for this year — to anyone willing to apply, sign the pledge and work hard to master a skilled trade that is in demand.
Rowe’s attitude toward hard work, dedication to one’s job and a strong work ethic is something that is sorely lacking in far too many people these days, and is highly worthy of encouragement and promotion.
His focus on the type of “blue collar” jobs that are too often overlooked by society is also something that is desperately needed these days, and we will continue to cheer his efforts at training hard workers to serve their communities with vital skills in the various trades necessary to keep our nation running smoothly.
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