|Rowe has spent the last eight years traveling the country looking for people who aren’t afraid to get dirty. As a “perpetual apprentice,” he’s completed 300 different jobs, in all 50 states highlighting hundreds of men and women who do the kinds of jobs that make civilized life possible for the rest of us.The notion of depicting hard work as noble and fun is central to Rowe’s personal mission. On Labor Day of 2008, he established mikeroweWORKS.com, an online trade resource center designed to reinvigorate the skilled trades and promote alternative education. Shortly thereafter, Rowe launched the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which has raised over a million dollars for tool stipends and trade school scholarships. For the third year in a row, the mrW Foundation will award travel scholarships to 50 SkillsUSA competitors who could not otherwise attend the National Competition.
“Organizations like SkillsUSA impact the country and our workforce in a huge way,” said Rowe. “These kids are incredible. Their work ethic and their creativity need to be encouraged in every way. It’s an honor to be with them.”
At this year’s conference, Rowe will introduce a new initiative from the mrW Foundation called “Profoundly Disconnected,” a PR campaign specifically designed to address the country’s widening skills gap, while calling attention to career opportunities that don’t require a four-year degree. Caterpillar, a longtime partner of Rowe’s around the skilled trades issue, is helping promote Profoundly Disconnected, and is co-sponsoring the 2013 mikeroweWORKS Foundation Scholarship Recipient’s Luncheon being held during the conference week.