Mike Rowe, the former host of “Dirty Jobs” and a passionate supporter of the skilled trades, has lent his support and talent to support the students of the Ottawa (Ill.) Township High School Industrial Arts program who walked out of class when it was announced that the program and its teacher were being axed. In response to the students’ actions, the school administration–who received a 5-percent pay raise in the same school board session that resulted in the decision to close the program–suspended the students and banned the seniors from attending their Senior Prom.
Those of us on LumberJocks pursue woodworking for a lot of different reasons. I suspect a lot of us are not professional tradesmen. But we love tools, and we love wood, and I think I’m safe in believing we all are saddened to see the loss of programs that teach kids about both. Rowe’s involvement is just the latest development that’s bringing the story of this small-town shop class into the national discussion on the future of the trades in America.