Before delivering his address at the event, a national competition for high school and college students that puts their vocational skills to the test, Rowe sat down with TV station KMBC to explain why vocational training, a programs like Skills USA that promote it, are so important.
Rowe said the problem is that important “shovel-ready” job skills are largely ignored in the American education system.
“We ignore a whole list of educational opportunities. It’s the fact that there are about 3 million jobs available—right now, as we speak—that big companies are struggling to fill,” Rowe told the station. “So we’ve kind of created a trap for ourselves. A progress trap, really.”
Rowe feels the reason for ignoring these skills is that for a few generations now, the jobs themselves have been devalued in favor of steering the country’s youth toward earning a four-year degree from a college or university.