All new for this year, the show is focusing on skilled trades - including the Skilled Trades Resource Center with everything about the latest apprenticeship program offerings, as well as information from show exhibitors that are hiring. In addition, the show is celebrating Trade Day on Thursday, September 26 with complimentary admission on to those in a skilled trade or students enrolled in a vocational school, with ID.
It’s all part of the show’s recently launched partnership with skilled-trade advocate Mike Rowe, best known as the creator and host of Dirty Jobs.
Rowe has partnered with Mike and his foundation, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation to help bring attention to a challenge facing the home improvement industry: the widening skills gap and need for more students to pursue a career in skilled trades.
According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 75% of construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding qualified workers. “It was Mike Rowe’s work with his foundation and the fact that he has become an important voice in sounding the alarm around the skilled trade gap, that drew us to this partnership,” explained Tom Baugh, CEO of Marketplace Events.
“Through the Foundation we are committed to supporting the local builders, remodelers, installers, repairmen, and all skilled tradespeople who do the jobs that most people are unable or untrained to do,” said Rowe. “There’s really not many places left like these local home shows where homeowners can meet with their local experts, get trusted advice, talk price, look them in the eye, shake their hand and decide for themselves, yes, I’m good with letting this company in my home.”
As part of the show’s commitment to support local builders and skilled tradespeople, Trade Day is on Thursday, September 26 with complimentary admission on to those in a skilled trade or students enrolled in a vocational school, with ID.
Mike Rowe won’t be at the Jacksonville show, but we wanted to get to know our new partner a little better:
Marketplace Events: What does “home” mean to you?
Mike Rowe: Home is the place we start from. Every other place, no matter how homey, is just an address.
Marketplace Events: What project have you been most proud to work on?
Mike Rowe: Tough to beat Dirty Jobs. It was not only a hit, it transformed cable television, reinvigorated my career, and began as a tribute to my grandfather. That show checked a lot of boxes. Lately, I’m proud of Returning the Favor on Facebook, and a new book based on my podcast, called The Way I Heard It. I’d be a fool if I didn’t direct you to www.mikerowe.com/book. According to my mother, it’s a “must read.”
Marketplace Events: What’s one thing you wish every homeowner knew?
Mike Rowe: I wish people understood how much they could save by making bi-weekly payments instead of monthly. It’s simple, and for most people doable. An easy way to save a small fortune.
Marketplace Events: What three items do you always keep in your pockets?
Mike Rowe: If you don’t count both hands, I’d go with keys, lifesavers, and poo-bags. (For the dog, not me.)
Marketplace Events: Most memorable career moment to date?
Mike Rowe: If by “memorable,” you mean, “impossible to forget,” I’m pleased to say the list is long, and tough to choose from. But I suppose I could tell you about the time I agreed to “field test” a chain mail “shark suit” for an episode of Shark Week. It didn’t occur to me that doing so would require me to wear the aforementioned steel suit, while a dozen reef sharks took turns biting me, shaking me, and dragging me to the bottom of the ocean in the midst of a blood-soaked feeding frenzy. But that’s precisely what happened, moments before I ran out of air, sixty feet below the surface. This was by no means my “favorite” moment, but, as the images online illustrate, a memorable one.
Marketplace Events: How were you discovered?
Mike Rowe: Well, my parents discovered me in a fairly traditional way, back in 1962, when I first entered the world on the 18th of March. After that, a lot of people encouraged me and ultimately convinced me that I could make a living in front of the camera and on stage. I guess the first break I got in the business, was an offer to sing in the Baltimore Opera. This opened a series of doors I didn’t know existed, and before long, I was auditioning for hundreds of different jobs, which eventually got me a steady gig on the QVC Cable Shopping Channel, selling God-knows what in the middle of the night on live television. If you’re really interested, I made an animated video that answers this question in detail, which you’re welcome to watch over here. https://www.mikeroweworks.org/sweat/
(See Pledge #2. Heads up. It involves animated nudity.)
Marketplace Events: What’s mikeroweWORKS Foundation all about?
Mike Rowe: mikeroweWORKS began as PR initiative to help close America’s skills gap. I launched it ten years ago on Labor Day. Fans of Dirty Jobs helped me build an online Trade Resource Center, which generated a ton of great press, and got me in front of Congress on multiple occasions. Today, we’ve morphed into a scholarship fund that assists people looking to learn a skill or master a trade. Every year, we award a few hundred “Work Ethic Scholarships.” So far, about $5 million dollars worth. Additionally, I’ve become an annoyance to universities that charge obscene amounts for degrees that have left a generation with over $1.5 trillion of student debt, which I personally feel to be a scandal of monumental proportions. If you’re really interested, I made an animated video that answers this question in detail, which you’re welcome to watch over here. https://www.mikeroweworks.org/sweat/
(See Pledge #5. Heads up. It involves animated outrage.)
Marketplace Events: Describe our Home Show(s) in one word.
Mike Rowe: I can’t find a word that combines elements of “pandemonium” as well as “delightful.” So let’s go with “pandelightful.”
Marketplace Events: You’ve been interviewed many times. What is the one question you always wish someone would ask?
Mike Rowe: Honestly, I don’t think I have one. If there’s something I really want to say, I’ll find a way to jam it into another answer. I can tell you however, that I’m awash in gratitude whenever an interview concludes, without being asked to describe my dirtiest job. Which is why this exchange has been much better than average.