Mike Rowe wants to restore the luster to Labor Day. As host of the cable TV show "Dirty Jobs," Mr. Rowe has done them all: from steel-mill worker and pig-slop processor to hot-tar roofer and sewer inspector. In the last year, he's teamed up with industrial-supplies giant Grainger to set up a Web site (www.mikeroweWORKS.com) aimed at the millions of Americans who find their calling outside a university's hallways.
In an entry headlined "WORK IS NOT THE ENEMY," Mr. Rowe nails his thesis to his Web page: "We've convinced ourselves that 'good jobs' are the result of a four-year degree. That's bunk. Not all knowledge comes from college. Skill is back in demand. Steel-toed boots are back in fashion."
It's true that, on average, a college grad will make much more money and have significantly greater job security than his high school counterpart. For most Americans, it's also true that the likeliest path to upward mobility runs through the college quad. Averages, however, never tell the whole story.