More Plumbers? Or Reinvented Toilets?

More Plumbers? Or Reinvented Toilets?

“I believe that we need a national PR campaign for skilled labor – like, a big one.” – Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) recently went in front of Congress and told them we need to train a whole new generation of plumbers. I like Mike’s train of thought. However, I think he’s missing a few critical points:

1) Closing the skills gap is doable for anyone, like, right away. It doesn’t take a new college degree – just spend a few weekends a month at your local hackerspace.

2) These are not our grandparents tools and we need to stop preparing people for our grandparents economy. The maker jobs of tomorrow are not the craftsman jobs of yesterday. The tools have changed – rapid prototyping, social media, crowdfunding, etc – and there’s such a grander opportunity. It’s not about re-skilling people to be plumbers, it’s about inspiring them to re-invent the toilet.

3) This is not a solo journey. There are so many makers around the country and world who are happy to teach these new skills and tools, you just have to ask. I’ve never met a more welcoming group of people.


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Co-Founder of OpenROV, a community of DIY ocean explorers and makers of low-cost underwater robots. Author of Zero to Maker. And on Twitter!

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