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Mike Rowe details ‘shift’ in the path to prosperity: ‘Entering a whole new time’ of smart money

MikeRoweWorks Foundation CEO Mike Rowe discusses Gern Z's shift toward pursuing a trade and away from college education.

The cost of college is leading to a "shift" in the path to prosperity, according to Mike Rowe.

"I think we're going to be entering a whole new time, where the smart money is going to be,"  Mike Rowe told FOX Business' Stuart Varney.

"Go to a trade school and then learn a trade," the "Dirty Jobs" host continued, advocating for the growing shift in younger generations away from a college degree towards a career. 


Enrollment in vocational community colleges are up 16% since 2018, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, as younger generations are turning towards trades and careers instead of paying for college tuition. 

"People are starting to pay attention," Rowe pointed out. 

"It's a bit like turning a tanker around," he continued. "You're talking about perceptions and attitudes, stigmas, stereotypes, all sorts of things. People in a lot of ways need to be deprogrammed about this idea that the best path for most people is a four-year degree, coincidentally, the most expensive path."

The MikeRoweWorks Foundation CEO went on to say that at "a fraction of the debt" parents and children are getting the message of the opportunities gained from trade schools. 

It's a "clear path to something that looks a lot like prosperity," he said. 

Rowe also commented on the perception of investing in education. 

"It's so expensive that, for as long as I can remember, we really haven't talked about it in terms of a purchase. We talk about it in terms of an investment, but people are starting to smell a rat there, too."

"I think more and more people are starting to look at that diploma on the wall and seeing it for what it actually is, which is a receipt," he added.

Rowe predicted that "we're going to be entering a whole new time" where the "smart money" will be through attending a trade school and pursuing a trade. 

The "Dirty Jobs" host also acknowledged how important a university experience is, but questioned how much would be spent on attaining it. 


"50% of people who start a college pursuit don't finish." He continued, "those people, their debts aren't forgiven, you still owe a bunch of money, you don't have the degree, you don't have any training." 

However, there is a vast number of jobs open which require training without a degree, he added. 

"I think Gen Z is just starting to realize they've been pushed in a direction that, frankly, doesn't lead to a place they want to go."

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