Mike Rowe announces public affairs campaign addressing skilled labor expertise

Silver Spring, Md. — Discovery Communications and Mike Rowe, creator, executive producer and host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, recently announced "Discover Your Skills," a new multimedia public affairs campaign designed to address the growing decline in U.S. skilled labor expertise. The goal of "Discover Your Skills" is to provide unemployed and underemployed Americans with access to critical resources for obtaining marketable job skills and expertise, and to raise awareness of career opportunities.

Rowe testified at the invitation of Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, at a hearing titled "Manufacturing Our Way to a Stronger Economy" on Wednesday, May 11. He related his experiences over the past seven years on Dirty Jobs, apprenticing alongside more than 300 skilled labor workers in nearly every industry and every state, and witnessing the critical role these workers and their occupations play in supporting the U.S. economy. "Discover Your Skills" is a partnership with mikeroweWORKS, Rowe's own campaign to help close the skills gap, launched on Labor Day 2008. A full transcript of Rowe's testimony is available on the Discovery Impact website.

Click here to see Rowe testify at the invitation of Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

"I'm honored to have the opportunity to speak in front of the Senate on such an important issue as our country's widening skills gap," said Rowe. "I'm no expert, and the issues are complicated, but DIRTY JOBS has offered me a unique opportunity to reconnect with the kind of people that make civilized life possible for the rest of us. With Discovery firmly behind this issue, we can reach an enormous audience. That's key, because the skills gap in our country impacts every industry, including manufacturing. It's personally important to me and critical to anyone else addicted to paved roads and indoor plumbing."

"No one is more passionate or articulate than Mike on the looming risks associated with our country's growing skills gap and the urgent need to change the misperception that skilled labor jobs are not ‘good jobs,'" said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications. "As the No. 1 non-fiction media company with 14 U.S. networks that reach more than 780 million cumulative subscribers, Discovery is uniquely positioned to deliver this message to a mass audience and provide meaningful support on a national level. Like Mike, the people you see on Discovery's networks are real people, many of whom are not only television personalities, but also successful professionals working in critical areas of the economy, and we look forward to working with them to help develop and empower the next generation of skilled workers and reframe the way skilled trade jobs are perceived."

As part of "Discover Your Skills," Rowe, along with other Discovery networks' personalities, will participate in on- and off-air programs and events to raise awareness of career opportunities and highlight the importance of training workers to fill these critical jobs. Participating on-air talent have distinctive skills that are particularly valuable and needed in today's marketplace, and are credible to viewers interested in similar professions.

The initiative also leverages Discovery Education's position as the leading provider of broadband education content and services to U.S. schools to spotlight information on career opportunities in skilled trades and how to obtain the training and experience necessary to pursue them. This includes tools that support the development of digital literacy, math and critical thinking skills required for individuals to obtain gainful employment.

"Discover Your Skills" is part of Discovery's Impact programs, which leverage the power of Discovery's brands, businesses and employees to give back and make a direct impact on the communities in which we live and work.

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