Introducing Scott Braddock, Advocate for Blue Collar Workers

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Scott Braddock is a broadcast journalist whose recent experience with unemployment sparked a very personal interest in the employment outlook in Texas.  This week he posted a blog on his website entitled “The Value of Blue Collar Work in which he writes about many of the issues which have also been discussed on Construction Citizen.  He understands that not all careers begin with a four-year college degree, partly due to his own story.  He writes:

“I don’t have a college education but I am trained as a journalist.  Over the years, companies large and small have prepared me to report and cover stories and trends. My on-the-job training is worth more to me than a college degree might ever have been in my chosen field.”

Braddock includes a link to a 9-minute video of Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune interviewing state Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) earlier this month about changes he believes are needed in the education system, and the need for “blue collar work” to be appreciated and pursued.  Patrick is quoted as saying:

“Everyone should have the option to go to college. But, not everyone should be tracked to go to a four-year university.”

Braddock also mentions that Mike Rowe, executive producer and host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs”, created that show in honor of his grandfather who was a “blue collar worker” whom Rowe admired very much.  Braddock reflects that he, too, admired his own “blue collar” grandfather – an Air Force veteran and self-taught mechanic and repairman.  Braddock writes:

“Unlike Rowe’s granddad, mine would resort to reading the manuals for whatever needed fixing. Because he often worked on complex farm equipment, a good portion of his day could be spent learning exactly how something was put together before he could even start the back-breaking work of repairing it. He essentially trained himself so that he could do the work that needed to be done.  He’d work from the time the sun rose until it set, or longer.

“My grandfather also taught me the art of helping people understand complex ideas. He’d sit and read the encyclopedia for fun. That’s well before almost anyone had the internet.  As an 8 year old boy, I’d ask him what he was reading or thinking about and he could always explain it to me in a way I would understand.  He was brilliant academically and also understood the value of hard work. The kind of work that makes your hands bleed.”

Braddock writes about Mike Rowe’s work (which we have also told you about) to educate legislators and the public on the “skills gap” which America faces and the problem with continuing to accept negative attitudes that label skilled labor jobs as demeaning.  He concludes:

“When I was 8 years old, if someone had told me that what my grandfather did for a living was ‘demeaning’, I’m not sure how I’d process that.  After all, he was my hero.”

Watch for future posts by Scott Braddock, who has agreed to join the list of Construction Citizen bloggers.

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