Uplifting

How Mike Rowe Changed An Inmate's Life

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Over the next 10 years there is going to be a major need for workers in skilled trades jobs. By 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 10% increase in job growth. The problem is making sure that we have people capable of filling those roles ready for the work.

Mike Rowe, the TV personality behind the hit show Dirty Jobs, has been outspoken on the subject; "We're churning out a generation of poorly educated people with no skill, no ambition, no guidance, and no realistic expectations of what it means to go to work."

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As much as I hate to admit it, he isn't wrong. The idea of what a "good job" is has changed significantly over the last 30 years, and we are starting to see the consequences of that.

Rowe decided that he wanted to do something about it and started the mikeroweWorks Foundation, which awards scholarships to men and women going into the skilled trades.

A recent beneficiary of the foundation was 46-year-old John Lanell Fitzpatrick, an inmate in the Cedar Creek Corrections Center in Washington State.

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Both he and the Department of Corrections are pleased at this recent development.

Fitzpatrick was recently granted a $12,000 scholarship in order for him to study at the West Coast Training technical school in Woodland, Washington. He plans to study in the cranes, heavy equipment and trucks program.

“It was like God opening a door for me,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was like, ‘Bam!’ Now I’ve got a plan for after I get out of here. I have something that’s real. It’s not an ‘I hope, I wish, I think.’ It’s something real and tangible. I got a plan.”

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Applying for the scholarship required numerous essay submissions, and a video submission, but because inmates are not allowed access to such equipment, it looked like his dream of winning it was going down the drain. But the Centralia College correctional education staff answered the call.

“He showed incredible tenacity," said Jacqueline Armstrong, director of correctional education for Centralia College. “It’s so satisfying to know that the community college system and my small role in that can give people a second chance to reduce recidivism, make our community safer, and help people and their families make a positive difference and change.”

Another staff member at the prison had an approved camera and used it to shoot and edit his application video, which you can view below.

Share this if you wish Fitzpatrick all the best in his future endeavors.