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Mike Rowe to Deliver
Keynote at Opening Ceremony

The 2013 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference officially begins on Wednesday, June 26. Mike Rowe, creator and executive producer of Discovery Channel's Emmy-nominated series "Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe" has been slated to provide the keynote speech at the event.  The Opening Ceremony is being sponsored by Caterpillar. 


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Rowe has spent the last eight years traveling the country looking for people who aren't afraid to get dirty.  As a "perpetual apprentice," he's completed 300 different jobs, in all 50 states highlighting hundreds of men and women who do the kinds of jobs that make civilized life possible for the rest of us.

The notion of depicting hard work as noble and fun is central to Rowe's personal mission. On Labor Day of 2008, he established mikeroweWORKS.com, an online trade resource center designed to reinvigorate the skilled trades and promote alternative education. Shortly thereafter, Rowe launched the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which has raised over a million dollars for tool stipends and trade school scholarships. For the third year in a row, the mrW Foundation will award travel scholarships to 50 SkillsUSA competitors who could not otherwise attend the National Competition.
 
"Organizations like SkillsUSA impact the country and our workforce in a huge way," said Rowe. "These kids are incredible. Their work ethic and their creativity need to be encouraged in every way. It's an honor to be with them."

At this year's conference, Rowe will introduce a new initiative from the mrW Foundation called "Profoundly Disconnected," a PR campaign specifically designed to address the country's widening skills gap, while calling attention to career opportunities that don't require a four-year degree.  Caterpillar, a longtime partner of Rowe's around the skilled trades issue, is helping promote Profoundly Disconnected, and is co-sponsoring the 2013 mikeroweWORKS Foundation Scholarship Recipient's Luncheon being held during the conference week.

In addition to "Dirty Jobs" and mikeroweWORKS, Rowe has helped support or launch a number of other work-related initiatives, including "I Make America," "Don't Fail Idaho," "Go Build Alabama," and "Go Build Georgia."  In 2009, Rowe delivered the Keynote to more than 55,000 Future Farmers of America, and the following year, he addressed 100,000 Boy Scouts on the organization's 100th anniversary.

Mike Rowe is a Distinguished Eagle Scout, and has testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee in support of manufacturing. He is widely recognized as a leading advocate for skilled labor. He is also the voice of "Deadliest Catch" and many other non-fiction programs.

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